Produce Co. Protects Food Using Oxygen Ion Technology

Fears of E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria within the perishable product cold chain are very real, especially with highly publicized reports of foodborne illnesses from common products such as tomatoes, peppers, onions, and deli meat. Such outbreaks have serious consequences for both supplier and consumer.

Mendota, Calif.-based Stamoules Produce has found a way to help reduce its risks. The company uses Ingersoll Rand's patented Environment Management Systemâ„¢, a surface and air sanitation technology.

The technology uses oxygen ions to cleanse ambient air, which improves the quality and safety of perishable products. It has been proven effective against E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria, in addition to the food-spoilage bacteria Serratia Marcescens and Lactobacillus. It also decreases the growth of Botrytis and neutralizes ripening hormone ethylene, further extending shelf life.

The company was first introduced to the Environment Management System (EMS) in 2006, outfitting more than 1,750,000 cubic feet of its main facility with the technology and effectively reducing bacteria and mold levels by 78 percent, according to documented test results. Since then, an additional 1.6 million cubic feet has incorporated the technology, including the rooms where the company cools the greatest percentage of its corn, melons, and broccoli. According to Tom Stefanopoulos, vice president of Stamoules Produce, the company plans to gradually add the EMS system to its entire facility, which will total more than 7 million cubic feet when complete.

"We have experienced a reduction in mold on the produce we cool with the EMS technology, and we know that the sanitizing air minimizes the possibility of shipping our produce with bacterial contamination," said Stefanopoulos. "Bathing our produce via forced air is much more cost effective than using chlorinated water and eliminates an expensive handling process."

Climate Control Technologies is a business sector of diversified industrial firm Ingersoll- Rand Company Limited and provides equipment and services to manage controlled-temperature environments for food and other temperature-sensitive products.

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