Tom Daniel, vice president and general manager of Sterilox’s food safety division, said the Sterilox system was created for use in the medical community as an alternative to harsh or abrasive chemicals.

“The company was looking at different areas, including the food business,” he said. “We realized that the retail and foodservice levels were kind of being ignored when it came to that part of the process.”

That part of the process involves washing and sterilizing fresh fruit, vegetables and equipment to kill pathogens and organisms causing spoilage. Sterilox uses a generator that takes simple water softener salt and puts it through a water electrolysis process, making two solutions: one with a low pH and the other with a high pH. Those solutions are combined to make a safe, nontoxic solution with a neutral pH.

Daniel said Sterilox has been working with several retailers during the past year, using the generators to treat produce in prep rooms and on the shelf. Daniel said the generator can be hooked up to a store’s misting system to clean it out and treat the produce at the same time.

Though it is primarily used for lettuce and other greens, Daniel said some retailers have tested the system on cut fruit and found that it extended shelf life.

“They worked cantaloupes, honeydew and pineapple,” he said. “They cut them and cubed them, then they dipped one load in water and another in Sterilox. After five days, the product that was treated with water was mush, and the Sterilox product looked like the day they cut it.”

Daniel said Sterilox also can be used in recrisping lettuce and other greens. They can be taken off the shelf, washed in the Sterilox solution, then placed back on the shelf. Daniel said this process has reduced the number of times retailers need to do this in a given week.

The process also has applications in the foodservice industry and can be used to sterilize cutting equipment as well as food.

The generators are available in a variety of sizes. The A-2000 model measures two feet by and less than three feet. Daniel said it fits under most sinks.

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