Chiquita Unveils Biggest Invention Since Pre-Packaged Salads

Breakthrough FreshRinse™ Technology Sets New Standard

Food Safety Technology to be Made Available to Industry

Oct 15, 2010, 11:15 ET from Chiquita Brands International, Inc.

ORLANDO, Fla., Oct. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chiquita Brands (NYSE: CQB), today announced that following years of intensive research and investment, it is introducing a technology breakthrough for food safety and freshness.  The unveiled FreshRinse™ technology is a new produce wash that dramatically reduces microorganisms on leafy greens and better maintains freshness.  Of equal importance, as part of Chiquita's longstanding commitment to public health and raising industry food safety standards, FreshRinse™ will be made available for license to the entire industry.

"Based on our extensive research, we view FreshRinse as the biggest invention since the start of pre-packaged salads," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer.  "FreshRinse sets a new standard in food safety for the produce industry. We continue to deliver breakthrough innovations and we plan to make this new technology available to the industry.  We want consumers and customers to know they have an important new option when making purchase decisions."

FreshRinse™ is a scientifically validated advancement for fresh produce safety that delivers a substantial reduction in microorganisms on leafy greens, including superior microbial efficacy against such pathogens as Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes and E. coli O157:H7, as compared to the industry's conventional chlorine sanitizers.

FreshRinse™, when compared to traditional chlorine sanitizers, has been found to be of superior microbial efficacy and to better maintain freshness.  After rigorous testing, including challenge studies on suspended and attached pathogen cells, FreshRinse™ results indicated substantial reduction of food borne pathogens like Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and E. coli O157:H7 than chlorine sanitizers, with a third-party pathogen study performed by the National Center for Food Safety and Technology.

In attached cell testing, FreshRinse™ technology was shown to deliver a higher reduction for certain pathogens on certain leafy greens versus chlorine produce washes.

FreshRinse™ was shown to reduce nine times or more of E. coli O157:H7 and Salmonella for Romaine lettuce and Spinach versus chlorine produce washes.  For example, FreshRinse™ reduced 78 times more Salmonella that were attached on Romaine lettuce leaves.  FreshRinse™ also secondarily resulted in more than 750 times greater reduction of suspended pathogens compared to chlorinated wash water.

Leading food safety experts who act as advisors to Fresh Express have reviewed the FreshRinse™ Technology:

  • Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy and professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
  • Dr. David Acheson, MD, managing director, food and import safety, Leavitt Partners, former US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) associate commissioner for food safety and former FDA chief medical officer
  • Dr. Robert Buchanan, director and professor, University of Maryland Center for Food Safety & Security Systems; formerly, senior science advisor and director, Office of Science, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA

Mike Burness, vice president for global food safety and quality reiterated the breakthrough nature of the technology and confirmed that significant research had been conducted to demonstrate its effectiveness in a real-world environment, under processing conditions, and conforming to current industry manufacturing standards.  

"The results we've seen have shown that FreshRinse™ delivers outstanding improvements in food safety for leafy greens," said Burness.  "We are also very pleased that, after reviewing the technology, we have had such reinforcing responses from Drs. Osterholm, Acheson and Buchanan – three world renowned experts in food safety."

The FreshRinse™ technology is a distinctive invention developed through years of intensive research by Fresh Express principal scientist Dr. Kai-Lai Grace Ho, with support from the company's R&D, food safety, innovations, engineering and manufacturing teams.  FreshRinse™ is a combination of Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) and an FDA-approved ingredient that significantly enhances pathogen reduction and retains freshness.  It is acceptable for use on both conventional and organic produce. FreshRinse™ has the potential for far-reaching and meaningful future applications and is an environmentally friendly technology.  Ingredients will decompose to environmentally safe and friendly compounds that pose no harm to the environment.

Commercial application for FreshRinse™ has been scientifically validated during the past five months, working seamlessly under salad manufacturing conditions and yielding positive consumer experiences. With FreshRinse™, fresh produce does not undergo the chlorine sanitation process and therefore better retains its natural color and aroma.

In order to provide information about the benefits of this new technology, Fresh Express targeted the largest gathering of produce executives in the nation – the Produce Marketing Association's (PMA) Fresh Summit – for the FreshRinse™ debut, thereby ensuring that both large and small produce businesses have the opportunity to learn about this new technology.  In addition, Fresh Express is planning to integrate a major consumer education program, including significant television and print advertising and other outreach activities to inform consumers about the important food safety and quality benefits of FreshRinse™.

Fresh Express is the nation's No. 1 salad producer and has been a leader in fresh foods for more than 80 years. Fresh Express is dedicated to providing consumers with healthy, convenient ready-to-eat spinach, salads, vegetables and fruits. For more information, visit www.freshexpress.com.

ABOUT CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products – from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of $3.5 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 23,000 people and has operations in nearly 80 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit our corporate web site at www.chiquitabrands.com.

SOURCE Chiquita Brands International, Inc.



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