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What is Ozone?

Molecular macro image of Covid-19 virus being destroyed by ozone

You’ve probably heard of ozone — most notably the ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But did you also know ozone is one of nature’s most powerful cleaners?

The oxygen we breathe is continuously converted into ozone either by ultraviolet light from the sun or by lightning, during storms. The reaction triggers two oxygen atoms to collect a third, creating ozone. When ozone encounters a pathogen, one of the oxygen atoms separates, pierces the cell wall and destroys it. After ozone’s purifying work is done, all that remains is the oxygen we breathe.

Ozone’s presence in our atmosphere impacts all air-breathing species and such low concentrations are perfectly safe and healthy. The human immune system creates ozone in the bloodstream when antibodies encounter pathogens.

In the food industry, ozone can be safely used to kill numerous pathogens including Hepatitis-A, Norovirus, E. coli and Salmonella. Historically, ozone has been used for disinfection applications before World War I and is now becoming the food industry’s standard for disinfection.

FDA/USDA Approvals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally approved the use of ozone as an antimicrobial agent to treat, store and process foods in gas and water phases and designated ozone as Generally Recognized As Safe, or GRAS. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service approved the use of ozone in contact with raw and fresh cooked meats and poultry prior to packaging. Additionally, ozone can be used in the disinfection of foods and applied to food processing equipment and on non-food contact surfaces to sanitize and reduce cross contamination.

Benefits of Ozone

  1. Ozone is recognized as the most effective antimicrobial disinfectant on the market.
  2. It kills 99.999 percent, or 5-log kill, of pathogens within 30 seconds and is 50 percent stronger than chlorine. Ozone is 3,100 times faster than chlorine in killing E. coli — killing in milliseconds where some disinfectants take minutes.
  3. With ozone there’s no risk of spills or burns, no need to label and log like many chemicals. Ozone is used up in the cleaning process or reverts to oxygen in 30 minutes.
  4. Business using ozone will meet FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act’s requirements to prevent cross contamination and reduce the spread of foodborne illnesses.
  5. Ozone improves the quality of food with no negative effects on taste.
  6. Ozone rehydrates leafy greens.
  7. Ozonated water is safe to drink and safe when in contact with eyes and skin.
  8. Ozonated water prevents fungal infection of the cuticles.
  9. Ozone destroys pesticides remaining on food products.
  10. Ozone is organic, leaves no residue and forms no hazardous byproducts.


Begin with Ozone

Contaminants can be costly to your business, but generating ozone on demand can help your business operate better, cleaner and safer. Quail Systems’ technology creates ozone electrically and produces ozone generators for use in the food transportation, food preparation and for general wash-down purposes in the food industry. Using the highest quality parts along with a reliable service and maintenance program, Quail is unmatched in the food safety industry.

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