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3 Water Treatment Technology Developments Leading Disinfection in the Food industry


No food production company wants to find themselves in a situation where there has been a case or cases of food poisoning from their products, or have to recall their products due to improper disinfection, as this will have major legal and financial repercussions.

The manufacture, cleaning, and processing of food must all be done with water that has been adequately treated and disinfected, according to exacting rules established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Along with providing clean food and drink, the businesses also need to guarantee that they follow the cGMP standards everywhere. In this article we will be looking at 3 disinfection techniques that are used in the food industry and the different applications where they are most effective.

Which technologies are most effective in disinfection within the food industry?

UV Disinfection

In contemporary water treatment, UV radiation is a safe, chemical-free, and effective form of disinfection. UV is perfectly suited for water disinfection, as shown by scientific study and the numerous systems that are currently in use with great effectiveness.

UV technology doesn't require chemicals, which limits the by-product formations brought on by chemical additions and doesn't contribute any unpleasant flavors or odors to the liquid being treated. The systems are typically simple to install or retrofit to existing plants, and they are also a low-maintenance technology that frequently cuts down on engineering time and, consequently, operational expense.

Applications where UV Disinfection is used in the food industry:

  • Meat, fish, and poultry - UV lights are used in food sterilizing procedures at meat processing and packing facilities, such as on the conveyor belts that the meat travels along. Moreover, surfaces on containers and in meat packaging facilities are sterilized using UV radiation.

  • Dairy - UV light sterilization is common in the dairy sector, particularly when packaging fresh goods like milk, cheese, and yogurt. UV light enhances the health and safety of various food processing methods with UV wavelengths, just as pasteurization enhances the health and safety of milk. While being extremely effective at preserving dairy products and guaranteeing they are free of dangerous germs and viruses, UV light doe not replace pasteurization, which employs heat.

  • Liquid sugar tanks - must be sterilized or pasteurized in order to preserve the quality of the stored goods. These tanks store liquid sugar as well as other sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and even water. The quality of these substances, which are frequently kept in tanks, is frequently preserved by UV light.

  • Drinks - The beverage sector uses UVC germicidal lights to enhance the quality of juices and bottled water. Sterilized products and packaging are further ensured by UV treatment of shipping containers and lids.

  • The frozen food business benefits from UV food sterilization systems since they help to reduce the possibility of dangerous germs and improve food quality and safety. UV light enhances the quality and shelf life of many frozen food items by treating the food right before packaging as well as the containers.

Disinfection Capabilities

Systems using UV disinfection are effective against a variety of microorganisms, including pathogens that may survive without chlorine, including cryptosporidium. It is an excellent method for dealing with microbial populations that are resistant to chemicals and heat, and it is also efficient and effective, which lowers capital costs.

Case Study - Disinfection of Sugar Syrup

One instance where UV Disinfection has proven effective in the food industry is an application where the system was used to disinfect sugar syrup.

The DULCODES LP TL UV system can disinfect up to 36 m3/h of sugar syrup. The system uses an optimized flow with mixing zones in the thin-film reactors for optimum radiation of liquids.

UV disinfection is especially useful when working with viscous media that have a low UV transmission of up to 20%/cm. UV disinfection uses ultraviolet light to disinfect water... more in the glossary saves energy and costs and can replace pasteurisation. Heat-resistant spores can be eliminated up to 99.99%, which is typically not possible with pasteurization. UV treatment with the DULCODES LP TL system has no negative impact on the sugar syrup's quality, taste, or appearance.

Ozone Disinfection

In situations where residual disinfection is not necessary, ozone has proven to be a reliable alternative to other disinfection agents.

Oxygen and electricity combine to generate an extremely potent antibacterial agent. Ozone has been used to disinfect drinking water for well over a century. It is produced from oxygen via electrolysis, which is a high-frequency quiet electrical discharge. The ozone needed for disinfection can be produced naturally using only air and power by ozone generator systems, which are simple to install and run.

Benefits of Ozone Disinfection:

  • It only requires oxygen or air for its production.

  • It is faster and better at killing microbes than chlorine.

  • It is a non-thermal way to control pathogens and microbes in food processing.

  • It is a non-chemical alternative for treating water and sanitizing food contact surfaces.

  • It can save money because water does not have to be heat treated

  • It is compatible with organic food processing.

  • It can be generated onsite, so no storage or transport is required.

  • It leaves no residues in food or water.

  • It can be applied in an aqueous or gaseous state.

Case Study - Listeria is no match for Ozone

In a batch reactor, Listeria monocytogenes was shown to be affected by dissolved ozone in a study from the late 1990s[2]. Within 30 seconds, dissolved ozone at 0.4 and 0.8 mg/l inactivated 4.6 and 5.7 log CFU/ml, respectively. A subsequent study showed that the bacterium was immediately rendered inactive at greater dissolved ozone concentrations. Ozone is used in various applications to make the disinfection process easier while still providing a quantifiable and efficient solution.

A Prominent Solution

Ozone generators OZONFILT OZMa are pressurized systems in which the feed gas, air, is forced into the ozone generator. The feed gas in the ozone system OZONFILT OZMaA type 1 to 6 is air.

The ozone is produced from the oxygen in the surrounding air and metered at the same time. A demand-driven, self-optimizing pressure swing dryer uses as little compressed air as possible. Ozone concentrations of up to 20 g/Nm3 can thus be generated safely and reliably even with high levels of ambient air humidity. Depending on the temperature, ozone concentrations of 3 to 12 ppm can be achieved in the treated water using the appropriate mixing equipment.

Chlorine Dioxide

Chlorine dioxide, which has been approved by the EPA for potable water applications and the FDA for use as a disinfectant in the food processing industry, is the ideal solution to many problems encountered when cleaning and sanitizing products, surfaces, and water. It not only has a lower environmental impact, but it also destroys and prevents the formation of biofilms, which is one of the most difficult challenges for food processing plants.

Bello Zon CDKd chlorine dioxide system treats medium to large volumes of water with concentrated chemicals.

There is an intrinsically safe pre-dilution station for concentrated hydrochloric acid in the chlorine dioxide system. Hydrochloric acid consumption can thus be automatically adapted on-site to the individual operating conditions using a patent-pending process.

The system control provides impressive and user-friendly menu navigation and ensures precise chlorine dioxide production.

Case study: CLO2 For disinfection of total incoming water

Almost 130,000 tonnes of milk are processed annually in the dairy "Milchwerk Crailsheim-Dinkelsbühl eG" by its 160 employees, who primarily make delicious cheeses. Yet, the significant volume of fresh water required for many applications, such as centrifuge rinsing, was always a negative aspect. Also, the dairy used to disinfect itself with 800 liters of peracetic acid each month. The dairy is now attempting to reduce costs for fresh and waste water as well as disinfection chemicals by reusing the vapour water produced during manufacturing.

The vapour water is cleaned with a ProMinent BelloZon® CDLb chlorine dioxide system. In addition to being a highly powerful disinfectant, chlorine dioxide promotes the dissolution of biofilms in pipes. The chlorine dioxide system creates a stock solution of up to 1,000 ppm from diluted hydrochloric acid and sodium chlorite, which is then momentarily kept in the tank of the storage module.


In this article we covered the technology that can help you with the disinfection challenges and provided you with case studies that showed the clear benefits of using UV, Ozone and Chlorine Dioxide as an effective combatant of microorganisms.

There are many ways to ensure a safe and clean food production process and water always plays a central role in this. Contact our industry expert Greta on 011 323 5000 or to discuss challenges and how Prominent can support you in a high quality food production.

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