University of Guelph food scientists have found a more effective way of cleaning vegetables that can dramatically reduce the risk of contamination, according to The Fountain Pen.

Scientists have studied the effects of cleaning produce using UV light. Produce is sprayed with hydrogen peroxide at the same time as they are being illuminated with UV light. The process inactivates bacterial cells.

The process is already used to decontaminate milk, juice, and soup cartons. The hydrogen peroxide turns into nontoxic water during the treatment.

To test this method on produce, Prof. Keith Warriner of the Department of Food Science artificially contaminated tomatoes, cauliflower, iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, Spanish onions and broccoli with Salmonella. After "cleaning" the vegetables using the hydrogen peroxide/UV method, "we managed to achieve 99.999-per-cent inactivation of the Salmonella," he said.

This new way of cleaning produce will not only make food safer to consume, but it should also extend the shelf life of products because vegetables are often spoiled by microbial action, said Warriner.