Food safety concerns are expanding sales of the Accu-Tab Tablet Chlorination Systems, particularly among fresh-cut processors and packinghouses.
Brian Newsome, marketing manager of Axiall Corp., Atlanta, said the system is also used in field water irrigation and helps prevent cross-contamination in the packing of tomatoes, leafy greens, carrots and fruits. It is increasingly being adopted in Central America and South America, he said.
Machinery placed at the start of fresh-cut and packing lines distribute chlorine via tablets in a sieve. Water entering the chlorinator touches the bottom of the tablets and is distributed via spray bars or injectors.
The calcium hypochlorite tablets maintain their strength up to a year, Newsome said.
Stored in 55-pound buckets, equivalent to 500 pounds of bleach, the tablets degrade slower than liquid sodium hypochlorite, providing higher strength and more consistent results than the liquid, he said.
The tablets are also more convenient than toting 300-gallon bleach drums and are easier to use than chlorine gas, which requires maintenance people to handle safety procedures, Newsome said.
The regulatory push of the Food Safety Modernization Act is helping stoke interest in the system, he said.
“With the FSMA’s proposed rules, water that contacts produce has to be safe and suitable,” Newsome said. “There’s a lot of interest especially as regulations continue to increase. With recent news of outbreaks, customers are looking for convenient ways to add chlorine to washwater systems. The tabs offer a more stable and more neutral way to get chlorine into the washwater to prevent cross-contamination.”
The system has received certification from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Organic Materials Review Institute, he said.
Axiall became the new name of the operation manufacturing the Accu-Tab system after Pittsburgh, Pa.-based PPG sold its commodity chemicals business to Atlanta’s Georgia Gulf Corp. for $2.5 billion. The deal closed on Jan. 28.