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image 09-Oct-2021

Is Ozone really an effective food Sterilizer?

These days’ eating raw is just not safe but dangerous too and thus every day we wash multiple times before eating any fruit or vegetables. But are these still safe to eat? To improve food production with an ever-increasing market demand, most of the farmers are progressively using several harsh chemicals in-form of fertilizers and pesticides even knowing the side effects of such branded chemicals.

Not only this, recently, it was found that large number of vegetables available in the East Delhi market is contaminated with heavy metals and pesticides, which is affecting people of all age groups with multiple diseases. It was found that these were being cultivated at the banks of Yamuna River which is heavily doused with chemical waste from different industries thus releasing to food products.

Thus, it now has become mandatory to know as from where our food products are being cultivated from and in what conditions. In India, couple of processing companies has started working on food traceability or food block chain technology but still there is a big gap with no arrangement or any mechanism to trace back quality of food products. International companies like Carrefour has already implemented #blockchain of cheese, milk, oranges, tomatoes that means consumer have now option to scan a QR code that has all the relevant information about the product from farm to fork; thus mitigating the risk of food fraud and packaging only quality product which is good for human consumption.

Traditionally, fruits and vegetables are cleaned by an agitation process in water along with of chlorine, but this process still lacks complete removal of pathogens and other contaminations and this is the reasons that developed countries have now switched their disinfection process to Ozone cleaning.

Ozone is more powerful disinfectant than chlorine and is effective against entire spectrum of pathogens including bacteria, viruses, cryptosporidium, giardia etc. More importantly, ozone has a lifeline of only 10-20 minutes in water after which it breaks down to oxygen; therefore it does not leave behind harmful by-products as do chlorine.

Ozone has shown to improve taste and appearance of fresh cut salad for the RTE market while controlling food borne pathogens. Due to reduced counts of bacteria which lead to food spoilage, increases shelf life and shipping distance.

However, there are arguments against use of ozone and caution is required while using it. An overdose may cause food decolorizing and this will drive-off the public from consuming. Therefore, a well trained professional is required to control the ozone environment, to maintain precise levels to obtain a healthy food product. 

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