Harvest Select Catfish, a long-time customer of Ozone International, Bainbridge Island, Wash., has expanded the use of ozone at its Uniontown, Ala., catfish processing facility.

The original system was designed as a simple barrier step between the farm and processing stages, with an ozone rinse introduced as trucks unloaded live catfish for transport into the plant. This direct application of ozone onto the product resulted in dramatically reduced micro counts on product surfaces before the fish were allowed to enter the plant, producing higher quality fillets. This successful use just outside the facility convinced Harvest Select to bring ozone inside the plant. The processing site now uses ozone on conveyors and trim stations as well as directly on all catfish fillets and nuggets.

Harvest Select also uses ozone as an intervention sanitizing spray on breaks during daily production. Ozone-flood sanitizing hoses are installed and located on each processing line for quick equipment washdowns.

All the combined ozone-intervention steps help discourage bacteria growth, which reduces buildup and any cross contamination that can occur during normal food processing.

“Ozone serves as a natural disinfectant for our plant when used in our chilled-water system,” says Bobby Collins, vice president of plant operations at Harvest Select, a Best Aquaculture certified processor. “The addition of this proven process for daily use in our plant water system as a bactericide has been effective in improving our sanitation swab tests and in lowering our overall plate counts in general. Using ozone during processing has made cleanup for our sanitation crew quicker, easier and more effective overall.”