REDONDO BEACH, CA – (UPTICK Newswire – February 2, 2016) – Chipotle (NYSE:CMG) has been prominent in the news for the past several months with a series of E.coli, listeria and norovirus outbreaks that have sickened close to 500 patrons across 13 states. News of the outbreaks and restaurant closures sent thousands of investors reeling with losses totaling billions of dollars. Chiptole’s outbreaks are a sobering reminder of how risky the food business can be when it comes to food safety.
Steve Ells, the CEO of Chipotle made a revealing comment about the state of the food industry when he said, “In the end, it may not be possible for anyone to completely eliminate all risk with regard to food, but we are confident that we can achieve near zero risk.”
Statistics from the CDC indicate that food outbreaks are not as rare as we like to think when they claim that 48 million people in the U.S. are stricken with foodborne illnesses each year.
A comprehensive study on recalls, “Capturing Recall Costs,” by the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Covington and Burling, and Ernst & Young, revealed the following key results of a survey of 36 of America’s largest food companies:
– 81% of respondents deem financial risk from recalls as significant to catastrophic.
– 58% have been affected by a recall in the last five years.
– 78% manage the risk by procuring costly insurance.
According to Michael R. Kelley, who chairs the Insurance Recovery & Counseling group and practices in the Food Industry and Commercial Litigation groups, “Insurance premiums represent the third or fourth highest business expenses for most food manufacturers and distributors. But, even with all of those premium expenses, many food producers and distributors and restaurants find that their food recall claims are denied by their insurance company.”
Clearly, the risk of food pathogens is higher than acceptable and all companies in the food industry, from food suppliers to restaurants and supermarkets, would benefit immensely if the risks were reduced by new, cost-effective, disinfection technologies.
Today’s most commonly used FDA-approved method to reduce contamination is to add chlorine or other approved disinfectants to processing water or to equipment surfaces. The principal factors that influence efficacy are concentration, contact time, temperature and pH. Altering these four elements for maximum efficacy and safety is useful, but is not always an effective solution.
New technologies are gradually being adopted, but their high costs and limited efficacy are proving to be barriers that are slowing their widespread adoption.
High-Pressure Processing and UV Radiation are relatively new and both are proving to be additional tools, however, UV can cause undesirable discoloration of meats, and the increased costs of both of these systems must be taken into consideration before they are adopted. If these new systems add too much to a company’s prices, the competitor will likely have a cost advantage.
New Food Safety Solution Unveiled By University Researchers
An exciting high impact, low cost technology that answers the need for better food safety was recently showcased at a prominent University in Canada. This technology even reaches beyond food safety and is expected to impact every segment of the water treatment industry. An audience of 30 experts from industry, academia, government, and finance gathered at the University of Alberta for the unveiling of what appears to be the biggest breakthrough in water treatment in decades. Data from over 100 studies was presented by a team of researchers demonstrating that the BioLargo, Inc. (OTC: BLGO) AOS Filter/Reactor disinfected water more than 100 times more effectively, and greater than 10 times faster than all known competing technologies. The studies also confirmed that the AOS Filter required less than 1/20th of the energy of the closest competitor. Researchers call the results related to disinfection, “unprecedented”.
The BioLargo AOS Filter is not just a one trick pony. The EPA lists over 100 troublesome contaminants and BioLargo’s system looks like it may be the best solution to help solve these problems. According to Ken Code, BioLargo’s Chief Scientific Officer, “The EPA has 133 listed problems, and our AOS Filter is the most cost effective solution known to tackle these contaminants.”
Professor Lynn McMullen evaluated the results and commented: “The AOS Filter technology could be highly efficient in solving food safety problems and may be applied to improve food quality with the potential to improve storage life. The potential applications of the BioLargo AOS filter in the food industry could be endless – from primary commodities to finished food products.”
McMullen further explained: “At the foundation of the AOS Filter is its efficiency in generating a highly oxidative state. The data supports its potential to accomplish high-level disinfection that can be useful in multiple markets including food processing and agriculture production. Extremely high levels of performance [disinfection] were achieved during testing, and we are excited to expand the work with BioLargo to other applications targeting food safety concerns.”
The AOS Filter uses molecular iodine and proven carbon filtration in conjunction with low-current electron flow. Depending on the application, the iodine could be added to the water as a nutrient or, if preferred, it can be removed in the treatment process to eliminate the delivery of residual iodine.
UV radiation and High Pressure Processing can reduce pathogens in food, but their high costs are slowing adoption. BioLargo’s AOS Filter, on the other hand, appears to not only yield unprecedented disinfection results, but its overall cost might remain low especially if it eliminates the need for costly chlorine-based systems. Manufacturers would likely be happy to be able to eliminate hazardous chlorine chemical systems, particularly if the new solution is cost-effective. Fast food chains will benefit when their suppliers adopt the AOS Filter technology because the disinfection is extremely effective and the cost is so low.
El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc. (LOCO) develops, franchises, licenses, and operates quick-service restaurants under the El Pollo Loco name in the United States. The company offers individual and family-sized chicken meals, Mexican-inspired entrees, sides, and, alternative proteins. As of December 30, 2015, it had approximately 420 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Arizona, California, Nevada, Texas, and Utah.
Since chicken is the primary meal served, and is well-known to be at risk of salmonella infection, the AOS Filter technology would be a tremendous benefit to to the company in salmonella risk mitigation.
Carrols Restaurant Group, Inc. (TAST) through its subsidiaries, operates as a Burger King restaurants franchisee in the United States. As of October 1, 2015, it operated 665 BURGER KING restaurants. Like Chipotle, Burger King has suffered from several outbreaks of E. coli. The low costAOS Filter disinfection technology could remove a great deal of risk for Carrol customers and shareholders.
Habit Restaurants, Inc. (HABT) operates fast casual restaurants under The Habit Burger Grill name in California, Arizona, Utah, and New Jersey. The company offers charbroiled hamburgers, specialty sandwiches, fresh salads, and shakes and malts. As of April 30, 2015, it operated 114 restaurants in 10 markets and is expanding into the Middle East. Like most restaurants, Habit Restaurants could reduce the risk of salmonella and E.Coli outbreaks affordably if they buy from suppliers that use theAOS Filter.
BioLargo intends to expand its focus to include commercial opportunities for its AOS Filter within the agriculture and food processing industry. The filter should be a major advance in disinfecting the water used in chill tanks for poultry processing, Clean-In-Process systems for poultry processing, and produce washing systems. Dennis Calvert, BioLargo CEO says, “We believe it will also be a cost-effective solution for disinfecting potentially contaminated water fed to livestock and a multitude of other applications in food processing.”
Frost & Sullivan recently announced they awarded BioLargo the North American Water Treatment New Product Innovation Award. The official award ceremony is scheduled for March of this year.
In 2013, Goldman Sachs estimated the size of the water treatment industry at over $300 billion. Continuing high levels of worldwide pollution and a persistent global drought are converging to drive global demand for cost-effective water treatment to levels that are likely to greatly exceed Goldman’s estimated $300 billion. With ownership of the already proven, lowest cost, highest impact water treatment on the verge of commercialization, and a very large worldwide demand for clean water, BioLargo is excitedly looking forward to solving some of the world’s greatest problems by, “Making Clean Water Affordable, and Making Food Safe.”
BioLargo has developed a number of iodine-based technologies that promise to impact both agriculture and the food industry. Its Isan System, currently coming to market under a license agreement with Clarion Water, has been called “the most important advancement in food processing in the past 20 years” for its role in managing post harvest disinfection. The Isan was named a Top 50 Water Company for the 21st Century” award by the Artemis Project and also won a Dupont Innovation Award for its role in food safety. Biolargo’s Cupridyne technology is finding its way to market as a sanitizer – cleaner – odor eliminator. By all accounts BioLargo is a company to watch for its role in keeping food safe as well as a host of other market applications.
BioLargo, Inc., is a “pure play” investment opportunity with exceptional leverage in the water treatment industry. The company expects to be commercializing their AOS Filter and Cupridyne in 2016 as shareholders look forward to being rewarded with early sales and exceptional potential.
For more information visit the company’s website at: http://biolargo.com
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