Shelf-stable versions of perishable foods — think powdered eggs and instant noodles — are often less than palatable and nourishing than their fresh counterparts. Modern preservation is based largely on refrigeration, but perhaps not for much longer. To elongate the shelf lives of produce, dairy and prepared foods, scientists are looking outside of the refrigerator.
According to Wired, research is being conducted on non-traditional methods of food preservation, including plasma blasts that fight bacteria, probiotics for optimal plant health, salmonella-eliminating radio waves and even a variety of oxygen designed to kill pathogens. This oxygen treatment, pioneered by scientists at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, treats items like berries and nuts with a high-intensity blue light.
Some of these methods have even piqued the interest of AmazonFresh, General Mills and Pillsbury. Meanwhile, the USDA is already working with technology like the salmonella-killing radio waves. While the present is introducing smart refrigerators with touch screen controls, perhaps it’s more imperative to look at keeping food safer and fresher for longer.