CCLEEN SOLUTIONS FOR THE FOOD INDUSTRY
Microbial illness like gastroenteritis associated with the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has raised many concerns. Pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella, L. monocytogenes and Bacillus cereus have been reported to grow on fresh cut fruits and vegetables at room temperature or when refrigerated. As the foodborne infections pose very serious risks to human health, it becomes very critical to improve the food quality and safety throughout the process of growing, processing, distribution and consumption . The use of pesticides to control pests and diseases, ensuring better yield and quality, has been a common method for several years. The pesticide residue on the surfaces of fruits and vegetables increases their toxicity, making them more unsafe for consumption .
The most common method for household and industrial processing of fresh produce is to rinse them with water before consumption. However, regular tap water has very little effect on removing these harmful pathogens and pesticide residue .
Several disinfectants, including chlorine water, chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, calcinated calcium solution, organic acids, etc. have been tested to sanitize the fruits and vegetables. Although these disinfectants have some anti-microbial action, they come along with many harmful effects. These chemicals must always be diluted to a certain level to be categorized as a ‘food grade’ substance. The solutions can cause skin irritations and respiratory tract illnesses. Some of these chemicals, specially chlorine is highly corrosive in nature and has a powerful and unpleasant odor . Not only do these chemical disinfectants are harmful for the handlers, but they also tend to react with the food causing changes in taste and appearance. It is very important to take extreme care while using such hazardous chemicals at home or at industries. Hence, we need less hazardous sanitizers to deal with pathogens on fresh fruits and vegetables.
A new concept that has attracted great attention in recent years is the technology of Electrolyzed water. It has potential applications as a useful sanitizer in the food and agricultural industries. The ingredients for producing electrolyzed water are simply - tap water and a high-grade salt. The process requires a specially designed reactor containing an anode and cathode which segregate the ions formed, producing two oppositely charged solutions. Hydrogen gas and hydroxide ions can be produced at the cathode, which forms an alkaline solution essentially made up of sodium hydroxide. This negatively charged catholyte solution has proven to have detergent and degreasing properties. While at the anode, an acidic solution with chlorine (present as hypochlorous acid) is formed. The positively charged anolyte solution has antimicrobial capabilities.
Based on this electrolyzed water technology, the Ccleen on-site generators produce two solutions – Ccleen Sanitising and Disinfecting Solution and Ccleen Sanitising and Cleaning Solution. Both the Ccleen solutions have shown efficacy for anti-microbial action, and are an excellent choice for inactivating food pathogens.
It effectively reduces pesticides and insecticides almost completely off the surfaces of fruits and vegetables. These solutions do not need to be diluted prior to use. With no added chemicals, Ccleen solutions have no harmful effects on the fresh produce and the consumers and there is no need to use any protective equipment. The solutions can be easily and safely stored for up to 1 year in a sealed container which decreases the number of required cleaning products. Generating a cleaning solution on-site can reduce the environmental footprint up to 98%. It also eliminates transportation costs, reducing carbon emissions, wasteful packaging, etc. Moreover, the on-site, on demand Ccleen generators are a simple, convenient, economic and sustainable alternative to traditional chemical disinfectants.
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- Han, Y., Song, L., An, Q., & Pan, C. (2016). Removal of six pesticide residues in cowpea with alkaline electrolysed water. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 97(8), 2333–2338. doi:10.1002/jsfa.8043
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