Ozone and its current and future application in the food industry

Adv Food Nutr Res. 2003:45:167-218. doi: 10.1016/s1043-4526(03)45005-5.


The food industry is interested considerably in using ozone to enhance the shelf-life and safety of food products and in exploring new applications of the sanitizer. This interest was recently accompanied by a US governmental approval of ozone for the safe use, in gaseous and aqueous phases, as an antimicrobial agent on food, including meat and poultry. Ozone has a strong microbicidal action against bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses when these microorganisms are present in low ozone-demand media. Readily available organic constituents in food, however, compete with microorganisms for applied ozone and thus efficacy of the treatment is minimized. Ozone is suitable for washing and sanitizing solid food with intact and smooth surfaces (e.g., fruits and vegetables) and ozone-sanitized fresh produce has recently been introduced in the US market. Use of ozone to sanitize equipment, packaging materials, and processing environment is currently investigated. Efforts to decontaminate bean sprouts and remove biofilm with ozone have not been successful. The antimicrobial efficacy can be enhanced considerably when ozonation is combined with other chemical (e.g., hydrogen peroxide) or physical (e.g., ultraviolet radiation) treatments. Mechanical action is also needed as a means to dislodge microorganisms from the surface of food and expose them to the action of the sanitizer. The food industry also is interested in using ozone to decontaminate processing water and decrease its chemical and biological oxygen demand. This application improves the reusability of processing water and allows for environment-friendly processing operations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Food Microbiology*
  • Food Preservation / methods
  • Food Technology*
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ozone* / adverse effects
  • Ozone* / chemistry
  • Ozone* / pharmacology
  • Temperature
  • Viruses / drug effects


  • Ozone