December 2, 2021

New washing process for fresh-cut lettuce being studied

Since 2019, Gartenfrisch Jung GmbH, Kronen and the Leibniz Institute have been working on a new process to wash fresh-cut lettuce.

During a project meeting at Kronen’s head office, a washing machine specially adapted for this decontamination process was tested. The next step is an extensive testing phase actually in a Gartenfrisch Jung production line.

The initial point of the research project is to prevent the risk of microorganisms from contaminating packed cut lettuce. Commonly, cell sap released from fresh-cut lettuce combined with humidity — unavoidable in plastic packaging — provides a breeding ground for microorganisms.  

An innovative washing process for more safety 

The specially adapted washing machine using the sanitizing washing process was tested with cut iceberg lettuce live on-site by project participants.

The main aim of the project is to create a resource-saving washing process for fresh-cut lettuce using a non-thermal plasma procedure. Hygienic treatment of the lettuce prevents premature spoilage therefore increasing consumer safety, and it is especially gentle on the product.

Tests carried out during the Project Meeting in Kehl were very successful. The washing machine specially adapted using the decontamination washing process was tested with cut iceberg lettuce (and put into operation live onsite) by the project members. During the one-day workshop the project partners from both institutes and the manufacturer of fresh-convenience exchanged ideas with the Kronen team regarding further results and next steps in the project. 

Further research into the process and test phase 

Following the successful workshop, the washing machine will now undergo a test phase installed in the production at Gartenfrisch Jung and further data will be collected on the washing procedure. Here the focus is on the study of the disinfection efficiency in the wash water, the conservation of resources and the optimization of transport and shelf life of the products. 

The project sponsor is the German Federal Agency for Food and Agriculture. Funding is provided as part of the program to promote innovation of the Federal Ministry for Food and Agriculture.

Kronen and its partners’ products cover fruit, vegetable and salad processing solutions for preparing, cutting, washing, de-watering, peeling, disinfecting and packaging.  

For more information, visit Kronen’s website.

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