E-Cole Outbreak leads to Romaine Lettuce Recall

Washing fruits and vegetables with ozonated water would stop  bacteria and parasite contamination

Conrad LeBeau

The FDA has advised the public to throw out all their Romaine lettuce unless they know it did not come from Yuma AZ, believed to be the source of e-coli contamination. The problem of fruits or vegetables contaminated with e-coli, salmonella, hepatitis B or other pathogens is that it is a recurring national problem and leads to very economically wasteful recalls. America’s farmers, who barely eek out a living with their hard labor, bear the brunt of these expenses.

The problem of contamination of vegetables or fruit with pathogens that can cause illness and even death is not limited to occasional outbreaks in the United States, but includes products imported from Mexico and other countries. There are multiple points of intersection in the food supply chain where the washing of fruits and vegetables with ozonated water would end these bacteria, parasites or other pathogen outbreaks.

            The points of intervention of the fresh food supply chain are –

  1. Farms- washing fruits and vegetables with ozonated water before they are shipped.
  2. Washing fresh foods with ozonated water at major distribution centers.
  3. Grocery stores that already spray many of their vegetables with water should add ozone to the water supply to kill any remaining bacteria or parasites that might remain.
  4. Prepackaged fruits and vegetables could be labeled as having been washed with ozonated water, and thus safe to eat and not subject to recalls. Millions of dollars in wasted fresh food inventory could thus be saved and many lives could be protected from food borne contamination.

The Ozone Solution to e-coli and other pathogen outbreaks

Ozone could make fruits and vegetables nearly 100% safe for all Americans. Ozone is an electrically charged form of oxygen. Oxygen is normally O2. With the use of electrodes through which oxygen or air is passed, the O2 becomes O3, O4, O5 and O6. As the electrons are released from the electrically charged oxygen atoms, they zap bacteria, fungus, viruses and other pathogens. The Ozone then is reduced back to its natural O2 form, which is in the air we breathe. Even if there are no pathogens to zap, ozone naturally has a short half-life and converts back to its stable O2 form within a few hours.

Milwaukee ended its 1993 cryptosporidium problem with Ozone

Ozone is one of the most safe and effective anti-microbial agents known to man. Some cities have added ozone to the purification of their water supple to protect the public from water borne microbes. In April 1993, 403,000 people in Milwaukee were afflicted with a watery diarrhea caused by the parasite – cryptosporidium.  The city found the source of the problem on April 7th – its own water supply was infected with the parasite. Eventually, 69 people died from this outbreak.

Under the leadership of Mayor John Norquist, the city undertook a number of measures to better purify and better protect the water supply from pathogens and thus the public. For the past 25 years, the city’s water has been free from of this parasite and Milwaukee’s use of ozone has made it the safest city water in the nation.


A source of commercial ozonating equipment for grocery stores, distributors and farmers.

            Ozotech has manufactured Ozone equipment for the past 30 years and has a wide range of products made solely here in the United States. This includes small unites that cost a few hundred dollars to large unites for factories and farms and even equipment to disinfect the city’s municipal water supply. A technical expert at Ozotech told me they have a unit called PR220PRO that adds sufficient ozone to water that circulates through it to disinfect any fruits or vegetables that are sprayed with the ozonated water. This unit will spray about .78 Gallons per minute with an ozone concentration greater than .4 parts per million (ppm). Ozotech’s test have found that every pathogen is killed when subjected to ozonated water greater than .4 ppm. This unit sells for around $1900.

Household Ozone Equipment.

            In 1991, I purchased an ozone unit from Ozotech Model OZ2PCS for around $600. It is still working great and has never needed repairs. I attached an oxygen tank to it along with a regulator and generally set the flow rate at ½ liter per minute.

A new lower cost model suitable for household use that takes up very little space and can be wall mounted is the Ozotech Poseidon 220 Ozone Generator. It sells for about $245. Maximum output is 220 mg ozone per hour. With an oxygen tack attached the output of ozone increases 4 fold to over 800 mg hr.This is the unit I would buy if and when I ever need another one. For more information, you can contact Ozotech through their website or to find a distributor near you. This unit will work well with either an Aquarium air pump attached or by improvising an oxygen tank by adding a regulator to control volume.

If used to clean an aquarium, you simply attach it to a Ventura that has a vacuum to the circulating air pump and draws the ozone into the circulating water. To use the Ozone unit for other personal purposes, you will either need either an air pump that has an output of 2 liters or less per minute or an oxygen tank and a regulator. The air pumps for aquariums cost less than $6.00 online. Running the ozone gas through a gallon of water for 10 minutes should not only disinfect the water but also any fruits or vegetables you place in the container. You can also drink the ozonated water for treating intestinal infections or use it in enema water to disinfect and clean the colon.

Small oxygen tanks can be obtained for less that $10 each from local hardware stores. They are usually next to the small propane tanks. An oxygen tank regulator for these small tanks can be found online at places that sell equipment for brewing beer and wine. The valve is screwed onto to a small portable oxygen tank (Benzomatic etc) you can find at any hardware store. A plastic hose is attached to the barbed outlet of the valve and is connected to the inlet tube of the Ozone machine. Before permanently attaching to the Ozone machine, place the tube into to a 1 liter or quart plastic bag and adjust the oxygen flow to fill up the bag in 1 to 2 minutes. Then mark the airflow position with an indelible ink pen and connect the hose from the oxygen tank to the air inlet side of the Ozone unit.

This is not a perfect way to measure airflow but it is low cost way to regulate the flow of oxygen. Otherwise, you may need to buy a regulator for the oxygen tank and some types require a prescription. This way, no prescription is needed and the oxygen in the small tanks works just fine for ozonating water to disinfect vegetables and for making ozonated water for use in colonics. I have also used an oxygen tank – the kind used by welders, as a source of oxygen for ozonating drinking water for several years. All you need to do is add a small inline air filter (from an auto parts dealer) to the output of the oxygen tank to remove any metal flakes that might come off the inside of the tank when in use and that gives you the equivalent of medical grade oxygen without the extra expenses.

Other Household methods to disinfect fresh fruits and vegetables.

            There are several ways to disinfect fruits and vegetables. Besides throwing them out or cooking them, they include the following

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide: Besides using ozonated water, fruits and vegetables may be washed with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Add one tablespoon of 3% H2O2 to a pint of water and spray the fruits and vegetables with this solution or place fill the sink with water and add 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide to the sink. Dip the fresh foods into the water. Let them stand for 5 minutes and rinse off with cold water.
  2. Grapefruit seed extractor OTC Vegetable Wash: Use as directed on the label.
  3. Vinegar – any vinegar will work – apple cider, white distilled or red wine vinegar. Spray or dip the vegetables into the vinegar and package them in fresh plastic bags. Leave the vinegar on – it pre-seasons lettuce and other vegetables for eating. If vinegar is used on fruit, wash it the vinegar after 3 minute as it may add a sour taste to some fruits. If you prefer, also wash the vinegar off vegetables before eating.

For more information, find an integrative doctor trained in bio-oxidative medicine at acam.org or search online. Information on ozone is also found in the Immune Restoration Handbook 3rdedition and online at keephopealive.org.




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