An ozone sanitation technology is receiving a boost in the US market, following an agreement signed between manufacturer Aquentium and Advanced Purification Systems International to market the equipment.
Aquentium’s technology uses ozone as a disinfectant for food manufacturing equipment, and can also be used for direct application to food products to help destroy bacteria and viruses.
Ozone has been used in the United States for preventing food contamination since 2001, when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ozone as an antimicrobial agent for use in food-contact applications. With concerns over the use of chemicals such as chlorine, ozone is seen among manufacturers as a safer cleaning chemical.
“Ozone is an excellent intervention regarding e-coli, listeria, salmonella and other bacteria or viruses. We are very optimistic that our relationship with Advanced Purification Systems International will help increase shareholder value for Aquentium,” said Aquentium President & CEO Mark Taggatz.
Ozone in food
Because ozone is an unstable, highly reactive form of oxygen, it is 51 times as powerful as chlorine, the oxidiser most commonly used by most food processors, and 3,000 times as fast at killing bacteria and other microbes.
Ozone use, which is accepted by the National Organic Program (NOP), could also result in reduced energy costs for surface cleaning by eliminating the need for hot water during the process.
According to Taggatz, treating food processing equipment with Aquentium’s ozone technology can reduce the amount of bacteria that could potentially contaminate food. The firm also highlighted that ozone can help enhance the freshness of food products, including fruits, vegetables and seafood.
Ozone gas (O3) is a naturally occurring tri-atomic form of oxygen (O2) that is formed as sunlight passes through the atmosphere, explained the company. It can be generated artificially by passing high voltage electricity through oxygenated air, causing oxygen to break apart and recombine in the tri-atomic form.
Aquentium said its equipment allows for food products, machinery, and even floors and walls to be washed with ozone water. Through an oxidation process, this acts as a disinfectant.
Ozone is also increasing in popularity across Europe as a sanitation method in food plants.
In June this year, UK firm Radical introduced a new ozone sanitation technology designed to eradicate contaminants such as Listeria, Pseudomonas and E.coli in hygiene critical areas.
The company said its Steritroxing process is based on the production of free radicals through the generation of aqueous ozone and it includes four product categories: room sanitizing, surface sanitizing, produce decontamination and odour control.
The system, which uses ozonated water to wash down surfaces and remove unpleasant smells from the environment, allows the factory to return to full production within an hour, according to Radical.