Moyers Apple Products, based out of Beamsville in the Niagara Region, and a food scientist from the University of Guelph, were presented with a Leaders in Innovation Award at the latest annual Summit on Agri-Food in Toronto for their innovative work and proactive approach to advancing food safety.
Alongside other agri-food innovators who were also celebrated at the Summit (see below), Moyers was recognized as a Leader in Innovation for their breakthrough development of a chemical-free, waterless sanitizer for produce, which reduces health risks and increases shelf life by up to 25%.
Professor Keith Warriner, a well-known food safety expert in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, developed the product in partnership with Paul Moyer of Moyers Apple Products, after receiving funding for a project to look at alternatives to post-harvest washing – the collaboration led to a ground-breaking “ozone based treatment” that takes cleaning to the “microbiological level.”
“Thanks to a new sanitizer pioneered by Moyers Apple Products, consumers can now reach for fruits and veggies with even more confidence,” the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs states. “The caramel apple producer has developed a cleaning process for produce that’s even more effective than water-based systems.”
Specifically, the system uses ultraviolet light, vaporized hydrogen peroxide and high concentrations of ozone gas to kill 99% of pathogens. Reassuring for both employees and customers, the chemical-free sanitizer only leaves behind oxygen and water. Watch this video shared on the University of Guelph website.
The patent-pending innovation has quickly moved from the lab to the market, with farmers, processors and retailers eager to get their hands on the sanitizer. This includes big players like Sun Rich Fresh Foods Inc., who supply sliced fruit for Starbucks and Subways across North America.
The new process has already helped Moyers increase sales to more than 2,000 grocery stores.
We know that smart innovation in an industry as large as Ontario’s agri-food sector–which supports more than 800,000 jobs and contributes more than $37 billion towards the province’s GDP—has great significance and incredible potential.
This team has not only propelled their own business forward, but has developed an innovative process that can be scaled up to support the agri-food sector at large, while helping to position Ontario as a leader in food safety technology. Congratulations to all involved, and to the other influential innovators celebrated at the Summit!
Stouffville-based Greenbelt Microgreens received the top honour of the Premier’s Award at the Summit; Mississauga-based SunPillar Inc./Two Bridges Vineyards received the Minister’s Award; and the three Leaders in Innovation Awards were presented to Moyers Apple Products, Freshwater Cuisine and Fresh Air Media. Learn more on the OMAFRA website here.