The Fresh-Cut Convenience Food Industry embraces the Citrocide® system as an alternative to chlorine disinfection.

The German company, Kronen GmbH, world specialists in the Fresh-Cut Convenience Food sector, recently gathered more than 240 professionals from 45 countries to attend an event in Germany at which they presented the latest developments and advances in this sector, bringing to the fore the aqUAFRESH research project in which they partner the Spanish company, Citrosol.

An outstanding international conclave with Fresh-Cut Convenience Food processing companies not only from Europe, but also from Asian and Latin American countries plus the USA as well as various distributors, representatives of Kronen from all over the world, together with partners such as Citrosol and auxiliary companies such as the manufacturers of scales and continuous drying systems for the sector plus numerous other participants.

The message laid down by Citrosol in Germany focused on the Citrocide® system – introduced by the Valencian company for use on tomatoes, peppers, avocados and other fruits – where it can be implemented in the disinfection of produce on production lines across the spectrum of Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods. Citrocide® improves food safety as it minimizes the risk of cross contamination via the water used in the washing machine, whilst mitigating the microbiological load on the surface of the washed produce.

Citrosol presented the advantages of these systems to the International Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods industry, who, in addition to the aforementioned food safety improvements, can also benefit from additional water savings, the continual monitoring of the main hygiene parameters of the washing process and the possibility to engage in organic farming due to the

fact that the system does not generate Disinfection By-products (DBPs) that can be harmful to both humans and the environment, unlike the use of chlorine.

Martín Mottura, Manager of Precision Post-harvesting at Citrosol attended the meeting and pointed out that “within the aqUAFRESH project the Citrocide® system provides the Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods sector with a viable alternative to chlorinated disinfectants; technically viable as well as economical and environmentally friendly. With this new tool, in addition to improving the food safety of the final product by drastically reducing or even eliminating DBPs harmful to people, those Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods processors that until now haven’t been able to use any type of disinfectant in their washing waters due to restrictions on chlorine, will now be able to enjoy a more efficient and effective wash and reduce their water consumption by applying the aqUAFRESH solution“.

aqUAFRESH for 2019

aqUAFRESH, the international consortium, is made up of Citrosol and Kronen GmbH with the CNTA (National Center for Food Technology and Safety) based in Navarra as a collaborator. A project that is programmed to wind up at the end of 2019 and from which will emerge a prototype for a new, more efficient, industrial washing machine in which more sustainable treatments, such as Citrocide®, will be used.

We have already obtained very important results and achieved significant advances,” said researcher Martín Mottura, “we are now at the stage of starting industrial pilots to be able to validate the results obtained at experimental level, that is to say, we are going to scale up our tests to validate the results and thus be able to draw the project to a close. The said pilots are scheduled to be implemented during 2019.

This event, organized in Germany by Kronen GmbH, has served as an international launching pad for Citrosol in front of the Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods sector as it has been solely directed at that sector.

Current trends in the Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods market

Alternatives to chlorine. Chlorine based disinfectants are the most commonly used in the Fresh-Cut Convenience Foods industry to maintain the hygienic integrity of the wash water, but varying studies show that, in addition to generating DBPs that can be harmful to humans and the environment, its correct handling is very difficult and in many cases, it is not applied in the best manner. This is why there is such an intense search for alternatives to chlorinated disinfectants and where aqUAFRESH makes its mark as it can be seen to be the most viable alternative to date.

Monitoring of hygienization processes during washing. As important as using the most appropriate product is applying it correctly and then being able to measure and assess that it’s doing its job at all times. From a hygiene and disinfection point of view there is a growing need for multiparametric monitoring in the washing process.

Industry 4.0. Finally, the first developments of Industry 4.0 are being introduced in the sector. Communication between the different processes via the machines that are in each of them such as artificial vision for the classification and quality control of products. To these ends Kronen is already beginning to enter into the field of robotics with robots that are able to work alongside people.


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Valencia, October 2018