Thursday, January 17, 2019

Case Studies: Decontamination of Dairy Plants in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia


Food processors around the world are increasingly demanding tighter ingredient specifications and consistent ingredient performance to meet new product developments as well as facility and equipment upgrades. That is in addition to withstanding the already challenging distribution and storage conditions. Milk powder specifications, specifically spore contamination levels, have been barriers to expanding trade in certain application segments. That was particularly the case in Southeast Asia, where end users cited inconsistencies and lax specifications in some U.S. products. Spores—which can significantly affect product quality and lead to taste, texture and appearance defects—were at the center of those criticisms. There is no silver bullet when it comes to spore control, but implementing an effective cleaning system to remove residual product, fouling and microbes, including spore-formers from processing facilities, will minimize re-contamination from run to run.

New Zealand exports about 95% of its dairy production. Australia exports nearly half of the milk that it produces, making it the third largest exporter behind the EU and New Zealand. In the US, exports of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose totaled 161,882 metric tons, equivalent to 14.9 percent of U.S. milk production in June (2016), according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council. With each dairy producing country (US/NZ/AU) increasing its exports, contaminations can significantly impact the bottom line.

ClorDiSys Solutions and its partners are positioned around the world to help eliminate these contaminations and ensure product quality and safety. Some facilities have implemented procedures to execute fumigations of their facilities on a yearly, bi-yearly, or other routine basis. This supplements the regular wash-down procedures which are currently employed by facilities. By utilizing chlorine dioxide gas, the chances of a contamination drastically decline as the gas is able to reach all surfaces and eliminate all organisms everywhere. These are just some of the dairy facilities that have been decontaminated by ClorDiSys.

CREAMERY
This 1,000,000 ft3 (28,000m3) facility consisted of New Powder Warehouse, Old Powder Warehouse, Tote Packaging, Stork Dryer, Delaval Dryer, MCC and Bin room.  The Dryer areas both consisted of ceiling heights greater than 90 ft (27m) with various equipment and access platforms. 

PROTEIN POWDER REFINING AND PACKAGING FACILITY
This 300,000 ft3 (8,500 m3) facility consisted of a small packaging room, a mixing room, and a Dryer Room. The Dryer Room was 70ft (21m) in height and consisted of various processing equipment with access platforms. Even after thorough cleaning and liquid decontamination, a persistent salmonella problem could not be eradicated until gaseous chlorine dioxide was used.

BUTTER FACILITY
This facility required decontaminations of an aseptic room of approximately 9,000 ft3 (255 m3), 2 processing vessels (Tank #8V, and Tank #9V) and all piping leading to and from the area of approximately 8,500 ft3 (241 m3) and an additional room of approximately 10,000 ft3 (283 m3).

ICE CREAM FACILITY
This 1,300,000 ft3 (36,812 m3) facility consisted of Several Production Areas (4), Sandwich Mezzanine, Re Run Room, Old Kitchen, Kitchen 1st and 2nd floor, Old 40 Degree Room, New 40 Degree Room, 40 Degree Room, several Tank Alley’s, and CIP room.

MILK POWDER FACILITY (Large Dairy Co-op)
This 578,000 ft3 (16,367 m3) facility consisted of Niro Room, Bin Room, Recon Room, Packaging Room and Control room.

To read more about the decontamination of dairy facilities, click here. We are also hosting a Food Facility Decontamination Service webinar on Thursday, March 7th with other industry applications.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

A Note for Those with Fitness-focused New Year's Resolutions

Why Your Home Gym Might Not Be As Clean As You Think
Guest Post written by Karoline Gore

A whopping 65% of Americans prefer to work out at home rather than at the gym, according to Augusta Free Press. Instead, 25.51 million individuals do in-home gym exercise, reports Statista. However, with research revealing that free weights typically carry 362 times more bacteria than a public toilet, it’s essential that you use decontaminants such as chlorine dioxide to keep your personal gym equipment clean.

Ditch your shoes
Professor of Microbiology, Charles P. Gerba states that within three months of wear, 13% of shoes carry E.coli. Meanwhile, 90% of footwear is contaminated by feces, which typically carries the streptococcal virus. This virus most commonly causes strep throat. Therefore, it's important that your outdoor shoes are kept away from your home gym. It's best practice to remove your shoes at the front door and to have another pair which are solely used inside your personal gym. But if this isn't possible, a deep clean of your floors should be carried out using an effective sterilant.

Give your treadmill the attention it deserves
Research into the bacteria harbored on treadmills has revealed that they carry 64 times more bacteria than a public bathroom faucet. And it's easy to see why, as when sweat travels down your body, it picks up bacteria and fungi. After each use, you should wipe your treadmill down with a clean cloth and disinfectant spray to remove bacteria from the machine. You should also utilize a chlorine dioxide gas cleaning service on a regular basis to give your equipment a deep clean. Meanwhile, you can protect your home gym and treadmill equipment by using a treadmill mat beneath your treadmill. This will stop sweat and bacteria from falling on the floor and transferring to your other equipment.

Eradicate germs on your hands
Individuals encounter 60,000 germs on a daily basis. Typically, you’ll come into contact with germs when handling money, opening doors and pressing elevator buttons. Germs can live from anywhere between a few hours to days. Therefore, before you enter your home gym, it’s wise to thoroughly wash your hands with antibacterial soap and water to prevent any bacteria that are lurking on your hands from transferring onto your gym equipment and multiplying. You should also consume immune system boosting nutrients.

Home gyms are a great way for exercise enthusiasts to get fit. However, you must be aware of the potential amount of germs and bacteria that can be found on your gym equipment. Thankfully, with a thorough cleaning routine and by taking precautions, your home gym will be a safe and sterile environment, and you can continue your exercise routines with peace of mind.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Excited for an Event-Filled 2019

Happy New Year! We have a lot planned for 2019, and we are thrilled to share the variety of events and educational opportunities we have scheduled with you.

Webinars
Every month, we offer complimentary webinars regarding contamination control.  These 30-minute presentations range from the introduction to chlorine dioxide gas and ultraviolet light to more specific webinars detailing industry applications such as disinfecting items into a cleanroom and the inactivation of pinworm eggs, beta-lactams, and amplicons.  Click here to see the upcoming webinars and to sign up.

Workshops
We offer free contamination control workshops across the United States. These educational seminars explore the various methods of disinfection and sterilization available, allowing you to make informed decisions when reviewing your contamination control plan. Focus will be given to chlorine dioxide gas, which is at the forefront of keeping facilities cleaner and safer than ever before, as well as ultraviolet light disinfection. See if we will be in a city near you!

  • March 26 – Philadelphia, PA
  • March 27 – Rockville, MD
  • April 9 – Des Moines, IA
  • April 10 – Kansas City, MO
  • May 20 – Minneapolis, MN
  • June 6 – Chicago, IL
  • June 25 – Boston, MA
  • June 26 – Hartford, CT

To register for one of these workshops, click here.

Conferences & Trade Shows
We are hosting the third annual Food Safety and Microbiology Conference February 24th to the 27th in Atlanta, Georgia. Curated in partnership with Kornacki Microbiology Solutions, this 2.5 day event delivers high-level problem solving sessions featuring a mix of regulatory information, microbiological tips and tricks, and innovative solutions in order to provide clear takeaways which will help your company operate cleaner, safer, and more efficient than ever before.

February is also the start of our trade show season. Whether it is a tabletop display, a 10’ x 20’ booth, or an opportunity to present, we certainly stay busy and welcome the opportunity to reconnect with clients and hopefully engage some new prospects as well. We attend too many conferences to list here, but visit our website to see where we might cross paths.

Our calendar of events is always changing, so keep an eye out for new additions, and we hope to see you somewhere in 2019!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Ultraviolet Light Disinfection within Doctor's Offices

Risk of Contamination at the Doctor’s

Germs and disease can be spread anywhere, but public places have a higher potential to become a transmission point due to their large transient population. One of the most high-risk public places are doctor’s offices, because of the high volume of sick visitors coming in contact with many items and surfaces. Guidelines for Disease Control and Prevention in the Physician’s Office reveal that tools such as stethoscopes have been shown to be frequently contaminated with antibiotic resistant organisms such as MRSA and VRE1. Stethoscopes are used on most, if not all, patients. Additional studies have determined ballpoint pens, patient charts, tablet computers, computer keyboards and computer mice can also be contaminated with infectious agents. These items are rarely cleaned and can easily transfer disease to patients and staff due to their frequent use and tendency to be shared. In pediatric offices, there is a major concern regarding the toys kept in the waiting area, as contamination of toys by fecal coliforms, rotavirus and other pathogens has been well documented in hospitals, physician’s offices, and day care centers2. Additionally, with sick patients prone to coughing, sneezing, and vomiting, the aerosolization of germs and disease are another area of concern for transmission between patients and to staff.  Not only can infections be spread through the air, but airborne transmission can cause infections to land on surfaces besides the common touchpoints and travel greater distances.

UV Applications within a Healthcare Facility 

Ultraviolet (UV) light provides chemical-free, liquid-free disinfection proven effective against viruses, bacteria, molds, and spores. UV light can be effective on surfaces that are harder to wipe down, such as remotes, knobs, keyboards, etc. When UV light is used, the exposure can be observed through a window to safely and easily determine if critical surfaces are being adequately exposed to light. This is contrary to spray and wipe methods which are extremely difficult to determine if an area has been missed.

In the waiting and exam rooms, the Torch-Aire allows for continuous disinfection of the room’s air.  The device is quiet, effective, and safe to operate continuously throughout the day, even with patients and staff in the room.  The Torch-Aire simply pulls the room air through a UV treatment tunnel which disinfects it and returns it back into the room. Room surfaces can be disinfected by a variety of UV disinfection towers, including the Torch and Torch+.  These UV systems are able to provide a 99% reduction of many harmful organisms within 5 minutes. For areas needing special attention, the Torch-Flex and Torch Double-Flex are capable of applying UV disinfection within tight spaces and focused areas. If a permanent UV system is desired, the Flashbar can be installed in the room to provide an even simpler UV system for routine disinfection.  Components, equipment, office accessories, and even toys, can be placed in a Flashbox, or for smaller items, a Flashbox-mini.  These devices allow items to be placed inside them and quickly be exposed to UV-C light for disinfection in as little as 1 minute.

Relying on cleaners coming in nightly is not enough to provide your patients the best protection from germs that they deserve. Ultraviolet light disinfection methods provide a low cost, simple approach to address areas often unable to be properly cleaned otherwise. In order to provide the best quality of care for patients and reduce the risk of spreading germs, a clean and healthy patient environment is essential. Your patients and staff will all benefit from knowing that they are being protected while in your office. 

1. Canada, Provincial Health Services Authority, BC Centre for Disease Control. (2004). Guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control in the Physician’s Office.

2. Paediatr Child Health. 2008 May; 13(5): 408–419.  

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Case Study: Decontamination of an ABSL-3 Facility and its Ductwork

A university’s ABSL-3 area was set to be renovated.  The laboratory had been used for research with tuberculosis (TB) and needed to be decontaminated before it could undergo extensive renovation. The associated ductwork also required decontamination prior to demolition of the existing exhaust system.  Removing contaminated ductwork is a complicated and difficult task, and it proved easier and more cost effective to decontaminate the ductwork along with the laboratory prior to removal of the existing ductwork. Current decontamination methods for rooms include manual spraying and wiping with chemical disinfectants or the application of formaldehyde gas, hydrogen peroxide vapor, or chlorine dioxide gas. When ductwork is also involved in the decontamination, the methods that are practical for implementation become more limited.

The manual spray/ wipe method was ruled out very quickly. Personnel must spray each and every surface with the decontaminating agent, ensure sufficient coverage with the sprayed liquid, allow the agent to remain on the surface for the specified contact time (typically 10-20 minutes), and then wipe the surface. This method seems extremely prone to human error, especially when considering the difficulty in accessing every interior surface in the ductwork. Formaldehyde gas was considered as a possible method as it is effective over a broad range of organisms, has relatively low cost, and can effectively reach applicable surfaces due to its gaseous properties. However, formaldehyde is listed as a potential carcinogen by the U.S. EPA and as carcinogenic to humans by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It also requires neutralization and manual wiping of the potentially harmful neutralization byproduct, consisting of paraformaldehyde and/or the neutralization product. Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) was another method evaluated. VPHP is an effective sterilant under ideal conditions but has the potential for inconsistent distribution where temperature gradients exist or where small areas (like the inside of ductwork) trap the movement of vapors and create condensation. Additionally, VPHP has been known to break down upon contact with galvanized metal such as that used in this project’s ductwork. These potential drawbacks led project leadership to seek other options. 


Chlorine dioxide gas (CD) was evaluated. It is not carcinogenic and does not leave a residue.  It has a yellowish-green color, which allows its concentration to be precisely monitored and controlled by a UV-VIS spectrophotometer.  This permits effective process control of the decontamination cycle, because concentration parameters can be established and validated.  CD has broad biological efficacy and has been approved for use as a sterilant by the US EPA.  As a gas, CD is not susceptible to temperature gradients, and CD does not condense at typical ambient temperatures or upon contact with the metals found in ductwork. As such, ClorDiSys Solutions, Inc. was selected for the project using chlorine dioxide gas.


After evacuation of all occupants, animals and disposable supplies from the area, the HVAC system was modified to allow for containment and re-circulation of CD. The decontamination process consisted of a humidification phase where steam generators were placed in the areas to raise and hold 65%-75% Rh for over of 30 minutes. Once the areas were humidified, the steam generators were shut off, and the gassing cycle was initiated. The cycle progressed until the concentration reached the target concentration of 1 mg/liter (360 PPM). This was achieved in approximately 75 minutes. At this time, the gas source was turned off, and the concentration held in the areas for a minimum of two hours, achieving a minimum exposure of 720 PPM-hrs. After the two-hour contact time, aeration was initiated by temporarily reconnecting the room exhaust duct to the building exhaust riser. The aeration continued until the CD levels were below the detection level of the concentration monitoring system. When the levels within the project area were at or below 0.1 PPM, (approximately 20 minutes) the areas were entered.  


The results of the decontamination cycle were successful and yielded a total dosage greater than 1090 ppm-hour exposure of chlorine dioxide gas.  This level is more than adequate to provide a 6-log sporicidal reduction referenced in various published sources.  Demolition of the ductwork started the next day.


ClorDiSys Solutions’ gaseous CD is the safest and most effective way to decontaminate your BSL-3 and BSL-4 laboratories, passthroughs, chambers, biological safety cabinets, HEPA filters and any other lab spaces. To learn more about our process and its applications, click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Top Reasons to Attend the 2019 Food Safety & Microbiology Conference

The 2019 Food Safety and Microbiology Conference is a 2.5 day event that delivers high-level problem solving sessions in order to elevate food safety programs and address emerging food safety issues. This is the third year ClorDiSys Solutions and Kornacki Microbiology Solutions is hosting the conference with the location changing each time. In 2019, we will be at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta, Georgia from February 24th to the 27th. Here are five reasons why anyone responsible for designing and implementing food safety, HACCP, or preventive controls programs should attend:

LEARN FROM FOOD SAFETY EXPERTS & INDUSTRY LEADERS
You'll be able to meet, listen to, and learn from world class speakers with a variety of backgrounds. These industry, academic, and governmental food safety professionals will be available outside of their presentation times for introductions and additional questions. Confirmed speakers include:

  • Art Liang - Senior Advisor for Food Safety, CDC
  • Dina Scott - Total Quality Manager, Darden Restaurant Group
  • Duane Grassmann - Corporate Hygiene Manager, Nestle USA
  • Michele Sayles - Executive Director of Food Safety and Quality, Diamond Pet Food
  • Dr. Francisco Diez-Gonzalez - Director of the Center for Food Safety, University of Georgia
  • Melissa Calicchia - Chief Science Officer, Food Microbiological Laboratories


WORLD CLASS CONTENT
The agenda will feature a mix of regulatory information, microbiological tips and tricks, and innovative solutions in order to provide a well-rounded balance for all attendees.  Upon leaving, you'll have clear takeaways which will help improve your company operate cleaner, safer, and more efficient than ever before.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Get ready for some Southern hospitality, because this year’s conference is taking place at the Emory Conference Center Hotel in Atlanta. Nestled next to Hahn Woods, a peaceful 26-acre nature preserve, the hotel’s location is the ideal combination of a tranquil and convenient. When you aren’t attending our conference sessions, take advantage of the on-site amenities including in-room dining, two restaurants, fitness center, indoor pool, and outdoor fire pit. Explore nearby hiking and bike trails, historic attractions and monuments, or go shopping at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza.

HAVE FUN WITH YOUR FOOD INDUSTRY PEERS
This Annual Conference is a lot of learning packed into a short amount of time, but you’ll also have opportunities to relax and get to know your industry peers. Don’t miss our Welcome Reception at Wisteria Lanes! Wisteria Lanes is a private, retro-styled bowling alley located at the Emory Conference Center Hotel featuring six full-service bowling lanes, a video gaming station, large screen televisions, billiard tables and shuffleboard. Admission to reception is included in your registration fee.  Outside of Sunday’s Welcome Reception and our Monday Happy Hour, there will be other opportunities for networking and getting to know your fellow attendees.

Registration is $995 per person with discounted group and government rates available. Registration can be completed at www.foodsafetycon.com or by completing this registration form. We hope to see you in February!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Liquid Chlorine Dioxide Solutions

Chlorine dioxide has been recognized as a disinfectant since the early 1900s and has been approved by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for many applications across a variety of industries. Liquid chlorine dioxide is very versatile and can be used to wipe down surfaces, fog, pour down drains, and more. Fogging is a simple, affordable approach to decontaminate a space, but it will not penetrate as perfectly as chlorine dioxide gas into every space in a facility, but fogging can be useful dependent on your facility’s needs. Adding liquid chlorine dioxide to drains is crucial, because these hot spots harbor harmful organisms likely to spread to other areas causing a more widespread issue. Chlorine dioxide is especially effective at biofilm removal, so adding the continued use of liquid chlorine dioxide to your company’s sanitation program will dramatically reduce and prevent biofilm formation.

CSI 3000™ is an EPA-registered (#75757-2) pure chlorine dioxide concentrate. No on-site mixing or “activation” is required, just dilute from the 3000 ppm to the necessary concentration. It is easier to apply, safer to handle, and more effective than chlorine or bromine-based products. It is used to control microorganisms in food, research, production, pharmaceutical and agricultural applications.


More specialized applications include:

  • Treatment of potable water for human consumption
  • Treatment of ventilation systems, industrial air washers, humidifiers, and evaporative coolers
  • Fruit and vegetable wash
  • Process water for vegetable rinses, tanks, and lines
  • Sanitizer for food contact surfaces, including bottling plants
  • Treatment of incubator rooms, hatching room, and egg rooms
  • Treatment for red meat including parts and organs including ready to eat meats
  • Stainless Steel transfer lines, hydrocoolers, and pasteurizers
  • Lube additive to control bacterial lime and odor on conveyors and chains
  • Treatment of animal transport vehicles
  • Disinfection of animal confinement facilities
  • Treatment of agricultural storage facilities

Liquid chlorine dioxide can complement your everyday cleaning practices. To learn more about the applications and benefits, click here or call ClorDiSys at (908) 236-4100.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Use of Portable Decontamination Chambers

The Portable Chlorine Dioxide Gas Decontamination Chamber is an easily transportable, sealed chamber designed for use in any governmental, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, laboratory, research or surgical setting. It offers the ability to decontaminate small and medium sized equipment and components inside a portable unit rather than in an entire room or a large fixed chamber. The portable decontamination chamber is used in conjunction with a chlorine dioxide generator to provide a rapid and highly effective method of sterilization and transport items under aseptic conditions to a different part of your facility. It also offers a way to sterilize components within the room where they are kept to minimize the chance for cross-contamination. The CD generation equipment is also easily portable and features a sophisticated sterilant concentration monitoring system to assure a tightly controlled sterilization process that is easy to validate due to the repeatable cycle.

The portable decontamination chamber contains removable shelving inside to handle multiple or large components such as computers, electronics, medical devices, sterile products, and instruments. The chamber has HEPA filtered air intakes to keep components sterile after decontamination. It can connect to your facility’s exhaust system for direct aeration or utilize an integrated carbon scrubber to remove the gas from the chamber. Custom sizing is available to fit the facility’s needs. Decontamination time can be under 90 minutes for a 63 ft3 (1.8 m3) chamber and costs under $7 in consumables per cycle.

To learn more, visit our product page or request a portable decontamination chamber quote.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Method Comparison: Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde has many properties which make it a highly effective sterilizing agent. The earliest reports of its use as a fumigant date back to the 1880s, and it has remained the chemical of choice for laboratory fumigation for decades. Like chlorine dioxide, formaldehyde is a true gas that has excellent distribution and penetration completely filling any area it is injected into. However, to be effective, formaldehyde requires long contact times (on the order of 6-12 hours), and the gas requires a post-exposure neutralization step after the contact time is completed. This neutralization step leaves residuals which must be cleaned after the decontamination.

Formaldehyde usage may be simple and inexpensive, but concerns exist over its toxicity and carcinogenicity. In fact, the European Union has banned its use in certain applications. Formaldehyde is a toxic chemical that is classified as a Group 1 human carcinogen. Largely for these reasons, formaldehyde is being used less and less for decontamination.  Gaseous chlorine dioxide is being chosen by many facilities as a safer and more effective fumigation alternative.

Learn more here from a 2011 study that compared six different microbial fumigation methods with the goal to evaluate the biocidal efficacy of alternatives to formaldehyde.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Can You See CD?

Chlorine dioxide (CD) is a greenish-yellow gas with a chlorine-like odor recognized since the beginning of the 20th century for its disinfecting properties. At every installation and service decontamination that we have done, people are always excited to see the room or chamber filled with the yellow-green gas. The visibility confirms the fact that chlorine dioxide gas gets great distribution. It also provides a safety advantage, as the gas is recognizable inside the space, so it is visually known to be unsafe to enter.


Due to its yellow-green color, chlorine dioxide gas can be measured using a highly accurate uv-vis spectrophotometer.  The photometer shines a light through a sample of chlorine dioxide gas taken from the area being decontaminated and measures how much light was absorbed by the CD Gas.  CD Gas becomes darker in color the higher the concentration becomes, which in turn blocks more of the source light.  The photometer then converts the amount of light absorbed into a numerical value for the CD Gas concentration.  This method of concentration monitoring is highly accurate as it focuses on a specific wavelength of light, and is able to handle fluctuations in concentration rapidly compared to chemical sensors.  Measuring the concentration of gas at a single location within a space is able to accurately provide the true concentration of gas at all locations within the space. 

Learn more about the process and benefits of chlorine dioxide gas decontamination on November 13th or December 11th at our CD 101 webinar.

Friday, November 2, 2018

The Dirty Secret Of Commercial Kitchens Exposed

Guest Post written by Karoline Gore

Around 48 million illnesses and 3,000 deaths are caused every year by food contamination in the United States alone. This is quite alarming as today’s technological advancements and exposure to safe cleaning methods should drop these figures down to the bare minimum. Although sourcing meat and produce from reputable establishments is a start, one of the best places to stop the spreading of harmful bacteria is in a commercial kitchen.

Dirt Traps In Commercial Kitchens

With 50% of foodborne diseases linked to restaurants, it’s important that restaurateurs know which areas are known for causing trouble. Countertops, cutting boards and prep surfaces all need a good clean and it’s important to have designated prep areas for the different types of food. But these are obvious areas that deserve special attention. An area that doesn’t really garner that much attention is the knife block, which is said to carry as much as nine times the bacteria of a bathroom floor. Other areas worth mentioning include floor joints and grouting, loose seals on countertops, and the vegetable storage rack.

Restaurant Patrons Unknowingly Exposed

Although patrons are aware that menus are high carriers for a number of bacteria and germs, another item that reaches the table less than sanitized is a glass, particularly the rim of the glass. While crockery often gets a thorough clean with industrial equipment that uses high heat and steam to sanitize, germs get right back on the glass when staff handle the glasses for serving. Glasses are the sixth most popular place for germs to lurk and if it happens to have a slice of lemon, this figure goes up substantially. Pathogens simply move from one spot to another.

Cold Rooms And Fridges Deserve A Thorough Clean

While rotting produce and meat that’s gone beyond its use-by date are obvious targets when it comes to a good cold room cleanout, these areas require more than just a quick clean. According to The National Sanitation Foundation, there are a number of germs that lurk in these depths, making a deep clean imperative. In the vegetable department, restaurateurs can expect to find salmonella, yeast, listeria, and mold. The meat compartment may contain salmonella, E.coli, yeast, and mold.

Keeping a commercial kitchen clean is imperative for the safety of the staff and patrons. Regular hand wash and disinfectant stations, as well as a good housekeeping regime, should keep bacteria at bay.

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Fragility of Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor

In April 2018, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency issued a statement regarding the sterilization of direct and indirect product contact items within isolators*.  Specifically, the organization addressed the use of hydrogen peroxide vapor (VPHP) for the sterilization of direct and indirect parts and process’ overall fragility.  The agency mentioned how VPHP can fail due to very minor occlusions, with even the fatty acids from a fingerprint are able to shield organisms from VPHP.  The position paper built on this by considering that some product contact parts (both direct and indirect) are designed in such a way that makes it difficult for hydrogen peroxide vapor to penetrate them thoroughly.  They conclude that their stance is such that hydrogen peroxide vapor cannot be used to sterilize critical items.  The MHRA then states that their expectation is that contact parts are sterilized using a robust sterilization method that meets the current requirements of Annex 1 of the EU and PIC/X GMPS for the manufacture of sterile medicinal products.  They describe a robust sterilization method as one that “reaches all of the critical surfaces in a consistent and repeatable manner.”

To read the full post,  click here.

To learn more about how chlorine dioxide gas can help accommodate this application, sign up for our upcoming webinars on Isolator Decontamination and Comparing CD Gas vs. Hydrogen Peroxide Vapor taking place over the next few weeks.

*They define indirect product contact parts as those that come into contact with items and components which do contact the product (i.e stoppers). Direct contact parts are those that the product passes through, such as pumps and filling needles.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Decontamination Services & Applications: Life Science Industry

Chlorine dioxide (CD) gas can be utilized for a multitude of applications in the lab animal and life science industry. It is non-carcinogenic, residue-free, and safer on materials than bleach, ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and common liquid chlorine dioxide solutions. CD is not affected by environmental factors such as temperature, and is not subject to dew-point or condensation issues making it a versatile decontamination agent and allowing it to stay effective in all types of environments, including both ambient and vacuum pressure. Gaseous systems provide the ability to achieve a complete distribution and thorough penetration to each and every surface, including visible and invisible cracks and crevices. Some of the more common industry applications include animal holding rooms, BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs, biological safety cabinets, passthroughs, isolators, air handling units/ductwork, micro labs, and necropsy rooms.

Entire Facility Case Study:
ClorDiSys' chlorine dioxide gas technology allows for a complete decontamination of your facility, with minimal equipment and minimal downtime. A 170,000 ft3 new university research facility was decontaminated upon completion of construction and prior to the commencement of operations. Equipment and supplies were brought into the space as well, so that they would be exposed and decontaminated concurrently. ClorDiSys was able to fumigate the facility and eliminate any organisms present while providing sporicidal kill of Biological Indicators (comprised of 1 million Bacillus atrophaeus spores) to ensure the process was successful. The entire process took two days, one day for setup and one day for decontamination and clean-up.

BSL-3 Lab Case Study:
A BSL-3 influenza laboratory undergoes a yearly decontamination using chlorine dioxide gas during a facility shutdown. All equipment is left within the space during the process, as the gas is safe on materials and will reach all surfaces within the lab. This provided a large time savings as each piece of equipment did not need to be treated individually in an autoclave or other pass-through system. Results are shown through the placement of 40 biological indicators as various locations throughout the lab. Some locations include closed drawers, inside and behind biological safety cabinets, underneath tabletop equipment, as well as easy locations such as floors, ceilings and walls.

To learn more, attend our “Life Science and Pharmaceutical Facility Decontamination Services” webinar on Thursday, October 25th, visit Booth #1903 at the AALAS National Meeting in Baltimore, or visit our website’s Applications page.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Eradication of Pinworm Eggs with Chlorine Dioxide

Pinworms are common contaminants of laboratory animal facilities. Pinworm infections can have adverse effects on behavior, growth, intestinal physiology, and immunology of experimental rodents, making effective pinworm surveillance and eradication important for many facilities. However, eradication of such infections is complicated by the ova’s ability to aerosolize and remain viable in the environment for lengthy periods. Pinworm eggs are microscopic and have been found on equipment, shelving, in dust, and in ventilation air intake ducts. The University of Tennessee at Knoxville performed a study on chlorine dioxide gas’ effect on pinworm eggs to see if it was a viable option for treating contaminated spaces.

Prior to this study, only ethylene oxide gas and dry heat had been proven to eliminate pinworm eggs.  Ethylene oxide is not used for space fumigation due to its carcinogenic and explosive properties, and it is very difficult to uniformly establish and maintain the high temperatures needed for dry heat (212° F held for 30 minutes) to be effective. In a controlled study, Syphacia spp. ova were affixed to a slide and exposed to a set concentration of chlorine dioxide gas for varying amounts of time. After being exposed to chlorine dioxide gas, the ova were placed in petri dishes, covered with a hatching medium, and incubated at 37° C for six hours. Positive control ova not exposed to chlorine dioxide gas were also processed and incubated.

The parameters to achieve a 6 log level kill of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores are normally 1 mg/L chlorine dioxide gas (360 parts per million or ppm) for 2 hours of exposure contact time.  This equates to a 720 ppm-hours (360 ppm x 2 hours) chlorine dioxide gas dosage.  It was found that a dosage twice as long (1440 ppm-hour) was needed in order to eliminate all viable ova from hatching. All ClO2 treatment times significantly decreased the hatching rates of the ova. Below is a table showing the results of the study: 

Exposure time
Chlorine DioxideGas Dosage
% of Syphacia, spp. ova hatched
Treated with CD Gas
Untreated(Positive Control)
1 hour
360 ppm-hour
14%
71%
2 hours
720 ppm-hour
12%
82.5%
3 hours
1080 ppm-hour
2%
80.5%
4 hours
1440 ppm-hour
0%
83%

To learn more about gaseous chlorine dioxide's effectiveness against pinworm eggs, visit Booth #1903 at this month's AALAS National Meeting or read the complete Journal of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science article here.


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Case Study: Electron Microscope Decontamination

An electron microscope can be used to study dangerous biological organisms. Occasionally, the organism can be sucked into the internals of the microscope making it hazardous to repair with concern for the maintenance technician’s health. To mitigate these concerns, decontaminating the inside components of the microscope can be accomplished using gaseous chlorine dioxide with no adverse effect on the equipment.

The normal sterilization process is automated and consists of 5 steps:
1. Precondition: Raising of humidity to make spores susceptible to gas
2. Condition: Holding of raised humidity level for spore softening
3. Charge: Injection of gas into chamber
4. Exposure: Holding of gas concentration for the set amount of time
5. Aeration: Expulsion of gas and humidity

Some microscope manufacturers add a sixth step which is a pre-purge of the system with nitrogen. If a Pre-Purge step is used, the valves are opened and nitrogen is passed through the system.

In 2009, ClorDiSys was approached by JEOL USA as they set forth to find a suitable decontamination method for their electron microscopes. They wanted a method to decontaminate the interior chambers to protect their service workers from the pathogens being studied within. Identical sets of parts were sent for material testing against chlorine dioxide and hydrogen peroxide vapor. According to “Construction and Organization of a BSL-3 Cryo-Electron Microscopy Laboratory at UTMB” in the December 2012 Journal of Structural Biology, their early attempts to use VHP with JEOL microscopes were not successful because of unacceptable level of corrosion of some parts inside the microscope column. Some showed visible discoloration and corrosion after the level of exposure necessary for a single decontamination cycle. Chlorine dioxide gas has a lower oxidation potential than ozone, peracetic acid, bleach and hydrogen peroxide, making it scientifically less corrosive than those other decontaminating agents. Our chlorine dioxide gas was selected due to its success in the material compatibility trials and is used with the $3 million TEM.

Read more about the process and benefits of using chlorine dioxide for Electron Microscope decontamination in our application note.

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