E3 Organics Inc.’s Organic Chico Wash provides an up to 7-log reduction of salmonella, E. coli and botulism, according to the company.
For the past eight years, the Orland, Calif.-based E3 has been testing the non-chlorine wash and has sold it since 2011 in limited supplies, said Edward Rongley, vice president of marketing.
Derived from a proprietary citric acid blend, the food-grade product is designed for use in field and plant processing operations and for cleaning harvesting machinery and cutting equipment.
The product works on tomatoes, spinach, baby spinach, lettuce, leeks and celery, Rongley said.
E3 officials are pointing to university studies supporting the product’s capabilities.
The University of Arizona’s Department of Veterinary Science and Microbiology tested it against Salmonella Newport on organic romaine lettuce, iceberg lettuce and spinach.
The studies showed up to 4-log reductions and “better antimicrobial activities against both Salmonella Newport and background microflora (bacteria, yeast and molds) than 200 ppm chlorine and water washes,” according to researchers.
“One of the biggest scientific advantages we’re seeing is the metabolic die-off rate, meaning it continues to kill up to six days later,” Rongley said. “This can be used with companies looking for a safer item to use and get higher log kills to handle their organic loads. The biggest thing in the industry is the log killing of organic loads.
“As the flumes get dirty, the organic matter inside the flumes tend to weaken whatever solution is in there. We are giving it a lot more length during the organic load. It’s not as affected as other products.”
Silliker Inc., Chicago, and Texas A&M University and the University of California-Davis also conducted tests.
E3 markets the solution in 1 gallon, 55-gallon drums, 360 gallon totes and tanker loads.
Merritt Erickson, E3’s chief operating officer and a northern California almond and olive grower, developed the product while looking for ways to better store and hold olives, Rongley said.