The UK distributor will now be selling equipment manufactured by US-based OzoneSafeFood to meet a growing demand for such systems at a time when processors and consumers are increasingly concerned aboutsafety in the food supply.
Ozone gas is a naturally occurring tri-atomic form of oxygen that is formed as sunlight passes through the atmosphere. It can be generated artificially by passing high voltage electricity throughoxygenated air.
Because ozone is an unstable, highly reactive form of oxygen, it is 51 times as powerful as chlorine, the oxidizer most commonly used by most food processors, and 3,000 times as fast at killingbacteria and other microbes.
While chlorine has traditionally been the sanitizer of choice in the food processing industry, there is a growing concern about such byproducts as trihalomethanes or dioxinsproduced when chlorine reacts with organic matter in the water. The substances are known carcinogens and are regulated in drinking water.
The possibility of replacing chlorine is attractive for industries seeking to reduce chemical use and eliminate the generation of chlorinated wastes
OzoneSafeFood says its systems has a faster bacteria kill rate compared to other industrial cleaning methods and would reduce operating costs. The food cleaning equipment can be used in place oftraditional chemicals for the controlling of Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella and other micro organisms.
Because it decomposes quickly, ozone does not build up on food surfaces the way chemicals can if not removed by proper rinsing. Ozone can be injected or dissolved in water to chill, rinse orwash food.
The equipment's technology can topically clean all foods and integrates with ice machines and sanitizing equipment. The equipment can also be used to clean water supplies and control effluents.
CIProcess is targeting the equipment at processors of beef, pork, poultry, seafood, dairy products, beverages, fruits and vegetables.
"Our patented vortex technology entrains ozone into the water until it is fully suspended; the natural process of reverting back to oxygen becomes delayed, allowing the water stream to exitthe confines of a pipe with its natural micro organism killing power still in effect," the company stated.
Operating costs are reduced, by using cold water and no chemicals, and by reducing the steps in the cleaning process to a single step.
The systems are available in mobile or static versions and can often be used through existing pipework.
"Add this to an increased quality product and an extension to the shelf life, return on investment paybacks of fewer than 12 months are often achieved," CIProcess claims in astatement.
The global market for ozone technology is estimated at $224.9m in 2004 and will increase at an average annual growth rate of about 6.3 per cent to reach $305m in 2009, according to research byBusiness Communications.