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Current IssueSeptember 01, 2015
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Ask The Expert: Ozone and food processing

Q: I need to know the specifications for the water ozone enrichment for rinsing. Thanks for you time.

Hilger Terán
Alimentos Heinz C.A.
Caracas, Venezuela



Q: In response to your inquiry about ozonation of water for rinsing purposes, I cannot comment on this until I know what it is you are rinsing. Ozone is not only excellent for disinfecting water supplies, but it also oxidizes dissolved material, including organics and certain ionic constituents. It has been approved for direct contact with food products for sanitation. Ozonated water has been approved in the United States for use on agricultural products to irradiate potentially harmful contaminants. On June 26, 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final rule on the subject that said: "The FDA amends the food additive regulations to provide for the safe use of ozone in gaseous and aqueous phase as an anti-microbial agent on food including meat and poultry" (see 21 CFR 173.368). Ozone has proven beneficial in food processing, but excess ozone can harm the product or the equipment. You need to know how much ozone and how to control the level to assure ozone is used as a benefit. This is where many end-users are doing their own research at various food processing plants. For instance, with regard to treating lettuce, at a certain ozone level, a head may remain fresher longer—at another, the lettuce may turn brown faster. Many may keep this data to themselves as a proprietary information. This is why efforts to establish guidelines through organizations such as the Water Quality Association and International Ozone Association are important.

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