Want to Make Your Store’s Produce Safer and Last Longer?


Wow. Is it almost September already!? Things have been moving very fast for SMT lately, and I have been on the road traveling for much of the past month. Last week, we attended another tradeshow for clinical diagnostics in Washington, D.C. and met a lot of great people.

However, I wanted to write about something a little different this week. During my travels last week, I grew very tired of fast food and quick bites to eat. I decided to stop in at a grocery store along the way to see if I could grab some fresh fruit or vegetables or something that wasn’t steeped in grease.

What I found in the produce section was not very appealing. Much of the selection showed signs of spoilage. What this typically means is that there are microorganisms on the surface of the fruit or vegetable increasing the speed of spoilage. This is not only unattractive, but can also be unsafe. If consumers do not properly wash or rinse the products before eating, there is a possibility of foodborne illness. The good news is that there is a solution.

Making Food Safer

When produce reaches the supermarket, it has most likely gone through some sort of rinsing process. However, it can sometimes be hard to tell what that is. Was it peracetic acid? Was it just water? Was it some other chemical that I can’t pronounce the name of?

Although that is the case, stores can and should take further action to protect their produce from microorganisms, because even though it was probably washed, it can be hard to tell how effective it was. And further, how it’s been handled since then. Did the person who placed it in the display case wear gloves? Did someone touch it who just went to the bathroom and didn’t wash their hands?

In addition to handling, many stores have existing water lines in place in order to spray and spritz their produce. This can also help with appearance. But what many don’t know is that tons of microorganisms can be living inside of this system along with the water. Therefore, when they mist their selection, they are actually delivering a host of pathogens right to food.

Shelf Life of Food

Another important aspect in regards to fresh produce is shelf life. If the shelf life of the food is low, waste and costs are high. Stores must spend more money to get rid of old stuff, as well as transport and purchase new stuff. Therefore, the longer the food can stay in the display case, the less the store will spend.

The main reason food wouldn’t last as long as it should is increased spoilage due to those microorganisms I mentioned earlier. As pathogens on the surface eat, sleep, and multiply, they produce enzymes. These enzymes contribute to the breakdown of the structure of the produce, thus speeding up spoilage.

The Solution

As you can see, microorganisms present a double-edged sword. While they present a danger to humans via foodborne illness, they also contribute to spoilage. Selective Micro Technologies has a solution that will greatly reduce the population of pathogens on the surface on fruits and vegetables, as well as in the existing water lines.

SMT’s pure chlorine dioxide is approved as an antimicrobial rinse for fresh produce, according to the United States Food and Drug Administration Food Contact Notification 645. This FCN states that our ClO₂ can be applied to produce surfaces as an antimicrobial wash, with no needed potable water rinse. Our pure ClO₂ is also approved as an antimicrobial to control the buildup of microbes in produce process water.

To learn more about how SMT’s pure chlorine dioxide can extend the shelf life and appearance of your fruits and vegetables, please visit our website at Selectivemicro.com, or contact me, Zach, at zdevier@selectivemicro.com.

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