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Ontario company invents new machine to clean produce and kill pathogens

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Clean Verification unit
A Clean Verification unit used to clean produce and increase shelf life.

Clēan Works, based in Beamsville, Ontario, has invented a revolutionary process to clean fresh produce and kill harmful pathogens and mould. The company says that unlike cleaning with water, which is only 50% effective, this new process is almost 100% effective. The potential impact on the food industry is huge. In Ontario alone, the agri-food sector supports more than 800,000 jobs and contributes over $37 billion to the province’s GDP.

Clēan Works is a joint venture between Paul Moyer, a fruit farmer from the Niagara Region who runs Moyers Apple Products, and Court Holdings Ltd., a long-time family business involved in manufacturing, technology and steel service. Moyer’s family has been farming in the area since 1799. His company won recognition as an innovator when it was awarded the 2017 Premier’s Award for Agri-Food Innovation Excellence from the Government of Ontario. The company also won an Ontario Centre of Excellence award.

The process, called Clēan Verification, was validated by the Food Science Department at the University of Guelph. The method is chemical-free and waterless, and can take less than 30 seconds. Using ultraviolet light and vaporized hydrogen peroxide to kill 99% of pathogens, it allows for verification of results and compliance with regulations. It kills pathogens that create health risks, and increases the shelf life of produce by up to 25%. A food scientist at the University of Guelph said this takes cleaning to the “microbiological level”.

The innovation has moved from lab to market as farmers, processors and retailers learned of it.

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There are installations in Ontario, as well as at Sunkist Growers and grape producers in California. The new process has already helped Moyers Apple Products increase sales to more than 4,000 grocery stores across North America.

This article appears in ES&E Magazine’s August 2019 issue.

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