Japan, Canada and a number of European nations have recently introduced bans on gamma ray sterilization, but the company says it can still meet quality requirements by using ozone instead - a antibacterial agent it says is "aggressive but very safe".
According to Cecilia McCollum, Blue California's vice president of sales and marketing, the demand for non-irradiated ingredients increased tremendously this past year, creating a need for alternative sterilization methods.
"Our ozone system provides a very safe form of sterilization for our herbal powders and extracts, allowing us to offer safe non-irradiated ingredients that meet our customers' requirements," she said.
Ozone, created by applying electricity to the oxygen molecule, oxidizes and destroys bacteria. Since the only by-product of the sterilization process is oxygen, it is claimed to be a safe, efficient and environmentally friendly.
In fact, ozone sterilization is approved by the FDA for use in food processing. It has been used in the United States to treat bottled water for the past two decades, with no known safety issues, says Blue California.