Ozone treatment assures the retention of sensory, nutritional and physicochemical characteristic of food. Treatment conditions should be specifically determined for all kinds of products for effective and safe use of ozone.
In general, current sanitation technologies are crucial to maintaining the quality and enhancing the safety of fresh agricultural commodities but it is required to minimize the drawbacks and potentially hazards caused by the treatments to consumers.
According to Thermal Processing in Food Industries and Chemical Transformation, published in Springer, food preservation should be designed and performed with two basic aims at least:
- The destruction of pathogen agents and the reduction of spoilage microorganisms
- The inactivation of microbial enzymes, if already synthesised
A 2016 Food & Health Survey conducted by the International Food Information Council Foundation indicated that consumers are concerned about the chemical additives in their food. For the second year in a row, more than a third of consumers that participated rated chemicals in food as their most important food safety issue.
Additionally, the survey revealed most consumers believe the term “natural” is most associated with a food product have no preservatives or additives.
According to the survey, foodborne illness from bacteria, chemicals in food and pesticides are the most important food safety issues today.
Almost all have heard of Salmonella as a problem in food but consumers are split about whether food with Salmonella bacteria on it can be made safe.
Seven in ten has heard of E. coli 0157 as a problem in food, and almost half think food with this bacteria cannot be made safe to eat.
Four in ten find conserving the natural habitat and reducing the amount of pesticides used to produce food to be important ways to produce sustainable food.
According to Sciencing, “Thermal processing is a commercial technique used to sterilize food through the use of high temperatures. The primary purpose of thermal processing is to destroy potential toxins in food. The process does have limitations and its application must be carefully overseen by an authority who understands the importance of variables in regulating thermal processing.”
Chlorine – inefficient against some organisms, particularly at high pH or against spore forming microbes. Furthermore, chlorine can react to trihalomethanes, which are of concern for both human dietary safety and as environmental pollutants
The food industry is in search of applications that are:
- Effective in inactivation of common and emerging pathogens, and removing toxic contaminants
- Leading to less loss in product quality and ensure ‘freshness’
- Adaptable to food processes and economically feasible
- Environmentally friendly
It’s important to note that, “In order to be classified as having commercial sterility, all the microorganisms do not have to be destroyed. Commercial sterility implies only that any remaining microbes will be incapable of continuing to grow and thrive in the food.” (Sciencing)
Advantages of ozone
Spontaneous decomposition without forming hazardous residues in the treatment medium makes ozone safe in food applications. (Ozone Technology: A Review)
- High antimicrobial activity compared to non-oxidative biocins (chlorine) in terms of concentration and time
- Short contact time for disinfection compare to other disinfection methods
- No residue problem as it is completely utilized and get reduced
- Non-hazardous at low ppm (lower than 4 ppm) and effective in bactericidal uses
- No need to store hazardous substance compared to other sanitation methods
- Lower running costs, cost matters only to filling of oxygen cylinders and power supply
- No heat requirement and no heat generation in treatment (applicable to heat sensitive foods) thus saves need of input energy
- Saves transport of disinfectant chemicals & storing of gas cost
- Eco-friendly and economically feasible tech
Numerous applications of ozone in the food industry including food surface hygiene, sanitation of food plant equipment, reuse of wastewater, treatment and lowering biological oxygen demand (BOD) and chemical oxygen demand (COD) of food plant waste. (Ozone Tech: A Review)
- Ozone Technology in Food Processing: A Review (PDF)
- Consumer Concern About Chemicals in Food Continues to Grow: http://business.edf.org/blog/2016/06/06/consumer-concern-about-chemicals-in-food-continues-to-grow/
- Food Decision 2016 (Food & Health Survey): http://www.foodinsight.org/sites/default/files/2016-Food-and-Health-Survey-Report_FINAL1.pdf
- Recent Ozone Applications in Food Processing and Sanitation: https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/octobernovember-2002/recent-ozone-applications-in-food-processing-and-sanitation/
- Aqueous Ozone: From Cleaning to Sustainability: https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/signature-series/aqueous-ozone-from-cleaning-to-sustainability/
- What Is the Meaning of Thermal Processing?: https://sciencing.com/facts-6790531-meaning-thermal-processing-.html
- Thermal Processing in Food Industries and Chemical: http://www.springer.com/cda/content/document/cda_downloaddocument/9783319424613-c2.pdf?SGWID=0-0-45-1576987-p180160599
- Thermal Processing with Food Safety in Mind: https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/octobernovember-2013/thermal-processing-with-food-safety-in-mind/