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Ozone Applications in the Food and Beverage Industries

On June 26 2001, the FDA published a final ruling in the Federal Register approving ozone as an additive to kill food-borne pathogens. This approval opened the floodgates for food processors to begin utilizing ozone in their plants. Today, ozone technology is steadily replacing conventional sanitation techniques such as chlorine, steam or hot water.

Today, ozone technology is quickly becoming a major player in food and material sanitation.

Systems that use Ozone are Safer

Ozone is simply oxygen in an unstable and highly reactive form. It naturally tends to seek its normal state, exhibiting a short half-life as it reverts to oxygen fairly rapidly. When it reacts with organic matter, it does not form any toxic byproducts and the water in which it was delivered can be filtered and reused. Because it is so highly reactive, ozone is effective at controlling or removing films that sometimes form on processing equipment. It can also be used to reduce biological oxygen demand (BOD), chemical oxygen demand (COD), and turbidity or other residues in water.

While chlorinated wash systems require transport and storage of potentially hazardous toxic chemicals, ozone is unique in that it is generated onsite from harmless oxygen and can be produced on demand with no storage required. When the generator is turned off, there are no dangerous substances on the premises. While the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) of ozone is affected by the amount of organic matter or chemicals in the water, its ORP is not as sensitive to changes in pH as that of chlorine.

  • Because it breaks down back to oxygen, ozone leaves no residue in the water or on the product. This means no change in color or flavor that is often associated with chlorine treatment.
  • The Department of the Agriculture published an article saying that no secondary biocide is necessary when using ozone since it kills bacteria, viruses, spores, fungi, mold, mildew, etc., on contact without the need for other products.
  • Using ozone gives more assurance against pathogenic E-coli and similar organisms and at the same time, conserves water and extends the shelf life of the product.

Ozone Sanitation Systems

The ozone produced by ozone generators kills more of common organisms (bacteria, fungus, pathogens, etc.) and does it far more efficiently than chlorine.

For example, studies have shown that:

  1. Ozone kills bacteria 3100 times faster than chlorine.
  2. Ozone is 51% more powerful on bacteria than chlorine.
  3. Ozone can be effective as a disinfectant even at relatively low concentrations.
  4. Ozone does not leave toxic by-products similar to those related to chlorination.

Ozone Systems & Cost Effectiveness

Ozone systems are completely reshaping the way the beverage and food industry sanitize their plants by moving away from the conventional cleaning methods of the last 5 decades. Saving can be realized from the following:

  • 100% cost reduction in steam and hot water (utilities)
  • 100% cost reduction in chemical sanitizers that are used & thrown away
  • Improved health & safety with limited chemical handling

Cleaning Systems & Sanitation Systems

Food and Beverage processors have the same issues:

  • They need to clean their equipment removing dirt, waste materials and grease. Conventional cleaners are still required to remove these contaminates.
  • They also need to SANITIZE their equipment against mold, viruses and bacteria. Sanitizing with Ozone is quicker and more effective than either chemicals or hot water processes.