The triatomic form of oxygen, known as ozone, has been used in municipal water treatment and bottled water treatment for years. Sodium hypochlorite has been used as a disinfectant in drinking water since 1893, a food preservative for cold storage of meat since 1909, and a food preservative for preventing the growth of yeasts and molds in fruit storage since 1939.
Historically, ozone has been used as both a disinfectant and as a biocide against viruses, bacteria, biofilms, fungi and protozoa – none of which have been able to develop resistance to it because it is an oxidizer. Microorganisms are not poisoned by ozone, instead they are destroyed by oxidation. Hence, oxidation becomes impossible for microorganisms to resist. The food and beverage industry is also using the ozone technology because of its amazing benefits in this field.
Applications of Ozone for Food Products
There are a number of applications for ozone in food processing, including:
• Beverage Production
• Potato Storage Facilities
• Meat Storage
• Preservation of Fish and Seafood
• General Cold Storage Facilities
• Onion Storage Facilities
• Citrus Fruit Storage
• Vegetable Storage
• Washing fruits and vegetables
• Meat and Poultry Production and Processing
• Seafood Processing and Aquaculture
• Food Storage
• Pest Management
• Air Quality Control
• Aged Ham Storage
It is essential that food is continuously checked at every step of the production process to prevent food contamination. The food industry places equal importance on the quality of its products and their safety. Both can be achieved through ozone technology. By reviewing the role, contributions, importance, and impact of ozone as a decontaminating agent, we examine its role in controlling and eliminating microorganisms from food products and extending their shelf life, as well as removing unwanted odors.
Ozone treatment technology can be used to treat all types of foods, such as fruits, vegetables, spices, meat, and seafood products, as well as beverages. Various researchers have been studying ozone’s properties and applications. The compilation of those works, discussed in this review, can be helpful in determining appropriate ozone treatment conditions, and factors that could affect food safety and quality.
The food industry has to be treated as a highly hygienic industry because of its crucial role in human health. As a result, the food being processed is free from bacteria and other dangerous communicable diseases. Several of these diseases are highly lethal, causing an outbreak of community diseases. It is a necessity that any process of preparing food, no matter the reason, will be thoroughly hygienic and disinfected. This has resulted in ozone being used more and more in the food industry in the past decade.
The use of the ozone technology is adapted for a wide range of applications so that the disinfection standard and level of hygiene can be achieved at a high level. When food is being processed, ozone is applied in the air in order to control atmospheric bacteria and contamination. The ozone treatment of air in the food processing industry is an important aspect of the treatment process. Furthermore, the ozone can be dissolved in the water and used when washing and processing food.
This allows sterility to be maintained during processing. Some food products are sterilized by applying gaseous ozone to them directly. As part of the processing, ozonized water is also used to wash surfaces, floors, and walls of equipment. Hand washing with ozonized water is also important by those handling the food. From the moment food is processed until it is packaged, ozone is applied since ozone is used to sterilize even the packaging.
As part of the food processing, the waste water coming out of the unit is also treated with ozone to degrade pollutants before it is disposed of. The waste water is sometimes processed further and ozonized to reuse the water if there is a shortage of water.
An ozone generator can be used to create ozone gas on-site using an an electrical charge or other methods that are used by ozone generators. When gas is pumped into water, it produces ozonated water that can be used for rinsing, misting, spraying or bathing. Oxygen decomposes into ordinary oxygen within minutes of contact with ozone.
In different ozone applications for food products, ozone is the perfect alternative to chlorine sanitizers due to its environmentally friendly properties. Using Ozone-enhanced water kills bacteria just as effectively as chlorine, and it is produced on site, so no harsh chemicals need be handled, mixed or disposed of. Additionally, ozone is a readily reverting product, leaving no residue on surfaces it contacts. Mobile and centralized systems with hand-held or drop-down, low-pressure sprayers can spray ozone-enriched water directly on floors, drains, walls, wettable equipment, tanks (external and internal), and clean rooms.
Biofilms in food plants can be removed and/or prevented by sanitizing with ozonated water over time. As a result, the resulting runoff water is extremely clean and it will effectively lessen the amount of bacteria in the plant.
In August 2000, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved ozone for use as an antimicrobial agent in gas and aqueous phase food storage, treatment, and processing. On June 26, 2001, USDA/FSIS published the approval. As of Dec. 21, 2001, the federal government’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (USDA) approved the use of ozone to treat meats and poultry, starting with raw products and ending with fresh cooked and products just prior to packaging. As part of a food company’s sanitation efforts, ozone also can be applied to food contact surfaces and to equipment used to process foods.
Microorganisms are killed effectively and quickly with ozone, since ozone is a proven, powerful disinfectant. Food processing equipment and products can be treated with it to prevent the growth of unwanted organisms.
Considering the amazing benefits of ozone generators for different ozone applications, the food products do not have to be treated with chemicals for short term solution. As oxygen naturally reverts to ozone, the food treated with ozone retains no hazardous chemical residuals or alters its taste.
At Ozongenerators, we provide ozone generators ranging from small residential and commercial systems to large food processing industries systems. Many industries have proven that these ozone generators are cost-effective and efficient.