26 Sustainability www.cleaning-matters.co.uk
Thinking beyond chemicals
for sustainable sanitation
Emily Hill explores the benefits of Ozone within food and beverage production, particularly
for the sanitisation of fresh produce. As an efficient and more environmentally-focused
alternative to chlorine, Ozone can treat water without the use of traditional halogenated
chemicals, and can also support any organisation’s objective to minimise water consumption.
GROWING CONSUMER awareness
and increasingly stringent regulatory
demands have resulted in renewed
emphasis on the quality of water and
selection of disinfectants used for the
washing and preparation of vegetables,
salads and other fresh produce.
Microorganisms can contaminate
salads, fruits and vegetables from any
number of sources – fertilisers used for
growth, water used for irrigation and the
use of pesticides and bacteria from
animals can all impact the cleanliness of
fresh produce. It is therefore vital that
before being placed on the market, fruits
and vegetables must be thoroughly and
suitably washed to reduce the health
risks of contamination from bacteria,
such as E.coli.
Foodborne illnesses are a concern for
producers, wholesalers, retailers and
consumers, and the consequences of not
adhering to food safety standards are
severe. In 2016, a national outbreak of
E.coli 0157 caused 161 cases of illness in
Britain, with two fatalities. Following an
investigation undertaken by Public
Health England (PHE) and working with
the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and
Local Authority Environmental Health,
mixed salad leaves were identified as the
likely cause of the outbreak.
For several decades, chlorine has been
used to wash fresh fruit, vegetable and
salad products to kill microorganisms and
remove pesticides (M.E. Parish, 2003).
Even today, chlorine is heavily relied upon
for sanitation purposes – but it does have
Foodborne illnesses are a concern
for producers, wholesalers,
retailers and consumers,
and the consequences of not
adhering to food safety
standards are severe.
its disadvantages. Its limited effect in
destroying microorganisms on the surface
of salad leaves means that high dosages of
chlorine are often used, sometimes with
limited added benefit and often leaving a
residue on the produce to be consumed by
customers (Xu, 1999).