The food contamination issue requires continuous control of food at each step of the production process. High quality and safety of products are equally important factors in the food industry. They may be achieved with several, more or less technologically advanced methodologies. In this work, we review the role, contribution, importance, and impact of ozone as a decontaminating agent used to control and eliminate the presence of microorganisms in food products as well as to extend their shelf-life and remove undesirable odors. Several researchers have been focusing on the ozone's properties and applications, proving that ozone treatment technology can be applied to all types of foods, from fruits, vegetables, spices, meat, and seafood products to beverages. A compilation of those works, presented in this review, can be a useful tool for establishing appropriate ozone treatment conditions, and factors affecting the improved quality and safety of food products. A critical evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of ozone in the context of its application in the food industry is presented as well.
Food industry, due to its important role in human health has to be treated as an industry requiring very high standards of hygiene. This is to ensure there are no bacteria or other dangerous communicable diseases are transferred to the foods being processed. This can give an outbreak of community diseases some of which can be highly lethal. All the foods being processed for any reason from any stage to any stage, have to necessarily undergo very rigid standards of hygiene and disinfection processes. As a result, the use of ozone has increased many folds in the food industry in the last decade.
For various applications, various processes are adapted with ozone technology to realise the high standard of disinfection and to maintain a high level of hygiene. Ozone is applied in air to control the atmospheric bacteria and other contaminations in areas where food processing is being carried out. The air treatment of ozone forms one aspect of the treatment in the food processing industry. The other aspect is to dissolve ozone in the water and use the ozonised water for washing the foods as well as while processing the foods. This keeps the foods sterile under process. In some instances, gaseous ozone is applied directly to the foods being processed to sterilize it. Ozonised water is also used for washing of equipment surfaces, floors and walls in the processing room. Personnel handling the foods also use ozonised water for washing hand. Ozone is applied at various points during the processing till the foods are packaged. In some instances, even the packaging used in the process is sterilized using ozone.
The waste water coming out of the food processing unit also uses ozone for degrading the contaminants in the waste water before disposing of the water. In some cases, due to severe shortage of water, the waste water is further processed and ozonised for reusing the water.
Higher levels of ozone can used before altering the taste of appearance of product
Ozone improves taste and appearance over the use of chlorination alone and results in better quality
Ozone lowers counts of spoilage microorganisms in wash water and therefore it longer shelf life
Ozone keeps wash water cleaner longer and less water usage
An ozone treatment is capable of destroying pesticides in wash water
Ozone reduces the risk of cross-contamination of pathogens
Ozone leaves no chemical
Ozone is natural allowing the use of ozone in organic food production
Ozone system mitigates the need for storage, use and disposal of chemical sanitation agents