The FLO-D (photolysis oxidation disinfection) system sucks in air and uses ultraviolet light to break down oxygen molecules in it, producing ozone, which it then pumps out.
Ozone oxidises organic substances, killing off bacteria, viruses and spores, and once a sufficient level of it is reached in a production environment, it eliminates these food safety threats.
The patented Jimco unit only needs to create ozone levels of 10 parts per million over a period of two hours to achieve that effect, according to Jimco CEO Jimmy Larsen. It does not require a completely sealed area to be effective.
Such ozone levels are deemed risky to humans, so Larsen recommends the disinfection takes place when no staff are present. The procedure can be started automatically and monitored remotely using strategically-placed air analysers feeding data via a WiFi connection.
Trials have been conducted not merely under laboratory conditions, but also in food factories, such as Vega Salmon’s facility in Esbjerg, Denmark.
Results from the plant indicated total bacterial concentration after the process was lower than after traditional disinfection using chemical cleaning agents, Jimco claims. Spore concentration was also reduced.
Tests carried out in cooperation with the University of Southern Denmark showed concentrations of listeria and salmonella bacteria were almost completely eliminated by an hour’s treatment, Jimco stated.
“You don’t have to heat up water and you don’t have to use a lot of chemicals,” Larsen told GlobalMeatNews. As a result, firms could achieve significant savings using the system.
A typical unit boasted an operating life of 8,000 hours and only needed to be used twice a week for two hours at a time, offering extremely attractive payback times, he said.
The approach could also be used in cold storage facilities to extend the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables by up to 14 days, he said. One FLO-D unit could clean a cold storage room measuring up to 1,500m3 within a few hours, Jimco asserts.
It builds on the business’ existing air purification unit, which uses ultraviolet light to break down oxygen molecules in the air, producing ozone. Ozone oxidises organic substances, killing off bacteria, viruses and spores and thus neutralising odours.
Initially, companies had been slow to adopt the technology, because it seemed too good to be true, but global demand had been building since a full patent was granted in October 2014, said Larsen.
“Six or seven companies have adopted it. We have just got our first order in South America and three factories in Holland have started to test it.” Units had also just been shipped to a major UK poultry processor, he added.