Can Ozone be used in Food Processing and Storage?

Food processing and storage requires strong care and attention to hygiene. Ozone is a natural solution to disinfect and sanitize not only any storage, but packages and food itself, assuring that what comes to our table remains free of harmful microorganisms.

Learn more about how ozone can play an important part in assuring the quality of our food scrolling down!

Nowadays, the consumer demand for high quality packaged products is increasing.

Safer, healthier, higher quality, and less processed foods are currently the main challenges faced for the manufacture of food products. This is true for both the consumer and food service markets. Ozone is the solution for this concern.

Ozonated water for washing and producing disinfection exceeds the traditional methods that leave residual chemicals and impart of bad smell and flavor. Also, the traditional method affects the quality of foods such as loss of original flavor, taste, appearance, color and nutritional quality.

In response to consumer demands for ‘greener’ food, the interest in ozone has expanded in the recent years, because of its oxidizing properties that contribute to the improvement of safety and quality of food products during all stages of food processing and storage.

Ozone is effective against several kinds of microorganisms on fruits, vegetables, meat, grains and seafood. It is known as a biocide against virus, bacteria, biofilms, fungi and protozoa, destroying them by oxidation.

It is about 50% stronger than chlorine, and thus is characterized by a broad spectrum of antibacterial activities. The bactericidal effects of ozone have been confirmed on a wide variety of microorganisms, including Gram-positive and Gram-negative ones, as well as bacterial spores

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How does it work?

Ozone is a safe, extremely vigorous disinfectant and oxidizer, that can be used to control and eliminate biological growth of unwanted organisms in food or even in the equipment used in the food processing industries.

Furthermore, with ozone it is impossible for a microorganism to build up any resistance to oxidation.

It is generated on-site, no need to handle or mix chemicals for sanitation. Excess ozone auto decomposes rapidly in oxygen and thus leaves no residues in foods from its decomposition.

Ozone treatment assures the sensory, nutritional and physicochemical characteristics of food remain. Furthermore, ozone extends food shelf-life and removes undesirable odors.

The treatment conditions should be specifically determined, following the safety standards and the right levels, for effective and safe use of ozone in all kinds of products in food processing and storage processes.

During food processing operations, surface disinfection and the food storage of the raw commodities is very important, too.

Ozone can be applied in storage spaces and surfaces, eliminating all microorganisms that it encounters: bacteria, virus and fungi.

With regulatory approval, ozone has become the best eco-friendly environmental option, at the same time that it is the best choice for cost-effectively disinfecting food.

The application of ozone improves the microbiological safety of food products and extends their shelf-life without changing their nutritional, chemical, and physical properties.

This process provides the company with a greater assurance of food safety and, substantially reduces the plant’s water usage.

Ozone Action depending on Stored Products:

  • Meat – Meat refrigeration and freezing contributes to the inhibition of the activity of germs and molds present on its surface, however, as they are not eliminated, they recover their infectious and reproductive capacity when the meat is again exposed to room temperature. The ozonation of the meat industry’s conservation chambers guarantees the elimination and prevention of the development of all types of germs and molds, guaranteeing the total sterilization of the meat, keeping it free of bacteria capable of causing infections harmful to health (such as Listeria,Salmonella and E.Coli, among many others). Ozone will allow a reduction in losses due to deterioration and meat that is softer, more tender, cleaner and with a longer shelf life.

  • Fish Refrigeration and freezing of fish is not enough to guarantee its total asepsis. Low temperatures contribute to delay the development of microbes and enzymes present on the surface of the product or in the chambers themselves, however, when the cold chain is broken and the fish is exposed again to room temperature (or even in an uncovered cold bench), these microorganisms recover their reproductive capacity, increasing the chances of food putrefaction and even cause illness in the final consumer. Fish tends to host bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, E.coli, Shigella, Botunlinum, among others, potentially harmful to health and is characterized by releasing strong and unpleasant odors. The application of ozone in the refrigerated chambers of the fishing industry allows the elimination of all microorganisms present on the surface of the fish, as well as in the chamber itself, guaranteeing food safety and considerably increasing the time that the product remains in good condition. Ozone directly attacks the molecules that cause odors, fighting them at the root and thus achieving complete deodorization, reducing ammonia emissions, stabilizing the pH and extending the shelf life of the fish.

  • Fruits and vegetables – The safest way to prolong the shelf life of fruits and vegetables while preserving all their organoleptic characteristics (color, brightness, odor, texture and flavor) after harvesting is to control ethylene production and ensure absence of pathogenic microorganisms and chemical residues both on the surface and in the food. Ethylene is the natural ripening hormone of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables produce ethylene naturally after being separated from the plant, that is, in the post-harvest phase. Overexposure to ethylene produces great physiological deterioration in fruits and vegetables. Due to the use of ozone, ethylene levels can be controlled, delaying the natural ripening of fruits and vegetables. Ozone naturally oxidizes ethylene, giving rise to ethylene oxide, an antimicrobial compound. On the other hand, ozone also manages, thanks to its biocide property, to leave all fruits and vegetables free of pathogens and chemical residues. In this sense, gaseous ozone is a powerful complement for conservation in post-harvest refrigerated chambers.

  • Eggs – In the refrigerated chambers of the egg industry, contamination caused by fungi is likely to appear, as they require considerable humidity for their conservation. However, an adequate application of ozone inside the chambers prevents the appearance of mold, constituting an effective solution even when there is high humidity. By preventing fungi that alter the eggs, the preservation of their initial organoleptic characteristics (color, brightness, odor, texture and flavor) is guaranteed, that is, their weight and size, as well as their taste.

  • Cheese In the process of curing cheese, it is necessary to maintain a high level of relative humidity, between 80 and 97%, thus making it prone to the appearance of mold on its surface, impairing its final appearance, since it they have to be washed and/or scraped off. The application of ozone in the conservation and maturation chambers prevents the appearance of mold, reducing weight loss and the use of labor in washing and scraping the cheeses. In addition, ozone also eliminates odors, preventing the impregnation of odors between different cheeses.

Results of Ozone Application on Bacteria & Virus

Tested Organism
Ozone (ppm)
% of Survival
Tested Organism
Ozone (ppm)
% of Survival
S. salivarius
10 minutes
Elford & van de Eude (1942)|
8 minutes
de Mik (1977)
S. epidermis
4 minutes
Heindel et al. (1993)|
poliovirus 1
6 minutes
Harakeh & Butler (1985)
B. subtilis
1.5 minutes
Botzenhart et al. (1993)|
2 minutes
Roy et al. (1982)
E. coli
10 seconds
Katzenelson & Shuval (1973)|
8 seconds
Katzenelson et al. (1979)
30 seconds
Finch et al. (1988)|NDV (Newcastle disease virus)
6 minutes & 57 seconds
Perez-Rey (1995)
62 seconds
Bunning & Hempel (1995)|Enterobacteria phage T2
1 minute & 10 seconds
Katzenelson (1973)
15 seconds
Burleson et al. (1975)|Bacteriophage T7
4 minutes
Lockowitz (1973)
S. typhimurium
36 seconds
Farooq et al. (1983)|rotavirus SA-11
10 seconds
Vaughn et al. (1987)
S. aureus
15 seconds
Burleson et al. (1975)|Hepatitis A
5 seconds
Hall & Sobsey (1993)
Source: W. J. Kowalski, W. P. Bahnfleth and T. S. Whittam2; “Bactericidal Effects of High Airborne Ozone Concentrations on Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus“; Article in Ozone: Science and Engineering · August 1998


  • The most powerful oxidizer available;

  • Eliminates germs, bacteria, virus and microorganisms;

  • Controls and destroys microbes;

  • Disinfects and preserves fruits and vegetables;

  • Reduce pesticide levels on fresh products;

  • Reduce the amount of chemical oxygen demand (COD) and biological oxygen demand (BOD) of water used in washing and processing;

  • Eliminates mold from the area dedicated to cold storage;

  • Maintains the storage sanitation inhibiting the pathogen agents;

  • Reduces the risk of cross-contamination of pathogens;

  • Extends the validity period of the product (fruits, vegetables);

  • Improves product quality;

  • Controls bad smell;

  • No chemical storage required;

  • No harmful chemical residual left and does not affect the taste or smell of stored food;

  • Ozone largely eliminates mycotoxins and pathogens;

  • According with FDA, Ozone is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in food processing;

  • Eco-friendly and economically feasible technology;

  • Environmentally friendly disinfectant;

  • Save water usage;

  • The cost of the equipment is recovered in a short period of time.

Scientific Articles

Published: 2023

EMMANUEL I. EPELLE, ANDREW MACFARLANE, MICHAEL CUSACK, ANTHONY BURNS, JUDE A. OKOLIE, WILLIAM MACKAY, MOSTAFA RATEB, MOHAMMED YASEEN | February 15th | Ozone application in different industries: A review of recent developments

Published: 2021


STEFANOS TESTEMPASIS, GEORGIA TANOU, IOANNIS MINAS, MARTINA SAMIOTAKI, ATHANASSIOS MOLASSIOTIS, GEORGIOS KARAOGLANIDIS | March 10th | Unraveling Interactions of the Necrotrophic Fungal Species Botrytis cinerea With 1-Methylcyclopropene or Ozone-Treated Apple Fruit Using Proteomic Analysis

JIEWEN GUAN, ALISON LACOMBE, BHARGAVI RANEL, JUMING TANG, SHYAM SABLANI, VIVIAN C. H. WU | 2021 | A Review: Gaseous Interventions for Listeria monocytogenes Control in Fresh Apple Cold Storage

Published: 2020

GIUSEPPINA MOCCIA, FRANCESCO DE CARO, CONCETTA PIRONTI, GIOVANNI BOCCIA, MARIO CAPUNZO, ANNA BORRELI, ORIANA MOTA | October 30th | Development and Improvement of an Effective Method for Air and Surfaces Disinfection with Ozone Gas as a Decontaminating Agent

FELIPE AGOSTINI, MELISSA FACCINI, FRANCISCO FITARELLI & OTHERS | October 1st | In Vitro Comparison of Antibacterial Effect of Ozonated Water and Ozonated Gas

Published: 2019

ANNA MARIA VETTRAINO, VITTORIO VINCIGUERRA, GIULIA PACINI, ROBERTO FORNITI, VALENTINA GOFFI, RINALDO BOTONDI | November 12th | Gaseous Ozone as a Suitable Solution for Postharvest Chestnut Storage: Evaluation of Quality Parameter Trends

OSVALDO P. S. NETO, ELAINE V. S. PINTO, MÁRCIO A. OOTANI, JOEL L. S. JUNIOR, JÂNIA L. S.B.LIMA, ALINE E. D. SOUSA | August | Ozone slows down anthracnose and increases shelf life of papaya fruits


FABIO MASOTTI, LISA VALLONE, SILVIA RANZINI, TIZIANA SILVETTI, STEFANO MORANDI, MILENA BRASCA | March | Effectiveness of air disinfection by ozonation or hydrogen peroxide aerosolization in dairy environments

MARCUS V. A. SILVA, MÁRCIO A. MARTINS, LEDA R. D’ANTONINO FARONI, JAIME D. B. VANEGAS, ADALBERTO H. SOUSA | March | CFD modelling of diffusive-reactive transport of ozone gas in rice grains

Published: 2018

ADRIANO C. CAMARGO, ANDRÉS R. SCHWEMBER, ROBERTO PARADA, SANDRA GARCIA, MÁRIO ROBERTO MARÓSTICA JÚNIOR, MARCELO FRANCHIN, MARISA A. B. REGITANO-D’ARCE, FEREIDOON SHAHIDI | November 6th | Opinion on the Hurdles and Potential Health Benefits in Value-Added Use of Plant Food Processing By-Products as Sources of Phenolic Compounds

R. PANDISELVAM, S. SUBHASHINI, E. P. BANUU PRIYA, ANJINEYULU KOTHAKOTA, S. V. RAMESH, S. SHAHIR | July 17th | Ozone based food preservation: a promising green technology for enhanced food safety

FRANCESCO CRAVERO, VASILEIOS ENGLEZOS, KALLIOPI RANTSIOU, FABRIZIO TORCHIO, SIMONE GIACOSA, SUSANA RÍO SEGADE, VINCENZO GERBI, LUCA ROLLE, LUCA COCOLIN | June | Control of Brettanomyces bruxellensis on wine grapes by post-harvest treatments with electrolyzed water, ozonated water and gaseous ozone

E. VlLASSI, P. VLACHOS, M. KOMAROS | March 19th| Effect of ozonation on table grapes preservation in cold storage

FABIO MASOTTI, LISA VALLONE, SILVIA RANZINI, TIZIANA SILVETTI, STEFANO MORANDI, MILENA BRASCA | March | Effectiveness of air disinfection by ozonation or hydrogen peroxide aerosolization in dairy environments

Published: 2017

ROMENIQUE S. FREITAS, LÊDA R. D’ANTONINO FARONI, M. ELIANA L. R. DE QUEIROZ, FERNANDA F. HELENO, LUCAS H. F. PRATES | December | Degradation kinetics of pirimiphos-methyl residues in maize grains exposed to ozone gas

AGNIESZKA JOANNA BRODOWSKA, AGNIESZKA NOWAK, KRYSZTOF SMIGIELSKI | July 6th | Ozone in the food industry: Principles of ozone treatment, mechanisms of action, and applications: An overview

M. MARTINELLI, F. GIOVANNANGELI, S. ROTUNNO, C. M. TROMBETTA, E. MONTOMOLI | March | Water and air ozone treatment as an alternative sanitizing technology

RAFFAELE GUZZON, MNFRED BERNARD, CHIARA BARNABA, DANIELA BERTOLDI, KONRAD PIXNER, ROBERTO LARCHER | February 15th | The impact of different barrel sanitation approaches on the spoilage microflora and phenols composition of wine

Published: 2016

NIKOS TZORTZAKIS, ANTONIOS CHRYSARGYRIS | June 17th | Postharvest ozone application for the preservation of fruits and vegetables

LÁSZLÓ VARGA, JENÖ SZIGETI | April 3rd | Use of ozone in the dairy industry: A review

Published: 2015

RINALDO BOTONDI, FEDERICA DE SANCTIS, NICCOLÒ MOSCATELLI, ANNA MARIA VTTRAINO, CESARE CATELLI, FABIO MENCARELLI | December 1st | Ozone fumigation for safety and quality of wine grapes in postharvest dehydration

T. YASEEN, A. RICELLI, B. TURAN, P. ALBANESE, A. M. D’ONGHIA | April 12th | Ozone for post-harvest treatment of apple fruits

SHEYA WANI, JAGPREET K. MAER, JOSEPH R. THOMPSON, JEREMY BARNES, IAN SINGLETON | March 26th | Effect of Ozone Treatment on Inactivation of Escherichia coli and Listeria sp. on Spinach

GEOVANA D. SAVI, KARIM C. PIACENTINI, VILDES M. SCUSSEL | March | Reduction in residues of deltamethrin and fenitrothion on stored wheat grains by ozone gas

Published: 2014

RAVI SHANKAR, U. KAUSHIK, SHAYEEB AHMAD BHAT | June 5th | Food processing and preservation by ozonation

KEVIN T. HIGGINS | January 8th | Is Ozone The Next Sanitation Superstar?

A. NATHA, K. MUKHIMB, T. SWERB, DEBASHIS DUTTAA, N. VERMAA, B.C. DEKAB, B. GANGWARA | 2014 | A Review on Application of Ozone in the Food Processing and Packaging

Published: 2013

KRISTINE MARTINEZ, VINH LE, GOUR CHOUDHURY, AMANDA LATHROP | July 16th | Ozone Treatment of Defrost Water for In-Plant Reuse

FÁTIMA A. MILLER, CRISTINA L. M. SILVA, TERESA R. S. BRANDÃO | June | A Review on Ozone-Based Treatments for Fruit and Vegetables Preservation

HARRIET JARLETT, from PlanetEarth Online | May 29th | Ozone can protect fruit from decay for weeks after exposure, study finds

Published: 2012

FRED W. POHLMAN | February | Ozone in Meat Processing

PRABAKARAN M., TAMIL SELVI S., MERINAL S., PANNEERSELVAM A. | 2012 | Effect of ozonation on pathogenic bacteria

COLM O’DONNELL, BRIJESH K. TIWARI, P. J. CULLEN, RIP G. RICE | 2012 | Ozone in Food Processing

Published: 2011

DARIUSZ BIALOSZEWSKI, ANNA PIETRUCZUK-PADZIK, AGNIESZKA KALICINSKA, EWA BOCIAN, MAGDALENA CZAJKOWSKA, BOZENA BUKOWSKA, STEFAN TYSKI | November | Activity of ozonated water and ozone against Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms

WALTER J. BLOGOSLAWSKI, MARY E. STEWART | September 22nd | Some Ozone Applications in Seafood

P. G. BRAUN, N. FERNANDEZ, H. FUHRMANN | September 22nd | Investigations on the Effect of Ozone as a Disinfectant of Egg Surfaces

B. TORRES, B.K. TIWARI, A. PATRAS, HILDE H. WIJNGAARD, N. BRUNTON, P.J. CULLEN, C.P. O’DONNELL | 2011 | Effect of ozone processing on the colour, rheological properties and phenolic content of apple juice

Published: 2010

IOANNIS S. MINAS, GEORGE S. KARAOGLANIDIS, GEORGE A. MANGANARIS, MILTIADIS VASILAKAKIS | December | Effect of ozone application during cold storage of kiwifruit on the development of stem-end rot caused by Botrytis cinerea

LIZANEL FELICIANO, JAESUNG LEE, JOHN A. LOPES, MELVIN A. PASCALL | May 3rd | Efficacy of Sanitized Ice in Reducing Bacterial Load on Fish Fillet and in the Water Collected from the Melted Ice

BEHROUZ MOSAYEBI DEHKORDI, NEDA ZOKAIE | 2010 | Extension of Fish Shelf Life by Ozone Treatment

Published: 2009

ALEX AUGUSTO GONÇALVES | November-December | Ozone – an Emerging Technology for the Seafood Industry

JAMES B. HUDSON, MANJU SHARMA, SELVARANI VIMALANATHAN | May 27th | Development of a Practical Method for Using Ozone Gas as a Virus Decontaminating Agent

Published: 2008

GOVINDARAJ DEV KUMAR, ROBERT C WILLIAMS, SUSAN S SUMNER, JOSEPH D EIFERT | November 19th | Effect of Ozone and Ultraviolet Irradiation Treatments on Listeria monocytogenes Populations in Chill Brines

Published: 2007
Published: 2005

CARMEN A. CAMPOS, OSCAR RODRÍGUEZ, VANESA LOSADA, SANTIAGO P AUBOURG, JORGE BARROS-VELÁZQUEZ | August 25th | Effects of storage in ozonised slurry ice on the sensory and microbial quality of sardine (Sardina pilchardus)

Published: 2003

BIAN C. HAMPSON, STEVEN R. FIORI | 2003 | Application of Ozone in Food Processing Operations

Published: 2002

BENJAMAS THANOMSUB, VIPAVEE ANUPUNPISIT, SICHAI CHANPHECH, THANOMRAT WATCHARACHAIPONG | September | Effects of ozone treatment on cell growth and ultrastructural changes in bacteria

Scientists at the North Carolina State University | March 26th | Researchers Find New Use for Ozone — enhancing the freshness of seafood

LLUÍS PALOU, CARLOS H CRISOSTO, JOSEPH L SMILANICK, JAMES E ADASKAVEG, JUAN P ZOFFOLI | January | Effects of continuous 0.3 ppm ozone exposure on decay development and physiological responses of peaches and table grapes in cold storage

Published: 2000

JOAN M. KING, TERRY WALKER | Spring | Ozone: New Weapon for Fighting Food Hazards

CHRISTOPHER W. FISHER, DONGHA LEE, BETH-ANNE DODGE, KRISTEN M. HAMMAN, JUSTIN B. ROBBINS, SCOTT E. MARTIN | April | Influence of Catalase and Superoxide Dismutase on Ozone Inactivation of Listeria monocytogenes

SHIGEZO NAITO, ATSUKA SAWAIRI | 2000 | Ozone Inactivation of Lactic Acid Bacteria

Z. B. GUZEL-SEYDIM, J. T. WYFFELS, A. K. GREENE, A. B. BODINE | 2000 | Removal of Dairy Soil from Heated Stainless Steel Surfaces: Use of Ozonated Water as a Prerinse

Published: 1999
Published: 1998

US FDA (Food and Drug Administration – Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition) | April 13th | Guidance for Industry – Guide to Minimize Microbial Food Safety Hazards for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Published: 1997

ALLIANCE CONSULTING & MANAGEMENT | December | Use of Ozone in Meat Processing Premises – Literature Review

Published: 1995

US FDA (Food and Drug Administration – Department of Health and Human Services) | November 13th | Direct Food Substances Affirmed As Generally Recognized As Safe

Published: 1990

G. M. BROOKS, S. W. PIERCE | 1990 | Ozone Applications for Commercial Catfish Processing

Published: 1987

J. M. VAUGHN, Y. S. CHEN, K. LINDBURG, D. MORALES | September | Inactivation of Human and Simian Rotaviruses by Ozone

Published: 1983
Published: 1948

H.A. SCHOMER, L. P. MCCOLLOCH | January | Ozone in Relation to Storage of Apples

Published: Others

LAN SHEN-SAHN, ZHANG YOU-LIN, WANG RUO-YANG | Department of Food Engineering, Shaanxi Normal University, College of Life Science and Technology | Study on effect of ozone treatment on the storage quality of wheat

ITALY – Health Ministry | Scientific Validations of Ozone Use