In order to better understand the ozone regulations currently in place for the food industry, it is important to have a brief understanding of ozone’s history. Ozone was first discovered in 1840 by Christian Schönbein and has been used in various industries since then. In the early 1900s, ozone began being used to sterilize food.

In the 1970s, after research showed that ozone could be harmful to humans and the environment, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) created regulations limiting how much ozone could be used in food production. Today, these regulations are still in place and continue to play an important role in ensuring human health and safety.

History of Ozone Regulations in Food Industry

Here is brief history of ozone regulations in the food industry:

  • The USDA permitted the storage of meat in the gaseous form of ozone in 1957.
  • On March 12, 1975, the FDA designated ozone treatment as a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) for bottled water. The minimal amount of ozone required for GMP is “0.1 part per million (0.1 mg/l) of ozone in water solution in an enclosed system for at least 5 minutes.” Code 21 of the Federal Regulations, Section 129.80 d.4 Federal Register 11566, 12 March 1975.
  • The Energy Power Research Institute (EPRI) asked a panel of experts in food science, ozone technology, and other relevant fields to declare the use of ozone in food processing generally recognized as safe (GRAS). This group was formed by the Energy Power Research Institute (EPRI). It’s worth noting that EPRI played a significant role in getting GRAS approval for the application of ozone in food. The FDA offered the EPRI’s FTA encouragement to pursue the creation and submission of a Food Additive Petition (FAP) in 1999, recognizing that the 1982 decision created uncertainty among food processors. In response, Graham of EPRI and R.G. submitted a petition to allow ozonation as a contact antimicrobial agent in foods.
  • In August 2000, the FDA cleared Rice of RICE International Consulting Enterprises’ FAP and sent it to the agency. The FDA approved the use of ozone in food processing and agricultural production, acknowledging it as an antibacterial substance that is safe for use in food handling.
  • On June 26, 2001, the Federal Register published a notice announcing this recognition.

Reference: 21 CFR Part 184.1563

FSIS Directive 7120.1 States: Ozone for use on all meat and poultry products. Ozone can be used in accordance with current industry standards of good manufacturing practice. No other guidelines are given on levels or dosages of ozone. Reference 21 CFR 173.368

Bottom Line

All things considered, this blog post discusses various ozone regulations in the food industry. The Food and Drug Administration has also played a role in regulating ozone-depleting substances in food contact materials such as packaging and equipment used in food processing plants.