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Sanitizing the Air

The rising acceptance and use of ozone in the produce industry

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ozone for use in either gaseous (air) or aqueous (water) forms. Ozone equipment then adjusts the output to create a product at the correct parts per million (ppm) for the manner in which the ozone will be used.

Measuring Multiple Benefits 
Fred Recchiuti, general manager at Avondale, PA’s Basciani Foods, says ozone is in the water the company uses to sanitize their mushroom growing operations and cites the company’s sustainability initiative as part of the reason.

Ozone Chart_v2The Environment and Chemical Usage
“We’re trying to get as far away from chlorine as possible,” Recchiuti remarks. “No matter how well you capture the waste water, eventually the dioxins get into the tributaries and streams, eventually the bays and rivers. The fish will uptake the dioxins and it’s a carcinogen.”

In addition to environmental benefits, Recchiuti says ozone reduces the amount of chemicals they need to use.

“Ozone is a powerful sanitizer, but when (aqueous ozone is) exposed to air for a very short time, it just becomes water. We’ve found it to be very effective for preventing some discoloration of our mushrooms,” Recchiuti says. Better yet, he notes, “It’s just environmentally friendly.”

Exposure Risks
Hamil agrees, explaining that some companies use gaseous ozone in uninhabited areas of production facilities like ripening rooms.

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