Food & Flavour

Clean eating benefits for chemical company

Specialist chemical manufacturer, Airedale Chemical, has seen a sharp increase in output of one of its key products in line with trends in the food industry. 

Across Europe there has been a growing move to use alternatives to chlorine washing in the Fresh Cut Fruit and Vegetables Industry (FFVI) which is reflected in gross output of the company’s peracetic acid (PAA) going up by 10% to date in 2018. 

Chilling or freezing measures are not appropriate in the preparation of fresh fruit, vegetables or salad and microorganisms can attach to, and form biofilms on, fruit and vegetable surfaces and processing equipment. PAA is extremely effective in the cleaning of many varieties of fruit and vegetables and is significantly more effective than sodium hypochlorite. 

It is a low-foaming solution and can be used to soak products and in circulated water, breaking down into water and acetic acid, without producing organic compounds. There is also no pitting corrosion or iron and manganese stains.

Washing with drinking quality water mixed with disinfectant is the latest method currently being used in Europe to reduce microbial loading. The disinfectant allows washing water to be re-used without becoming contaminated. 

Daniel Marr, commercial director for Airedale Chemical, explains: “Farming is a huge part of this country’s industry with 72% of land in the UK being utilised agricultural area, so we tend to feel any changes in that sector quite keenly. Over recent years we have seen a drive to reduce the use of chlorine in fruit and vegetable washing due to the potential health implications of its by-products and consumer reluctance to buy products washed in the disinfectant.”

He adds, “It comes as no surprise to us to see an upturn in PAA usage in this aspect of the food sector. Peracetic acid is a great way to effectively ensure the eradication of microbial matter in fruit and vegetables without fear of damaging the environment or leaving behind any harmful residue. It is fast becoming the go-to disinfectant for many industries, not only food and beverage.”