New controlled application of chlorine dioxide in gas form is being studied as a means of reducing bacteria on fresh fruits and vegetables.
The first research project to be funded by a Foundation grant, titled Synergistic Impact of Chlorine Dioxide Gas and Various Freezing Rates on the Microbiological Quality of Frozen Blueberries, was the final phase of a five year study by Dr. Elliot Ryser and his team at Michigan State University. On May 14, 2008, a joint press conference between the Foundation and MSU was held at the Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station in Fennville, Michigan, to announce the project results. Among the attendees were blueberry growers who participated in the question and answer period. In August 2008, the project results, which showed significant reductions of bacteria, were presented at the International Association for Food Protection annual meeting. The study concluded that this treatment, followed by quick freezing, provides one means for ensuring high standards for blueberries, especially late season blueberries.