The challenged faced by every person working in the food industry is food preservation. What is the best way to stop or slow down food spoilage, loss of quality, edibility or nutritional value and thus allow for longer food storage. The answer is ozone. Ozone is a highly reactive form of oxygen, consisting of three oxygen atoms (O3), that is a safe and powerful oxidant/disinfectant that quickly decomposes to diatomic oxygen (O2), while reacting with targeted organic matter or microorganisms. Ozone is used to control the growth of unwanted biological organisms because it effectively kills viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites, including those causing food spoilage or human diseases. Ozone destroys microorganisms effectively by reacting with oxidizable cellular components and without leaving harmful residues behind. This makes the use of ozone as an antimicrobial agent particularly well suited to the food industry for both cold storage and washing.
Ozone is safer and more environmentally friendly than other antimicrobials and, in its gaseous phase, ozone acts as a preservative by controlling mold and bacteria in the air and on the surface of the product. Improvement of microbiological quality and lengthening of shelf life for food items can be accomplished by directly treating these products with ozone or by storing them in an ozone-containing environment. Products that will benefit from ozone treatments include, but are not limited to: fresh fruits, vegetables (especially potatoes and onions), cheeses, eggs, nuts, and meats. Ozone can be utilized in an aqueous solution to decontaminate food-contact surfaces, sanitize equipment and packaging materials, recycle wastewater, and decrease pesticide levels on fresh produce. It will also increase product shelf life and eliminate mold, fungus and unwanted insects and rodents.