Is this the future of food? Japanese ‘plant factory’ churn out immaculate vegetables

By David Derbyshire

Via dailymail

They look more like the brightly lit shelves of a chemists shop than the rows of a vegetable garden.

But according to their creators, these perfect looking vegetables could be the future of food.

In a perfectly controlled and totally sterile environment – uncontaminated by dirt, insects or fresh air – Japanese scientists are developing a new way of growing vegetables.

Enlarge   ozu

Food of the future? Lettuces are grown in a sterile environment at Ozu Corporation’s plant factory in Japan – without being exposed to the air outside

 

Called plant factories, these anonymous looking warehouses have sprung up across the country and can churn out immaculate looking lettuces and green leaves 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Every part of the plant’s environment is controlled – from the lighting and temperature, to the humidity and water. Even the levels of carbon dioxide can be minutely altered.

Rather than the conventional scruffy clothes and dirty fingernails of vegetable growers, the producers wear gloves, surgical masks and sort of dust proof protective suits normally seen in chemical plants.

A worker - dressed in sterile clothing - tends to the lettuce at the 'plant factory'

Those growing the vegetables wear gloves, surgical masks and the sort of dust proof protective suits normally seen in chemical plants

The vegetables from plant factories – which include green leaf, romaine lettuce and garland chrysanthemum – are sold at a premium to Japanese shoppers. No pesticides are used – and there is no risk of contamination with food poisoning bugs.

 

Because the plants are grown in a clean room, they can be eaten safely without washing. Lettuce grown in the factories can be cropped up to 20 times a year.

Some factories are vast – and can produce three million vegetables a year.

The results are hygienic, but it’s about as far from real food as you can possibly get.

Enlarge   Every element of the plant's environment is being controlled

From the lighting to temperature and humidity, every element of the plant’s environment is carefully controlled

The spread of plant factories has been encouraged by the Japanese government amid concerns about the use of chemicals in vegetables.

A spokesman for the Ozu Corporation factory in Tokyo said: ‘Vegetables are produced in the factory without being exposed to the air outside.

‘Stable production is guaranteed throughout the year by controlling lighting, temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide and water. They can also meet the demands of consumers who want safe foods.’

Plant factories have yet to arrive in the UK. The closest Britain has are the vast greenhouses in the south of England where millions of tomatoes are grown hydroponically – without soil.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1190392/Is-future-food-Japanese-plant-factories-churn-immaculate-vegetables-24-hours-day.html#ixzz1FGuJwaPC

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in FOOD SAFETY, FOOD SUSTAINABILITY, TECNOLOGY e contrassegnato come , , , , , , , da FOODA . Aggiungi il permalink ai segnalibri.

Informazioni su FOODA

FOODA – Associazione per il Food Design – è un’organizzazione di progettisti, studiosi, comunicatori, aziende e istituzioni con fuoco sullo studio, la progettazione e l’innovazione degli Atti Alimentari. FOODA promuove la cultura progettuale degli Atti Alimentari assolvendola a elemento culturale, economico e ambientale di fondamentale importanza per la società contemporanea e futura, dando impulso all’innovazione di processo e di prodotto e potenziando le competenze degli operatori del settore. Obiettivo di FOODA è definire la disciplina del Food Design, il ruolo e le competenze del Food Designer; incrementare la consapevolezza, lo studio, la ricerca e l’interdisciplinarietà all’interno del paradigma degli Atti Alimentari promuovendo una corretta gestione e una progettazione sostenibile dei processi, dei prodotti e degli immaginari legati al cibo. FOODA intende perseguire i suoi obiettivi per mezzo di iniziative culturali, progetti di studio e ricerca autonomi e in cooperazione con enti e aziende, fornendo formazione e informazione professionale ai suoi soci, consulenza specializzata agli operatori del settore.

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