Ultraviolet radiation is one of the major physical processes used to sterilize or to clean surfaces that will be in contact of foods. This research evaluated the efficiency of ultraviolet (UV) radiation to sterilize surfaces of plastic packaging materials based on the reduction of microbial counts. Plastic closures and films were irradiated by exposing them to lamps emitting UV radiation at 254 nm in an apparatus specially constructed for this study. Using an experimental design in order to investigate the effect of exposure time and distance from the source, the reduction number of Bacillus subtilis spores inoculated to the package surfaces were evaluated. The UV radiation efficiency was not high for short exposition time, presenting reduction number ranged from 0.21 to 2.47, but it was very efficient when exposed to more than 30 s at a distance of 20 cm.
UV radiation; sterilization; plastic packaging