Idaho State University’s (ISU) Research and Innovation in Science and Engineering (RISE) facility has teamed up with Atlanta-based ScanTech Inc. to develop a new, chemical-free treatment process for produce and meat.

The process--known as electronic cold pasteurization--is not a new technology. However, its use in food production is mostly unprecedented. Now, the process will be used to sanitize and extend the shelf life of food. According to ScanTech CEO Dolan Falconer, plans include doubling, tripling and even quadrupling shelf life, along with putting an end to using harsh chemicals in food. He also says that while ScanTech has not invented this technology, they have invented the device that does it best.

The electronic cold pasteurization process involves showering produce with electrons that have been accelerated using a linear reactor, as opposed to treating produce with chemicals. This serves many functions--pest control, pathogen control and extending the shelf life of produce by removing bacteria, fungus and mold that makes it expire so quickly.

While this partnership between ISU and ScanTech is mutually beneficial for both entities, it is also expected to revolutionize the food industry, says Falconer. In the future, there may be new opportunities for Idaho potatoes to be shipped further distances without rotting or sprouting before reaching their destination.

This electronic cold pasteurization process has already earned support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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