Yreka, CA - A university study of a relatively new process for controlling dangerous food-borne pathogens has confirmed that low-levels of ozone applied to food surfaces can significantly reduce the risk of illness caused by bacteria on produce and on meats.
The research findings completed last week by California Polytechnic University food scientists in San Luis Obispo, California, found consistently significant reductions of more than 99.99 percent of such pathogens as E. Coli 0157:H7, Salmonella and Campylobactor on surfaces of lettuce, meat and poultry.
The University's testing of the ozone food surface sanitizing was led by Dr. Joseph Montecalvo, Jr., past chairman of the Cal Poly Department of Food Science & Nutrition and a member of the Technical Advisory Panel of the USDA National Organic Standards Board.
The ozone pathogen reduction technology tested was developed by Tru-Pure Ozone Technologies of Yreka, California. The system is currently being marketed to processors of vegetables, fruits, meat and poultry. The company also markets a small version of the technology that helps consumers reduce the hazards of food borne pathogens on foods at home.
“Our research proves that the Tru-Pure ozone system can significantly reduce the risk of food borne illness when coupled with safe handling and good manufacturing practices,” Dr. Montecalvo stated. “The study found little pathogen reduction as a result of rinsing with standard chlorinated tap water compared to the much greater bacterial kill achieved with the ozone process.”
Dr. Montecalvo said the study just completed is the first, to his knowledge, to examine the effectiveness of low levels of ozone against E. Coli 0157:H7 and Campylobactor, two pathogens that have recently been identified as the source of consumer health risks on produce, such as lettuce, and on meat and poultry.
“Our research findings suggest that the ozone sanitizing process can be a valuable tool for the food processing industry,” Montecalvo stated. “We also feel the results validate the usefulness of the technology at the home level as well, because it gives consumers the ability to insure food quality when coupled with safe handling and preparation practices.”
Ron Long, director of technology for Tru-Pure, said the company is working with produce, fruit and meat processors in both the US and Canada to implement the firm's technology. “Our food sanitation process is an important breakthrough for the food industry,” Long stated. “It reduces or replaces chemicals currently used which are not only less effective than ozone, but also present a negative environmental impact as well.”
Long said the firm's patent-pending consumer home food sanitizing process is being test marketed in selected regions of the US now and that Nationwide marketing is anticipated by the end of the year.
Meat Industry Insights News Service
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