Garrett Dana, Food Safety and Water Treatment Specialist
As far as water treatment goes, food safety happens to be the highest priority these days. As LGMA and other food safety organizations evolve and increase industry standards, we are beginning to see a wider variety of procedures and chemicals in use. When deciding how you are going to send the cleanest, safest produce to buyers possible, it is important that you are aware of your options.
The treatment mandated by LGMA, 21 days prior to harvest, is done through the process of oxidation. A variety of chemicals can be used. The most common of these are calcium hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite, potassium hypochlorite, and PAA. Each of these chemicals function by attacking and killing contaminants in your irrigation systems. The issue is that none of these chemicals offer targeted attacks. Instead, its energy is allocated to all contaminants, such as turbidity, that may be swept into open-air water sources. These contaminants do not increase your odds of testing positive for E. coli or other coliforms.
We choose to utilize chlorine dioxide, which is a bacteria-focused oxidizer. The choice on our part is intentional:
- It targets harmful contaminants, making it a much more efficient vehicle to use.
- This chemical has a wide PH range, allowing the chemistry to operate in a wide variety of water qualities.
- It is also unique in that it can be used by both conventional and organic growers. Chlorine Dioxide fits within the organic use restrictions.
- The product is generated on-site so you can ensure the oxidizing agent has not deteriorated from environmental elements.
Though all growers must adhere to this timeline, many choose to treat their water above and beyond the standard. We call these growers our Rockstar growers for a reason. You too can be a Rockstar by:
- Treating your water at all points of your growing cycle, not just the mandatory 21 days before harvest.
- Verifying microbial water quality on a set cycle and at varying points throughout your system.
It is more important than ever to know what is going into your water and why. Our technicians strive to provide not only that knowledge but also with the ease of mind that comes with knowing we are tirelessly working for you. Together, we can create a cleaner, healthier harvest.