The temperature of the greens increases by less than 1 degree Celsius, thus maintaining the cold chain.
Other kinds of irradiation take longer, he said.
“Our quick turnaround time is our big advantage,” he said. “We can unload, treat and reload a semi trailer and get the product back on its way in two to three hours.”
That delay, even when extra transportation time to the facility is factored in, is negated by the fact that the treatment increases shelf life, Pereira and others said.
Bruhn Christine Bruhn, director of the Center for Consumer Research at the University of California-Davis, has been studying irradiation for years.
She said decades of research have shown it kills 99.999% of pathogens and 90% to 99% of decay bacteria on leafy greens.
Brendan Niemira, lead scientist of food safety and intervention technologies at the Eastern Regional Research Center operated by the U.S, Department of Agriculture, reported similar kill rates.
Niemira added that the nutritional value and sensory quality of leafy greens are not significantly affected at the low doses used for fresh produce.