The recipes for barbecue sauces or ketchup usually include sugar, tomato paste, vinegar and salt, as well as condiments. This makes the product tasty. However, not only humans but also moulds, yeasts and viruses find that mixture lovely. They present a problem in the production process as they are naturally present in the air, settle down on the intermediate product before it is packaged and make it perish.
In cooperation with experts, Wiso Feinkost GmbH, a producer of more than 350 tons a month of condiment sauces for 38 well-known labels, has found a fast and cost-efficient solution to this problem. The room air is filtered and disinfected with UV light, so that the product will be non-perishable even without adding preservatives.
"In the end, you want a solution that reliably and lastingly disinfects the air", says managing director Lars Wiegand. A cost-efficient and pragmatic solution was found in an advisory meeting with the UV experts. The precisely calculated number of ozone-free UV lamps was installed in a commercially available, washable HEPA filter. The efficient method is quite simple: The viruses and mould spores have different sizes and properties. While mould spores are relatively large and can be caught by the filter, viruses are too small to be retained. Therefore, they get inside the filter where they are inactivated by the UV light. The mould spores already caught can be exposed to the radiation for a longer time. That way, they are inactivated with little expenditure of energy.