Olive Farmer Discovers Super Sanitizer: Can It Treat Foot Fungus Too?

Several years ago, Merritt Erickson of Orland, California was an olive and almond farmer looking for a better way to kill botulism and preserve his fresh olives. He developed a revolutionary new sanitizer along with his friend and colleague, Dr. James Postma, a professor of biochemistry at California State University at Chico. They called the sanitizer “Organic Chico Wash” and obtained FDA approval to clean produce and wash cow teats. However, the team believes the application of their discovery can be much more far-reaching — treating warts, foot fungus, and ringworm as well.

organic chico wash

Merritt Erickson has developed a super sanitizer for agriculture with possible cosmetic applications as well.
Image Source: Chicoer.com

The Science Behind Organic Chico Wash

Erickson and Postma spent a total of nine years working on the product and conducting tests that would ultimately lead to FDA approval. After using the solution on his own produce, he found that olives could retain their color and texture for months. Furthermore, Erickson’s technology helped the Almond Board of California and Blue Diamond Growers combat a salmonella outbreak.

The wash — which contains citric and ascorbic acids — kills pathogens at a higher rate than the 99.9% effective chlorine solutions currently used to cleanse produce. Erickson says that products advertising 99.99% effectiveness against microbes sound impressive, but that means for every 1 million bacteria, 100 bacterial cells still remain. Even so, that is considered the industry standard for sanitization. Chlorine only has 99.9% efficiency, leaving 1,000 bacterial cells behind. By comparison, Erickson’s product boasts up to a seven-log kill rate of 99.99999%. Best of all, there is no residue left behind on food.

“Their work is encouraging,” said Trevor Suslow, a scientist from University of California’s Extension Service who works with the Center for Produce Safety. “All of us [in the food safety sector] look forward to seeing their data package for the efficacy of the product relative to other chemistries.” He added that low pH factor substances like citric acid have long been known to kill off potential foodborne pathogens, but the most recent studies showing Chico Wash’s ability to “maintain kill power on background microflora” after 30 uses was impressive.

Sanitizer Applications Run Far & Wide

Researchers at California Microbiological Consulting Inc. determined that the wash disinfected at 10 times the industry standard, which got the inventors to thinking that the applications for such an efficient natural sanitizer could run far and wide. Most recently, the EPA approved the wash for use in janitorial cleaning and The California Department of Pesticide Regulation gave its approval to be used on food processing equipment, pools, tanks, floors, walls, trucks, and trailers. Now he is pursuing ways to get his product into water delivery systems as an alternative to chlorine. He is also seeking approval to use the science in the development of beauty products and antifungal medication.

Word of Mouth & Bureaucratic Obstacles

It’s taken three years and $1 million of his own money to get this product off the ground. Many parties are interested, but approval from government health and regulatory agencies are dragging out the process. Erickson is pitching to big companies like Johnson & Johnson and food processors to see who may adopt his sanitizer and throw some financing his way. Most organizations are used to chlorine-based solutions and are unaware of the new sanitization method.

A Word About SteriShoe, a Natural Method of Preventing Foot Fungus

We love stories about super effective sanitizers and great inventions! Just as the Organic Chico Wash is a more effective sanitizer for agriculture, the SteriShoe UV shoe sanitizer is a more effective sanitizer for shoes. Our device has the industry standard 99.9% kill rate, so you may not kill every pathogen in your shoes during the first pass. However, with regular daily use, you can hit all the microbes you may have missed the first time around. The SteriShoe UV light sanitizer is the most effective product on the market to sanitize shoes and prevent foot fungus recurrence.

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