Fresh produce has been recognised as a healthy food, thus there is increasing consumer demand for fresh fruit and vegetables. The shelf-life of fresh produce, however, is relatively short and is limited by microbial contamination or visual, textural and nutritional quality loss. There are many methods to reduce/eliminate microorganisms present in food and ozone treatment is one of them. The use of ozone by the fresh produce industry is a good alternative to chemical treatments, e.g. the use of chlorine. The effectiveness of ozone as an antimicrobial agent has previously been reviewed and has been updated here, with the latest findings. The main focus of this review is on the effects of ozone on the fresh produce quality, defined by maintenance of texture, visual quality, taste and aroma, and nutritional content. Furthermore, ozone has been found to be efficient in reducing pesticide residues from the produce. The treatments that have the ability to reduce microbial contamination of the product without having an adverse effect on its visual, textural and nutritional quality can be recommended and subsequently incorporated into the supply chain. A good understanding of all the benefits and limitations related to the use of ozone is needed, and relevant information has been reviewed in this paper.
Keywords: fresh produce; ozone; quality and safety; sensory evaluation; storage.
© 2014 Society of Chemical Industry.