Submitted to: Journal of Food Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/20/2012
Publication Date: 5/1/2012
Citation: Fratamico, P.M., Juneja, V.K., Annous, B.A., Rasanayagam, V., Sundar, M., Braithwaite, D., Fisher, S. 2012. Application of ozonated dry ice (AligalTM Blue Ice) for packaging and transport in the food industry. Journal of Food Science. 77(5):M285-M291. Interpretive Summary: Preventing food-borne diseases continues to be a major public health challenge in the U.S. and worldwide. Campylobacter is a leading cause of bacterial food-borne illness, and poultry is the most important vehicle of infection. Even after proper processing steps have been taken, food products can become contaminated during packaging and transport. Dry ice is a universally known refrigerant, and ozone is a well known wide spectrum antimicrobial agent. A new product known as ALIGALTM Blue Ice (ABI) incorporates ozone in dry ice pellets, combining the high cooling capacity of dry ice pellets and the antimicrobial efficacy of ozone. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial efficacy of ABI compared to dry ice under potential commercial conditions and during transportation and storage, specifically examining the impact on air-borne, surface, moisture, and food contamination. Challenge studies were performed using different microorganisms, including Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, and Listeria, which are relevant to food safety. ABI showed a significant level of reduction of bacteria during air-borne contamination, on chicken breast, on contact surfaces, and in liquid. Considering the stability of ozone, ease of use, and antimicrobial efficacy against food-borne pathogens, our results suggest that ABI is a better alternative, especially for meat and poultry processors, as compared to dry ice. Further, ABI can serve as an additional processing hurdle to guard against pathogens during processing, transportation, distribution, and/or storage.
Technical Abstract: The effect of ozone contained in dry ice pellets (ALIGALTM Blue Ice; ABI) was investigated for microbial reduction in air, and on food contact surfaces and meat products. Dry ice is used by meat and poultry processors for temperature reduction during processing and for temperature maintenance during transportation. ABI combines the antimicrobial effect of ozone (O3) along with the high cooling capacity of dry ice to address food safety related issues mainly during transportation and storage. Through proprietary means, O3 was introduced to produce dry ice pellets to a concentration of 20 parts per million (ppm) by total weight. The ABI sublimation rate was similar to that of dry ice pellets under identical conditions, and ABI was able to hold the O3 concentration throughout the normal shelf life of the product. Challenge studies were performed using different microorganisms, including Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella, and Listeria critical to food safety. ABI showed significant (p < 0.05) microbial reduction during bioaerosol contamination (up to 5-log reduction of E. coli and Listeria), on chicken breast (1.3-log reduction of C. jejuni), on contact surfaces (ca. 3.9 log reduction of C. jejuni) and in liquid (2-log reduction of C. jejuni). Considering the stability of O3, ease of use, and antimicrobial efficacy against food-borne pathogens, our results suggest that ABI is a better alternative, especially for meat and poultry processors, as compared to dry ice. Further, ABI can serve as an additional processing hurdle to guard against pathogens during processing, transportation, distribution, and/or storage.