DANBURY, Conn., June 29, 2004 — Praxair, Inc. (NYSE: PX) confirmed today that its NatureWash™ ozonated water wash and dry system for fresh-cut fruit delivers improved shelf life compared to conventional disinfection methods such as chlorine treatment. Commercial production of fresh-cut fruit and extensive laboratory testing at Praxair’s Food Technology Center achieves a greater than 90 percent reduction of yeast, mold and spoilage bacteria. The NatureWash disinfection system extends the shelf life of products such as fresh-cut watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries in a range from 30 percent to 100 percent. The improvement versus chlorine treatment is even more pronounced at elevated storage temperatures that simulate temperature abuse. Extended shelf life is an important component for improved profitability in the $11 billion U.S. fresh-cut produce market.
The Praxair® NatureWash system was first commercialized at Strickland Produce, Nashville, Tennessee, for the treating of fresh-cut fruit. "I like this technology because it applies precise concentrations of ozone in the wash water. The operating parameters are preset and the whole process is computer controlled," commented Walter Strickland, president of Strickland Produce. "The NatureWash system has been in our facility since last year. We find that the improved shelf life, better overall quality and consistent results are superb." Strickland Produce processes fresh-cut produce, packaged salads and salsa. They are a pioneering company in the use of ozone-processing technology to wash fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. Mr. Strickland is a past chairman of the board for the International Fresh-cut Produce Association and currently a member of the board of directors for the United Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Association.
For more information about Praxair and its NatureWash ozonated water wash and dry system, visit www.praxair.com/food or call toll free: 1-800-PRAXAIR.
Praxair is the largest industrial gases company in North and South America, and one of the largest worldwide, with 2003 sales of $5.6 billion. The company produces, sells and distributes atmospheric and process gases, and high-performance surface coatings. Praxair products, services and technologies bring productivity and environmental benefits to a wide variety of industries, including aerospace, chemicals, food and beverage, electronics, energy, healthcare, manufacturing, metals and others. More information on Praxair is available on the Internet at www.praxair.com.