Every now and then in this job, you come across a technology that really grabs you. I'm not talking iPhone from Apple , or a new Google gPhone , or even a new microcessor from Intel.
Nope. In much the same way a recent post about a new kind of flexible solar panel caught so much of your attention (and yes, we're still awaiting the IPO from Nanosolar), this technology from a Fremont, California start-up called Purfresh is also worth following.
At a time when the recent Salmonella outbreak practically destroyed the nation's tomato industry, we visited tomato distributor Kirby Tanimura in Southern California, and he's so sure of the safety of 60 million pounds he ships, that eats them right off the conveyor belt. And he does so because of the unique ozone technology he uses to sanitize the place.
"We pride ourselves on having safe food," he says. "Ozone will kill eColi, Salmonella, and Listeria."
The Purfresh technology is spreading through the food industry faster than the contaminants it's trying to destroy. Big chains like TGIFridays, In 'n Out, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Sunkist, Procter & Gamble are all relying on it now, and with Salmonella and e.Coli outbreaks, the technology is becoming a marketing tool.
Purfresh uses simple oxygen and electricity to kill mold, bacteria and viruses before consumers get a chance to eat them and get sick.
"About 30 percent of everything shipped is somehow adversely affected by microbial decay or contamination in transit. We basically stop that," says David Cope, Purfresh CEO.
Purfresh does that by spraying the fruits, vegetables and drinks with Ozone. Micro-organisms are instantly destroyed when they come in contact with this stuff, and then the ozone reverts back to simple oxygen when the process is finished.
"Ozone is actually nature's perfect disinfectant," says Cope.
Perfect, because it's chemical and taste free... and it leaves no residuals on the food.
Purfresh has also come up with a way to monitor thousands of containers remotely, detecting spoilage while the food is in transit, and then able to spray the food with low dosages of Ozone along the way to keep food fresher and safe when it arrives at its destination.
The company has also come up with a spray for fruits and vegetables to protect them from damaging sun rays, a kind of food sunscreen that can dramatically reduce the crops farmers lose to sun damage every year.
These are all innovations protecting consumers and the food companies selling to them, in a global food industry worth $7.5 trillion. And that makes Purfresh a company worth watching.
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