Ozone kills planktonic bacteria 3,000 times faster than chlorine. Ozone is 150% stronger than chlorine in killing bacteria. Using ozone as a Clean-in-place (“CIP”) sanitizer is always the answer to stop contamination transmission throughout a plant. Ozone spray CIP can burn out biofilms with enough time and inhibit bacteria attachment during processing. At the end of a shift, ozone spray is commonly used to wash process equipment, surfaces and rinse pipes and vessels. The need to wash, rinse and sanitize all surfaces remains of paramount importance to prevent disease outbreaks.
The use of ozone spray as an antimicrobial on equipment and many food surfaces is well documented in destroying or substantially reducing the numbers of pathogens of public health concern, as well as other undesirable microorganisms, without adversely affecting the quality of the product or its safety for the consumer. Ozone is exempted by the USEPA from any reporting, approved by the FDA as an antimicrobial agent for direct food contact and certified by the USDA as organic.
For all the fruits like apples, nectarines, tomatoes and, surprisingly, “fish”, spray washing is enough. Why fish? Simply because fish lack the fats and oils found in meat and poultry. Fruits and fish are simple food surfaces and respond rapidly to an ozone spray wash with low concentrations of dissolved ozone.
For meats, poultry and some dried products you need multiple intervention points. There is no way a simple ozone spray wash is going to burn through the organic material on meat and poultry and kill bacteria. Meat and poultry and processing equipment require multiple interventions of ozone spray wash and ozone gas to minimize biofilm slimes attaching and growing. If an engineer tells you all you need is a simple ozone spray wash and it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Each plant has a different story and requires an experienced application engineer to inspect the process and determine what needs to be done and where.