NatureSeal, Inc.--in collaboration with a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), ARS, food microbiologist in Wyndmoor, PA--have developed a new, patent pending produce wash called First Step+ 10. It is designed for use on whole and fresh cut fruit and vegetables, including leafy greens and sprouts.

First Step+ 10 is an antimicrobial liquid concentrate comprised of a blend of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognized as safe ingredients and has been Organic Materials Review Institute listed for use on organic produce.

As an alternative to chlorine--which produces carcinogenic by-products such as trihalomethanes--and other traditional antimicrobial produce washes, First Step+ 10 maintains its concentrations and efficacy when exposed to high organic loads, per the British Standard EN 1276 method. In addition, First Step+ 10 protects foods by reducing pathogenic bacteria such as E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. In fact, it is so effective that the USDA, ARS studies per the BS EN 1276 method show that greater than 99.999% of pathogenic bacteria are inactivated.

First Step+ 10 is highly resistant to the presence of organic matter, allowing for microbial control in the wash water. Based on USDA testing for disinfectants, the solution should maintain efficacy longer than common sanitizers. This allows for re-use of wash water, resulting in less wash water discharges, thus reducing net cost.

Considering the powerful defense that First Step+ 10 provides against pathogenic bacteria, neither taste, texture, nor appearance are compromised by using this produce wash. Moreover, the product is easy to handle, with no foaming or pungent odor, and is fully biodegradable into its constituent organic components over time. This wash can be applied using conventional application equipment, with the simplicity of monitoring concentration and effectiveness by pH.

First Step+ 10 has been approved for use by the FDA as a produce wash in the United States as well as by Health Canada for use in Canada.