Fruit and vegetable disinfection

Why is fruit and vegetable preservation so important?

How can we increase the shelf life of fruit and vegetables?

In the UK, over 2 million tonnes of fresh produce is lost or wasted each year in the supply chain alone.

2 million tonnes! That is the equivalent weight of:

  •  The average body weight of 25,714,285 people
  • 166,666 empty double decker buses
  • 5,398 Boeing 747 airplanes

That is an unbelievable amount of fruit and vegetable wastage.  These figures represent the supply chain only; this doesn’t take into account the amount thrown out by households each year

Adding just one additional day to the life of fresh produce would save the UK 250,000 tonnes of food waste this equates too £500 million pounds annually.

How does this happen?

Why is there so much spoilage before the produce hits the shops? Contamination can take place during any stage of a crops life;

  • Harvesting
  • Handling
  • Cleaning
  • Transportation
  • Storage
Fruit and vegetable waste

When fruit and vegetables get damaged or bruised, bacteria starts to grow.

How is fresh produce cleaned at the moment?

At the point of harvest, fruit and vegetables are cleaned with chlorine however chlorine is ineffective, unsafe and increasingly being banned by various governments.

ESOL (electrolyzed water) is as effective, if not more effective than chlorine at killing harmful bacteria but it is also completely safe to consume

Related content: Drinking water approval - is ESOL safe?

How can we help you?

An ESOL system allows processors to produce an electrolyzed water disinfectant on their own site using nothing more than tap water, salt and a small amount of electricity which is then fogged directly onto harvested produce.

  • ESOL extends the life of produce by one day or more. by effectively eliminating microbes
  • ESOL is completely safe to the handler, to the consumer and to the environment
  • ESOL costs less than 1 pence per litre to produce compared to 50 pence per litre for chlorine

Our project

In 2013 Bridge Biotechnology embarked on a project with a number of partners:

The project was Funded by DEFRA (Department of Environment, Food and Rural affairs) through the Technology Strategy Board.

The aim of this project was to:

  • Improve commercial practices
  • Maintain produce quality
  • Reduce waste within the food supply chain

Our product ESOL was delivered using fogging technology to fresh fruit and vegetables.  This approach reduces the presence of microorganisms capable of causing food borne diseases, increasing food safety.

ESOL was chosen for this project specifically due to the solution ultimately reverting to salt and water after use.

An additional advantage  of using ESOL was its compatibility with wide-spread use. Spraying and fogging ESOL has the benefits of a surface disinfectant within industry processes.

JW European and Smartleaf™

We have worked with baby leaf producers JW European creating Smartleaf.

Their challenge was to make sure the leaves they plucked from the field were just as fresh when they arrived on their customers’ plate.

ESOL is fogged onto the leaves, cleaning them and ridding them of bacteria.  Baby leaves like spinach and rocket are more than 90% water.  By creating water droplets smaller than the holes in the leaves themselves, the technology keeps everything gently hydrated.

Since using ESOL (electrolyzed water) on their harvested produce, then rocket sales have increased by 29% and Lidls have this month (May 2018) extended their ‘Best Before’ date…by one day.

Adding just one additional day to the life of fresh produce would save the UK 250,000 tonnes of food waste this equates too £500 million pounds annually.

Do you want to know more? We would love to hear from you