Following the documentation provided by EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute) and by a group of experts that evaluated the efficacy and safety of Ozone in the processing and storage of food, on June 26th 2001, FDA, the agency of United States Department of Health and Human Services, authorized the use of Ozone as an antimicrobial agent in the gas phase or in aqueous solution in production processes (treatment, processing, storage) of food such as meat, eggs, fish, cheese, fruits and vegetables. In particular, the document 21 CFR part 173 368 (register No. 00F-1482) labelled Ozone as a GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) secondary food additive that is safe for human health.
In washing water (and in ice) the amount of ozone cannot exceed the minimum levels necessary to reduce the bacterial load; if used for drinking water it must be indicated on the label. Ozone cannot be used to increase product storage times.
In Europe, the use of Ozone for food purposes was introduced in 2003, for disinfection and sterilization during the bottling process. In fact, Directive 2003/40/EC of the EFSA Committee on May 16th 2003 established the list, concentration limits and labelling requirements for the constituents of natural mineral waters and the conditions for using Ozone-enriched air for the treatment of natural mineral waters and spring waters. In particular, Directive 80/777/EEC (as amended) provides for “the separation of iron, manganese, sulphur and arsenic from certain natural mineral waters, using ozone-enriched air treatment, subject to an assessment of this treatment by the Scientific Committee for Food and adoption of the conditions for use of this treatment by the Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health”.
The Ministry of Health, with the Protocol of July 31st 1996 No. 24482, recognized the use of Ozone in the air and water treatment, as a garrison for the sterilization of natural environments contaminated by bacteria, viruses, spores, moulds and mites.