Microbial control of postharvest diseases has been extensively studied and appears to be a viable technology. Food safety must be ensured at each postharvest processing step, including handling, washing of raw materials, cleaning of utensils and pipelines, and packaging. Several commercial products are available for this purpose. The time is ripe for developing new techniques and technologies. The use of electrolyzed water (EW) is the product of a new concept developed in Japan, which is now gaining popularity in other countries. Little is known about the principle behind its sterilizing effect, but it has been shown to have significant bactericidal and virucidal and moderate fungicidal properties. Some studies have been carried out in Japan, China, and the USA on the pre- and postharvest application of EW in the field of food processing. EW may be produced using common salt and an apparatus connected to a power source. As the size of the machine is quite small, the water can be manufactured on-site. Studies have been carried out on the use of EW as a sanitizer for fruits, utensils, and cutting boards. It can also be used as a fungicide during postharvest processing of fruits and vegetables, and as a sanitizer for washing the carcasses of meat and poultry. It is cost-effective and environment-friendly. The use of EW is an emerging technology with considerable potential.
2005 by Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology