Bacteria-Killing Plasma Torches Could Make Raw Food Safer Without Cooking It

By Andrew Tarantola on at

When it comes to kitchen safety, raw chicken can be even more dangerous than a sharp knife because of bacteria like salmonella. But a new study reveals that cold plasma torches could eliminate those harmful pathogens, without cooking the food.

The study, conducted by food researchers at Drexel University, found that normal levels of harmful bacteria like salmonella and campylobacter could be almost completely eliminated from raw foods, including chicken and vegetables, using the high-energy gas known as plasma.

But since the plasma is cool to the touch, it doesn't cook what it comes into contact with. So bacteria could be eliminated before raw foods are frozen and packaged in a processing plant. Or, in a kitchen setting before a chef starts to prepare a dish. The only issue is that plasma torch technology is still very expensive, making them cost-prohibitive to use both on a large-scale in factories, and on a smaller scale in private kitchens. So in the meantime, you'll still want to keep washing your hands when handling raw food, and making sure everything is cooked to a safe temperature. [Drexel via Popular Science]