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Rad Journal editorial comment:
" We believe that ozone will be a better alternative to surface "washes." This was not perceived as a good application for radiation. Most manufacturers who looked at electron beans to kill surface organisms did not like the cost ; furthermore, the aseptic packaging that goes with it made the system unattractive.

Ozone probably will not hurt the chances for deep radiation using x-rays or gamma rays with the product already packaged."

Will Ozone be Approved by the FDA to
Store and Process Foods?

By: Elizabeth Nelson

The Food and Drug Administration recently passed ozone in an initial review to use as a food safety additive. The Administration's review process is considered extremely rigorous. Only one out of 10 to 12 petitions ever makes it to the FDA's filing stage. Ozone may soon become a major tool for the safe treatment as well as storage and processing many different types of foods. Some foods that ozone may process include poultry, meat, and vegetables and fruits.

Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has been studying ways to ensure the protection of food supply in the United States. EPRI's headquarters is in Palo Alto, Calif. and the company has been researching energy and environmentally issues since 1973. They are currently looking to obtain formal federal authorization for the ozone additive.

Using ozone in food is not a new idea. Other countries already use it in food processing. Furthermore, ozone is used in the United States for water treatment, even though the FDA has never listed ozone as an approved additive. In 1997, the FDA listed ozone as "GRAS" or Generally Recognized as Safe.

Dr. Chuck Sopher (director of EPRI) commented that "although the food safety system has worked well, it's important to get ahead of the curve, and the use of ozone as an antimicrobial agent can help the industry do that." He also said, "consumers view microbial- meaning germ and bacteria- contamination as their highest food safety concern, and the organisms responsible for diseases continue to mutate. Ozone is an extremely 'user-friendly' agent that represents another weapon in the arsenal to help assure the long-term safety of the U. S. food supply."

Ozone functions as an oxidant and damages cell walls that contain harmful microorganisms. The damage from ozone kills the microorganisms and leaves only ozone behind. There is no odor, flavor, or taste from the treatment. Furthermore, unlike chlorine, there seems to be no residual in the food.

If ozone is used regularly, it may replace agricultural pesticides. This would allow safer storage of crops without needing fumigation. Ozone may also prove to provide odor control in the fish industry and in animal operations. These long-term functions may become important to the US economy to help maintain a trade balance. Currently many nations have a 'zero-tolerance' policy on importing foods with pesticide residues or that contain living organisms.

EPRI is not working alone trying to get Ozone passed by the FDA. Some other companies and organizations that are assisting the EPRI are: the National Food Processors Association, the American Meat Institute, the National Chicken Council, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute, Praxair, BOC Gasses, Novazone, Dell Industries, RGF Environmental Group, and Air Liquide.