Author(s): Hricova D, Stephan R, Zweifel C
Electrolyzed water (EW) is gaining popularity as a sanitizer in the food industries of many countries. By electrolysis, a dilute sodium chloride solution dissociates into acidic electrolyzed water (AEW), which has a pH of 2 to 3, an oxidationreduction potential of >1,100 mV, and an active chlorine content of 10 to 90 ppm, and basic electrolyzed water (BEW), which has a pH of 10 to 13 and an oxidation-reduction potential of -800 to -900 mV. Vegetative cells of various bacteria in suspension were generally reduced by >6.0 log CFU/ml when AEW was used. However, AEW is a less effective bactericide on utensils, surfaces, and food products because of factors such as surface type and the presence of organic matter. Reductions of bacteria on surfaces and utensils or vegetables and fruits mainly ranged from about 2.0 to 6.0 or 1.0 to 3.5 orders of magnitude, respectively. Higher reductions were obtained for tomatoes. For chicken carcasses, pork, and fish, reductions ranged from about 0.8 to 3.0, 1.0 to 1.8, and 0.4 to 2.8 orders of magnitude, respectively. Considerable reductions were achieved with AEW on eggs. On some food commodities, treatment with BEW followed by AEW produced higher reductions than did treatment with AEW only. EW technology deserves consideration when discussing industrial sanitization of equipment and decontamination of food products. Nevertheless, decontamination treatments for food products always should be considered part of an integral food safety system. Such treatments cannot replace strict adherence to good manufacturing and hygiene practices.