TEWKSBURY, MAA pasteurization technology developed by Raytheon Co. can be integrated into the food supply chain, resulting in energy reduction for the food production market and healthier and safer products for consumers. Essentially, this technology delivers concentrated energy to the surface of the food, which significantly reduces the amount of energy that is wasted in current pasteurization methods. Unlike current solutions, this technology does not rely on chemicals or ionizing radiation to destroy harmful bacteria. Instead, it uses the heat produced by millimeter waves to kill the bacteria. With this solution, 95 percent of the energy produced is directed to the food surface. This is particularly useful for ground meats and citrus, which commonly have higher risks of bacterial contamination.

"Since we patented the first microwave oven nearly 65 years ago, Raytheon has had a rich history of developing innovative solutions for our customers," says Lee Silvestre, Vice President of Mission Innovation for Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems. "As our world food supply is becoming increasingly susceptible to contamination, it is important that we continue to develop healthier, more efficient methods to keep our food supply safe."

Recent tests used multiple samples of meat that were pre-contaminated with three harmful bacteria. The system killed all three types of bacteria in less than 16 seconds. Aside from being healthier than a chemical wash, this solution is more energy efficient than direct heat methods. Additionally, the technology can be incorporated into existing food-processing lines. Pasteurization results are therefore achieved more quickly than bulk pasteurization using ionizing radiation.