When Covid hit and we learned more about how the virus was transmitted, more operators began to experiment with the use of UV-C lights used to kill the airborne virus and make indoor dining feel like a safer option during outbreaks. The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) recently began using a system of UV-C germicidal bulbs at its four locations in response to Covid. In a recent FastCasual webinar, "Emerging Trends in Restaurant Health,” David Behnke from the CIA discussed the safety benefits he has seen from the technology. The use of these lights could have the side benefit of reducing food waste as well. A decade ago, Middleby Bluezone, the supplier of the UV-C model used by the CIA, used this technology to address the challenge of getting fresh produce to U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. It placed one of its UV-C light models in shipping containers to the Middle East to destroy mold and bacteria en route, enabling the technology to extend the shelf life of produce.
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