New kitchen coating prevents food poisoning

Cross-contamination from kitchen equipment like cutting boards and knives is a big hot spot for the spread of foodborne illnesses. Now, a team from the University of Missouri has created a coating that could prevent germs like Salmonella and E. coli from occupying kitchen surfaces. 

The coating is made of titanium dioxide and, in the presence of ultraviolet light, oxygen, and water, it kills bacteria on the food contact surfaces on which it is applied. The coating is applied as a liquid, but when it dries, it becomes a hard layer of material similar to ceramic. 

The material was chosen for its antimicrobial properties, but it can also withstand the normal wear and tear on kitchen materials and is food safe. In a lab, the coating was effective at killing E. coli strains, but the technology has yet to be tested in a real-world environment. A big question for the team is whether or not the material could be used to prevent the spread of coronavirus. 

The coating has wide-ranging applications in all different types of food settings. It could be used in foodborne illness prone areas like food processing plants, but also your local deli counter or restaurant prep station. 

Although the coating needs further testing before it comes to a restaurant near you, this new titanium dioxide shield could be a solution to preventing the estimated 48 million cases of foodborne illness each year.

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