A high pressure system using ozone gas would eliminate the use hot water and chemicals when cleaning equipment at food processing plants, according to the product's inventor, US-based eFoodSafety.com.
The hosing equipment, called the Pulsator, can be used in plants processing pork, beef, poultry, seafood and fruits and vegetables and would eliminate the need for chlorine, eFoodSafety.com said ina press release yesterday.
"Chlorine has traditionally been the sanitizer of choice in the food processing industry, but experts share a growing concern about the dangerous byproducts such as trihalomethanes or dioxins produced when chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water," eFoodSafety stated. "These substances are known carcinogens and are regulated in drinking water by the US Environmental Protection Agency."
The Pulsator combines high pressure with ozone. The ozone is compressed into microscopic bubbles in a water solution.
Ozone gas is a naturally occurring tri-atomic form of oxygen that is formed as sunlight passes through the atmosphere. It can be generated artificially by passing high voltage electricity throughoxygenated air.
Because ozone is an unstable, highly reactive form of oxygen, it is 51 times as powerful as chlorine, the oxidizer most commonly used by most food processors, and 3,000 times as fast at killingbacteria and other microbes, eFoodSafety stated. Ozone is effective as a disinfectant at relatively low concentrations and does not leave toxic by-products similar to those related to chlorination,the company claims.
Because it decomposes quickly, ozone does not build up on surfaces the way detergents can if not removed by proper rinsing, eFoodSefety says. Ozone can also be injected or dissolved in water to chill, rinse or wash food. On 23 June 2001, the US Food and Drug Administration officially granted GRAS (Generally Recognized As Safe) status to ozone for use in food contact applications.
Ozone has been used in Europe for purifying drinking water and is currently used in the US for purifying bottled water and decontaminating cooling
towers. Los Angeles currently uses ozone to purify its water supply.
Ozone Safe Food , an eFoodSafety.com subsidiary, developed the Pulsator equipment. The subsidiary's ozone technology can also be used for direct application on pork, beef, poultry, seafood, fruits and vegetables. The company says ozone can also help reduce pathogens and increase the shelf life of produce and meats.