Fish and seafood processing plants have traditionally used large quantities of chlorine in aqueous solutions to preserve the product. The method involves submerging or directly spraying the fish or seafood with the solution.
Chlorine use in the preservation and processing of seafood is however an ineffective method of controlling bacterial growth, which results in poor shelf life of seafood. Bacteria is responsible for food spoilage, and without a proper way to control their growth, they can seriously limit the shelf life and consequently the shipping radius, storage in transit and export of the affected product.
Because of the limitations of chlorine, including the inadvertent exposure of the consuming public to the potentially harmful effects of this chemical, seafood processing plants are increasingly shifting away from chlorine use in favor of ozone.
Ozone, the second most powerful oxidant comprised of three oxygen atoms can be dissolved into water and used to wash seafood to reduce bacteria and extend shelf-life of fresh seafood.
As a potent oxidant, aqueous ozone causes a reaction called oxidative burst that perforates the cell wall of bacteria causing them to die. Ozonized water is therefore an extremely effective means of reducing and eliminating bacterial pathogens in maricultural facilities and extending the shelf life of marine food products.
Many countries have strict requirements including zero tolerance for particular types of bacteria. This makes the reduction in bacteria count a major aim in the seafood processing across the industry.
Seafood processing plants therefore maximize the use of aqueous ozone to keep bacteria count at a minimum. This involves using ozone infused water not only to wash the food product but also to clean receiving docks, cutting tables, conveyors, floors and the rest of the seafood processing equipment.
Ozone gas can also be used to reduce disease-causing Vibrio sp. bacteria in shrimp, thus increasing the survival rates of larval shrimp.
Ozone gas can be dissolved in water using an Ozone Injection System, then frozen in that solution form with an ice making machine to produce ozonated ice.
Gaseous ozone is normally unstable and readily reverts to oxygen when left in its gaseous form. In the form of ozonated ice however, ozone can be stored within the ice and be used in seafood preservation and storage, prolonging the shelf-life of the product and maintain its fresher, better looking state that appeals to the end user.
Many seafood processors and fish farms today use ozonated ice for all their storage needs, as ozonated ice provides a convenient means of prolonging the shelf-life of marine food products.
Early research in the commercial fish industry showed up to 33-percent extension in shelf-life of fresh fish stored on ozonated ice in comparison with ice produced in the traditional way from normal water in the hulls of fishing vessels.
The use of ozonated ice for fish preservation and storage in fishing vessels has become a popular method of maintaining the highest quality of fish. Such fish preserved with ozonated ice tend to garner the highest possible price for any fresh fish products.
Ozone ice is quite handy at sea where fishing vessels can sometimes take weeks before docking. During those prolonged stays out at sea, it is imperative that the fish and seafood harvested be properly preserved so they can be as fresh and comparable in quality as the those caught near the end of the voyage. In this regard, ozonated ice comes in as a great solution for these storage needs.