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Middle East: RF Biocidics, Al Foah offer radio frequency process to disinfest dates

Food safety company RF Biocidics and producer of dates Al Foah have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) where the latter will introduce, promote and market RF Biocidics’ radio frequency (RF) technology in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman.

Both companies signed the MOU at Gulfood, which took place in Dubai from February 23 to 27, 2014.

RF Biocidics designed, built and installed the RF processing line for the disinfestation of dates based on research conducted by Dr. Manuel Lagunas-Solar, chief scientific officer at RF Biocidics, and Dr. Alaa Y. Al Bakir, research and development manager at Al Foah Company.

The RF process reportedly provides an energy-efficient and chemical- and residue-free alternative to the current, common practice of using methyl bromide, a pesticide that is increasingly being restricted for use because of its toxicity.

In addition, date producers have been seeking chemical free options for the disinfestation of dates, which are prone to field infestation by saw-tooth and dried fruit beetles, restricting exports.

The validation of the RF disinfestation process was conducted at RF Biocidics’ headquarters in California, US, using a Sentinel 100 TO system.

The University of California, Riverside supervised the validation procedure, analyzed the results, and provided a final assessment of efficacy.

According to its report, results on these validation tests were conclusive and indicated that “the RF procedure resulted in 100% mortality in all treatments (temperatures) and stages of insects.”

As RF processing is applicable to a variety of similar dried fruit commodities, these results can be extrapolated to all food products of similar composition.

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