Finding an earth-friendly way to wash our food

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Ingenium - Canada's Museums of Science and Innovation

Canada's food industry could soon use a new product to help enhance the safety and longevity of fresh foods, such as raw meats and pre-cut fruit and vegetables. Watch this video from the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum to learn how electrolysed water is emerging as a new, more effective and environmentally-friendly way of cleaning our foods.

Thanks to research by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, a new disinfectant may soon be used within Canada’s food industry: electrolyzed water.

To create this product, a special reactor is filled with salt water. An electrical charge causes a chemical reaction, resulting in water with a pH of 4, making it more acid. The water now also contains disinfecting molecules of hypochlorous acid, a substance that forms when chlorine bleach is diluted in water.

With these new properties, the water is able to kill a vast range of microorganisms on contact, including germs that lead to food poisoning, and even the viruses that cause HIV and hepatitis. It also eliminates pesticide residues and mycotoxins.

Because electrolyzed water leaves no chemical residue, it can be used on fresh foods, such as baby carrots, without affecting quality.

Last, but not least, it is a very economical disinfectant, because it is produced onsite, on demand. This eliminates the costs associated with bottling and transporting existing cleaning products.

Electrolyzed water can improve the safety and extend the shelf life of fresh pre-cut fruits and vegetables, providing processors with significant savings while helping the food-processing industry become more ecological.

Simple, isn't it?

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Sonia Mendes

Sonia Mendes is the English Writer/Editor for Ingenium. She loves digging behind the scenes to tell the quirky, colourful stories of museum life and all things related to science and innovation.