Suppliers BOC and RGF Envir-onmental Group of West Palm Beach, Florida, have formed a strategic alliance to market ozone-based applications for treating e-coli, listeria, salmonella and other microbes.

Dennis Smithyman, BOC's vice president of global food markets, says the alliance got a boost a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruling in June that allows ozone for use as an anti-microbial agent in direct contact with food.

"The FDA approval provides food processors with a powerful anti-microbial oxidant which, when deployed correctly and safely, can be part of an effective and economical pathogen intervention strategy," Smithyman said. The ruling allows BOC to introduce ozonated water directly onto meat and poultry carcasses during the washing and chilling processes to increase the technology's anti-microbial efficacy. Other applications include fruits, vegetables and seafood.

Ozone is one of the most powerful oxidants known to science, reacting with both organic and inorganic substances. Although ozone can be produced using either pure oxygen or air, oxygen feed provides the most efficient, least costly method available.

Smithyman also says the alliance with RGF will complement an existing agreement BOC has with North America's leading ozone systems manufacturer, PCI-WEDECO, of West Caldwell, New Jersey, to develop and promote ozone-related technologies worldwide.