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Ozone Gets OK For Food Industry Use

June 12, 1997
Electric Power Research Institute
Ozone, one of the most effective disinfectants, is used in food processing in other countries. Now, an expert panel says ozone is generally recognized as safe in the U.S.

Palo Alto, Calif., -- June 14, 1997 -- A panel of experts from food science, ozone technology and other related fields has declared Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for ozone use in food processing.

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) allows independent affirmation of GRAS status of substances by a qualified panel of experts. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) requested R&D Enterprises to review the history and health aspects of ozone for possible use in processing foods for human consumption and for GRAS status.

After an initial meeting with the FDA, an expert panel of six scientists met frequently over the course of a year to interpret and evaluate the history of ozone.

Some of the panel’s findings include:

•Ozone has been shown to be a more powerful disinfectant than chlorine, the most commonly used disinfectant
•Ozone has been used safely and effectively in water treatment for nine decades and has been approved in the U.S. as GRAS for treatment of bottled water since 1982.
•Ozone has been applied in the food industry in Europe for decades and, in some cases, for almost a century.
•Ozone doesn’t remain in water so there are no safety concerns about consumption.

"Ozone is one of the most powerful disinfectants known. There are no toxic byproducts or potential health hazards when properly used as a microbiocide," said Myron Jones, manager of EPRI’s Food Technology Center.

Increasing constraints on the use of toxic gases for sterilants or fumigants also makes ozone use more favorable. Ozone is generated for immediate use. So, leaks or spills cannot occur with ozone.

"An onsite ozone generator produces ozone via an electrical discharge. Ozone gas is then mixed with water for washing the food and process equipment. The wash water, called flume water, can be filtered and recycled for reuse -- a big environmental benefit," said Ammi Amarnath, former manager of EPRI’s Food Technology Center.

Jeff Barach,vice president of research and food science policy with the National Food Processors Association commented, "Ozone is very efficient in killing pathogens and spoilage organisms and its use by the food industry will be welcomed as another tool to ensure the production of safe and wholesome foods."

Additional potential applications for ozone in the food industry include increasing the yield of certain crops, protection of raw agricultural commodities during storage and transit, and sanitizing packaging materials used for food storage.

"While populations increase throughout the world, we are seeing an evolution of new microbiological strains involved in human illnesses. Ozone will help to keep people healthy," said Clark Gellings, EPRI’s Customer Systems Group vice president.

EPRI, established in 1973 and headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., manages science and technology R&D for the electricity industry. More than 700 utilities are members of the Institute which has an annual budget of some $500 million.

EPRI. Powering Progress Through Innovative Solutions

(For color slides, contact Christine Hopf-Lovette, EPRI at (415) 855-2733 or


Created by the nation’s electric utilities in 1973, EPRI is one of America’s oldest and largest research consortia, with some 700 members and an annual budget of about $500 million. Linked to a global network of technical specialists, EPRI scientists and engineers develop innovative solutions to the world’s toughest energy problems while expanding opportunities for a dynamic industry.

What is EPRI’s interest in the food industry?
Food processing is the nation’s largest industrial sector, with industry shipments valued at more than $425 billion annually. Food processing plants employ 6 million workers and consume a significant amount of electricity -- almost 60 billion kilowatt-hours each year. As world population grows, the food processing industry must grow to meet market demand for safe, adequate food sources while complying with stringent environmental and safety regulations.

To address these issues and remain competitive, food processors are exploring beneficial electrotechnologies. EPRI’s Food Technology Center helps electric utilities retain and attract food processing customers. In turn, food processors are helped during this time of food industry R&D downsizing.

What is EPRI’s Food Technology Center (FTC)?
The FTC identifies, develops and deploys electric-based technologies and is a link between the food processing customer and the supporting electric utility.

Research and development of new electric-based technologies is directed by Donald Quass, Ph.D., at the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus

Outreach and implementation are managed by Barry Homler, Ph.D., at the Edison Industrial Systems Center in Toledo, Ohio. The two offices work together with food processors and utilities to deliver technologies that benefit both.

For more information:
Myron Jones, Manager, EPRI Food Technology Center, (415) 855-2993
Dr. Barry Homler, EPRI Food Technology Center, (419) 534-3713
Dr. Don Quass, EPRI Food Technology Center, (612) 624-7466
For media inquiries contact: Christine Hopf-Lovette,EPRI, (415) 855-2733

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Materials provided by Electric Power Research Institute. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Electric Power Research Institute. "Ozone Gets OK For Food Industry Use." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 1997. <>.
Electric Power Research Institute. (1997, June 12). Ozone Gets OK For Food Industry Use. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 22, 2017 from
Electric Power Research Institute. "Ozone Gets OK For Food Industry Use." ScienceDaily. (accessed May 22, 2017).