Cleaning and washing with emerging technologies process intensification

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General information

This section applies to washing the product only, not washing the process plant. The objective of washing is to remove and separate unwanted components (dirt or residual peel, brine used for preservation) from the food in order to ensure that the surface of the food is in a suitable condition for further processing. Unwanted components can include soil, micro-organisms, pesticide residues, salts, etc. Washing is widely applied as a first processing step for root crops, potatoes, cereals, fruits and vegetables

(European Commission, 2006)

Further Information: Washing products in food industry

Description of technology, techniques and methods

Radio Frequency

The technology can be used for product disinfestation to control product pests in various agri-food items such as cherries, walnuts, almonds, stored grains and fresh fruits. RF heating uniformity can be improved by forced hot air, movement, and mixing. Quality of products not affected by the RF treatments. RF heating provides effective and physical methods for disinfesting agri-food items.

(Hou & Wang, 2014)

Further Information: radio frequency


The ultrasound technology enables an enhancement in microbial count reduction over sanitizer alone wash.

“Continuous-flow ultrasonic washing of fresh produce has the potential to provide the produce industry with a means to significantly enhance microbial safety. However, care must be taken to minimize the screening/blockage of ultrasound by produce leaves, minimize the variance in the residence-time distribution, and assure a near-uniform acoustic field distribution in the washing facility.”

(Zhou & Pearlstein, 2012)

Further Information ultrasound


Nanotechnology can enables a minimal processing for fresh fruits and other products from the post-harvest industry. The technology can enable a system that combine functionally and edibility.

(Pinheiro et al. 2012)

Further Information: nanotechnology

Changes in the process

Energy saving potentials

The energy saving potential lies on the substitution of conventional operation with effective methods using less cleaning material or with a low energy processing.

Changes in the energy distribution system

Electricity use preference over thermal energy.


  • Hou, L., Ling, B., Wang, S. (2014) 'Development of thermal treatment protocol for disinfesting chestnuts using radio frequency energy', Postharvest Biology and Technology, 98(December), pp. 65-71.
  • Zhou, B., Feng, H., Pearlstein A. (2012) 'Continuous-flow ultrasonic washing system for fresh produce surface decontamination', Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 16 (October), pp. 427-435.