Food and Beverage Ozone Applications

Ozone was approved by the USDA Organic Rule in 2000 and by the FDA as an additive to kill food-borne pathogens in 2001 (Final Ruling). These approvals opened the floodgates for food processors to begin utilizing ozone in their plants. Today, ozone technology is steadily replacing conventional sanitation techniques (i.e. halogenated chemicals, steam, hot water, etc.) and becoming a major player in the food and beverage sanitation.

In 1994, McClain Ozone pioneered the use of ozone as a natural sanitizer in the California wine industry. This involved:

  • Developing mobile and stationary “ozone-on-demand” sanitation systems.
  • Introducing the first Mobile Ozone Sanitation Systems.
  • Developing comprehensive aqueous and gaseous sanitation protocols.
  • Developing and implementation of safety procedures.

With the approval of ozone by the USDA in 2000 and the FDA in 2001, McClain was in the perfect position to utilize its innovations in ozone technology and equipment along with its extensive experience in ozone sanitation and safety protocols to implement ozone sanitation in the food and beverage industries.

Since 2001, McClain and others have documented the efficacy of ozone sanitation in a wide variety of food and beverage applications. With hundreds of clients worldwide, McClain Ozone is one of the leaders in the production of mobile and stationary ozone sanitation systems for the food and beverage industries. McClain ozone sanitation systems are EPA licensed, NSF approved, OSHA compliant and are designed to meet the needs of any size food and beverage application (Client List available upon request).

Ozone a Versatile Organic Sanitizer

Sanitation plays a critical role in the food and beverage industries. Historically, these industries have used chlorine (and/or other halogen chemicals) and heat (hot water and/or steam) for sanitation, but both or these methods have drawbacks and restrictions.

The high energy cost of generating heat and the harmful byproducts associated with halogen chemicals have made their use problematic. These problems combined with Hazardous Materials regulations and a stronger desire for environmentally friendly and organic sanitation options have resulted in the increased interest in ozone.

  • Ozone is a stand-alone organic sanitizer which simplifies sanitation, is cost effective, safe to use, saves water and energy, and is environmentally friendly (Ozone vs. Conventional Sanitation).
  • Ozone, when used with proper protocols (SOP’s) and employee training, is one of the safest and environmentally friendly sanitizers.
  • Ozone is produced as needed on site, dissipates after use and minimizes the purchase, storage, mixing and disposal of chemicals.
  • Ozone is a cold sanitizer which saves energy and minimizes equipment maintenance costs and cool down cycles.
  • Ozone kills a much broader spectrum of bacteria, fungus and molds, yeasts, spores and cysts (Organisms Killed by Ozone) from 10 to 5000 times faster than halogenated chemicals (chorine, iodine, etc.).
  • Ozone was approved by a FDA Expert Panel as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for use as a sanitizer in 1997 and was approved by FDA Final Ruling for use with fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, etc. in June 2001 (food additive petition).
  • Ozone was approved under USDA Organic Rule in 2000.
  • Ozone reverts to molecular oxygen, is pH neutral (does not change the acid/alkaline balance) and leaves no by-products or residual contaminants behind.
  • Ozone unlike halogenated chemicals (i.e. chlorine, iodine, etc.) does not generate dangerous halogenated hydrocarbon byproducts, such as THM’s.
  • Ozone destroys objectionable taste and odor causing compounds.
  • Ozone is pH neutral, (does not change the acid/alkaline balance).

Applications of Ozone in the Food and Beverage Industries

Ozone is a single source organic sanitizer which kills a broad spectrum of bacteria, fungus and molds, yeasts, spores and cysts (Organisms Killed by Ozone). Used with proper protocols, ozone provides effective sanitation in many food and beverage applications including the following:

Container Sanitation

The use of aqueous ozone in the sanitation of containers (i.e. bottles and bottle caps, kegs, vats, tanks, etc.) is a common application of ozone. Ozone, utilized with proper protocols and CT values provides effective and rapid sanitation of containers and tanks(i.e. glass, plastic, poly, wood, stainless, etc.).

In addition, when used in a recirculation mode, ozone can save hundreds of gallons of water during the sanitation process. The breakdown of ozone to oxygen does not result in container or tank damage as is often the case with halogenated chemicals including chlorine. No rinsing after the sanitation is required which reduces time and water usage. Protocols for the safe use of aqueous ozone in containers and tanks have been developed by McClain and are available to McClain clients.

Bottling Line and Filler Sanitation

Conserving water and energy and maintaining bottling line sterility are a major concern for the beverage industry. The unique “cold sterilization” ability of ozone, combined with its non-contaminating qualities and low water use, make it an excellent alternative to chemicals, steam and hot water.

The expansion and contraction of bottling line components created by heat contribute to the long term stress and damage to bottling lines. The use of cold aqueous water eliminates these stresses resulting in less bottling line downtime and maintenance cost. Protocols for the safe use of aqueous ozone in bottling lines have been developed by McClain and are available to McClain clients.

Processing and Transfer Equipment

Sanitizing processing and transfer equipment (i.e. cutting blades, sorting tables and bins, piping, pumps, etc.) is a primary concern in the food and beverage industry. Aqueous ozone can be utilized to quickly sanitize all food processing and transfer equipment to eliminate the movement of unwanted microbes within the facility. Protocols for the safe use of aqueous ozone for equipment sanitation have been developed by McClain and are available to McClain clients.

Surface Sanitation

Sanitizing facility floors, walls, drains and other surfaces with aqueous ozone reduces microbes (fungi, yeast, and bacteria), maintains a sanitary facility, and eliminates background odors. Protocols for the safe use of aqueous ozone for surface sanitation have been developed by McClain and are available to McClain clients.

Air Sanitation and Vector Control

The use of gaseous ozone to control mold, airborne organisms and odors is a common practice in food and beverage facilities. Gaseous ozone has also been shown to control some insects (i.e. fruit flies) which are not only a nuisance but are also major vectors in the movement of microbes around the facility. Protocols for the safe and effective use of gaseous ozone have been developed by McClain and are available to McClain clients.

Other Food and Beverage Applications of Ozone

Ozone’s sanitation capability makes it very valuable in many other areas of food and beverage processing and packaging. As concerns about the health effects of chlorine treatment by-products rise and desire for organic products increase, ozone is gaining an important role in many food and beverage applications, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Wash water sanitation.
  • Fruit and vegetable disinfection and storage.
  • Poultry washing and chiller water treatment.
  • Meat disinfection and storage.
  • Spice, nut and seed disinfection and storage.
  • Seafood disinfection and shipment.
  • Food storage applications to extend shelf-life and prevent pest infestation (grains, potatoes etc).
  • Ozonated ice for shipping and extending shelf-life of seafood, and produce.
  • Reducing the microbial count in flour.

The Perfect Sanitation Solution For Food and Beverage Industries

From everyday sanitation to mold and mildew control, Ozone is the perfect solution for the food and beverage industries. Contact Us today to learn how McClain Ozone can help you sanitize simply and naturally.