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Ozone in Food Storage

Ozone Extends Shelf Life of Fresh Food

Ozone Helps Food Last Longer

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Common Applications for Ozone use in Food Storage

  • Potato Storage Facilities
  • Onion Storage Facilities
  • Citrus Fruit Storage
  • Vegetable Storage
  • Aged Ham Storage
  • Cool Meat Storage
  • Preservation of Fish and Seafood
  • General Cold Storage Facilities

Methods of Ozone Application

  • Ozone gas can be distributed throughout a cold storage facility at low levels.
  • Ozone-sterilized ice is used to pack fresh fish and seafood to prolong freshness.
  • Ozone gas is used in meat coolers to inhibit microbiological growth and extend shelf life.
  • Ozone is dissolved into water to wash fruits and vegetables and remove mold and bacteria.
  • Low levels of ozone gas can be used in containers to prolong shelf life upon delivery.
  • Dissolved ozone is used to wash meat and poultry to remove bacteria and extend refrigerated shelf life.

Benefits of Ozone Use in Cold Storage

  • Extend shelf-life of the produce within the cold storage facility.
  • Air-borne microbiological control
  • Low ozone levels (<0.3 PPM) will inhibit microbiological growth in the air.
  • High ozone levels can be used for disinfection when room is empty.
  • Surface sanitation can be maintained
  • By inhibiting microbiological growth pathogens on the surface of produce, containers, and walls will be kept to a minimum.
  • Eliminate mold growth from cold storage area.
  • Odor control
  • Maintain an odor-free cold storage area
  • Keep odors from cross contaminating between products
  • Ethylene Removal
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A Cold Storage Food Warehouse

Extension of Storage Life With Ozone

Ozone has been demonstrated to improve the shelf-life of many foods.

Food Extension Storage Conditions
Fish 50-80% ozone sterilized ice
Salmon 50% ozone sterilized ice
Jack Mackerel and Shimaaji (fish) 1.2 – 1.6 days Soak in 30% NaCl cont. 0.6 mg/L O3 30-60 min. every 2 days.
Beef (frozen) 30-40% 0.4°C; 85-90% RH; 10-20 mg/m3 O3, provided original microbial count is below 103/cm2
Poultry 2.4 days Soak in ice water while passing in O3 (3.88 mg/L) 20 min.
Bananas substantial A few ppm O3 @ 12°C, if fruit is not within a few days of its period of rapid ripening.
Strawberries, Raspberries, Currents, Grapes 100% 2-3 ppm O3, continuously or several hours each day.
Apples several 1.95 cm3 O3/m3
Potatoes 6 months 3 mg/L O3; 6-14°C; 93-97% RH
Eggs 8 months 0.6 ppm O3; 31°F; 90% RH
Cheeses 63 days 0.2 – 0.3 ppm O3

* Source: Review of the Applications of Ozone for Increasing Storage Times of Perishable Foods, Ozone: Science and Engineering, Vol. 4, pp. 147-163, 1982, Pergamon Press Ltd.

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Ozone is Allowed for Direct Contact with Food

  • August 13, 1999 – FDA issues 21CFR Part 173.368 giving ozone GRAS approval for use on all meat and poultry products.
  • December 23, 1999 – FSIS published final rule approving the use of ozone in meat and poultry products.
  • December 17, 2002 – USDA issues FSIS Directive 7120.1 naming ozone a Safe and Suitable Ingredient Used in the Production of Meat and Poultry Products

Ozone is Approved for Use with Food.

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The USDA and FDA have approved ozone as an antimicrobial agent for use with food processing. With regulatory approval, ozone has become a great option for cost-effectively disinfecting food.

Important Factors in Ozone Storage

Human Safety

Human safety must be factored in to ensure ozone levels are below safe levels when workers are in the area.

Concentrations

Different produce, meats and seafood will require different ozone concentrators to achieve effective preservation.

Ethylene

Many fruits and vegetables release ethylene, this gas accelerates the ripening process. Ozone rapidly oxidized ethylene.

Humidity

Food storage facilities are commonly higher humidity areas. Ozone is rapidly decomposed in high humidity areas. Ozone must be rapidly distributed throughout the area. However, humidity can be used to destroy ozone quickly, allowing employees to return to an area after the ozone introduction has ceased.

Circulation

Food to be stored in ozonized atmospheres should be packed to allow circulation of the ozone and air.

Mould

High humidity levels will make mold and most bacteria more susceptible to ozone. Ozone control of mold and spores is best conducted in relative high humidity areas.

Ozone in the Food Industry

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Because ozone is a safe, powerful disinfectant, it can be used to control biological growth of unwanted organisms in products and equipment used in the food processing industries. Ozone is particularly suited to the food industry because of its ability to disinfect microorganisms without adding chemical by-products to the food being treated, or to the food processing water or atmosphere in which food are stored

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