Food processing with ionizing technologies must comply with validation requirements laid out by national regulatory bodies and international standards. This paper describes a new proposed method to meet the requirements for microbial decontamination treatment of spices and herbs with low-energy electron beam (LEEB) processing. The demonstration of robust process and product qualification protocols is necessary for regulatory approval and adoption of LEEB process in the food industry. The bulk flow of loose seeds was measured and optimized for treatment, a dosimetry system implemented, and methods for assessing Salmonella spp. reduction were developed combining high- and low-energy electron beam microbial inactivation data. Data is presented indicating 5-log reduction of Salmonella enterica serovar Rissen on black peppercorns, demonstrating the effectiveness of the LEEB treatment. The validation method described in this paper is applicable to most loose, dry, whole spices and herbs. All rights reserved, Elsevier.

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