Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Material Compatibility - Electronics

Material compatibility remains one of the largest question marks for those looking to use chlorine dioxide gas, and there’s a lot of conflicting information on the topic.  Chlorine dioxide gas cannot be stored and shipped, so it must be generated at the point of use.  The method of generation, and its resulting purity, has a great impact on the material compatibility of the chlorine dioxide gas product being used.  One of the first large scale decontamination projects utilizing chlorine dioxide gas was the oft referenced Hart Senate Building decon performed in November 2001.   It was performed by a company who previously used its CD gas technology for controlling odors in oil wells. As material compatibility was never an issue in this previous application, they used a less refined process of generation which contained acidic byproducts. When used in the Hart Senate Building, some material issues and corrosion occurred. ClorDiSys was established after this, and our chlorine dioxide gas is generated by passing a low concentration chlorine gas through a proprietary sodium chlorite cartridge to convert the chlorine gas into pure chlorine dioxide gas. Our process does not leave a residue and does not require any additional clean up once the gas has left the space.

ClorDiSys has done studies with electronics and found that they stand up well after multiple exposures. Computers have been exposed to the gas for over 25 cycles and have been fully functioning afterward. In fact, chlorine dioxide gas was chosen to decontaminate the inner chambers of a $3,000,000 Transmission Electron Microscope over hydrogen peroxide vapor because of its superior material compatibility as proven through manufacturer testing. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commissioned a study exposing computers to chlorine dioxide and hydrogen peroxide over the course of 6 months. Below are the test results showing chlorine dioxide had the lowest amount of failures.


Not all chlorine dioxide gas products are the same, and we understand the hesitation considering some of the information available regarding corrosion.  That’s why we offer free* material testing to give confidence that our chlorine dioxide gas will be safe on your materials and sensitive items.

* Testing is free for a reasonable amount of items.  Shipping not included

Friday, July 13, 2018

Ultraviolet Light in HVAC Systems

Mold, mildew, and dangerous diseases, such as Anthrax, Influenza, Measles, Smallpox, and Tuberculosis, are often spread through airborne transmission. Mold spores easily disperse, wreaking havoc in the new environments they land upon. A solution to continuously combat harmful organisms is the introduction of ultraviolet light disinfection. Ultraviolet light is divided into UV-A, UV-B and UV-C rays. It is the wavelengths in the UV-C spectrum, specifically 265 nm, that offers the greatest germicidal potential.  When a microorganism is exposed, the nuclei of the cells are altered due to photolytic processes. This process prevents further replication and causes cell death.

Ultraviolet light disinfection systems can be placed directly within HVAC ducts to both eliminate and prevent mold, mildew, and other organisms from forming and spreading.  Unlike HEPA filters that solely trap organisms, allowing them to flourish and possibly be re-released into the environment, UV-C kills organisms, eliminating that risk. Placing UV-C disinfection units within the HVAC system provides a continuous disinfection cycle with no harmful effect to anyone present in the space.  Units can be placed in the supply and the return to maximize the benefits.  Units placed in the return ducts have an even greater benefit, because the slower air velocity allows for additional exposure time. Ultraviolet light disinfection is an easy, hands-off, chemical-free way to reduce the risk of mold and mildew from developing and the spread of disease causing airborne organisms.


Attend the upcoming UV Light for Healthcare webinar on July 19th and UV Light for the Life Science and Pharmaceutical Industries on August 7th to learn more.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Can Chlorine Dioxide be used with Organic Foods?

ClorDiSys is occasionally asked if chlorine dioxide can be used in organic foods or in organic processing facilities. The short answer is yes.  More specifically, according to 7 CFR part 205, SUBCHAPTER M—ORGANIC FOODS PRODUCTION ACT PROVISIONS, the use of chlorine dioxide is allowed, but it comes with some restrictions. Its use is permitted for Livestock Management Tools and Production Aids, for Processing Sanitizers and Cleaners, and for Crop Management Tools and Production Aids. The common restriction across all three applications is the residual chlorine levels in any final rinse water or water in direct contact with food products or animals. The water cannot exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act (0.8 mg/L or 800 ppb). Reference the label of the product you are using to establish proper use corresponding with such restrictions. Visit the websites below for additional information to see if your organic operation qualifies for chlorine dioxide usage.

REFERENCES

Organic Materials Review Institute, https://www.omri.org/generic-material/chlorine-dioxide

Title 7 Agriculture → Subtitle B → Chapter I → Subchapter M → Part 205—NATIONAL ORGANIC PROGRAM https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/granule/CFR-2011-title7-vol3/CFR-2011-title7-vol3-part205/content-detail.html

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Case Study: Decontamination of Tented Equipment or Area

Food production facilities are facing greater scrutiny from both the public and the government to provide safe foods. Advances in environmental monitoring and microbial sampling have brought to light the shortcomings of the food industry’s sanitation methods. While there are many reasons for recurring contamination by a persistent pathogen, insufficient cleaning and decontamination is the most common. ClorDiSys Decontamination Services can be utilized for a variety of applications within the food industry from tented pieces of equipment up to entire facilities. Tenting an area is an application that we’re seeing more of lately, especially in facilities that have more of an open design and floor plan.

One example of this application is when our service team decontaminated a confectionery facility’s roaster. The roaster had caught fire and was extinguished by the fire department.  Worried the water used to put out the fire contained organisms which could contaminate their production line, this company wanted to clean the equipment before production started again.  Some of the equipment’s interior was not easily accessible for the in-house sanitation team, so once the majority of cocoa powder was removed, the company opted to decontaminate with chlorine dioxide gas. That equipment was tented and fumigated, as the rest of the room was not deemed a concern. The setup and decontamination of the roughly 8,000 ft3 space took place in 1 day and successfully provided a 6-log sporicidal reduction of all surfaces within the equipment.

ClorDiSys’ Decontamination Services can be arranged for contamination response or preventive control needs. Visit our team at booth #609 at the IAFP Annual Meeting in Salt Lake City July 8-11th to learn more!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Case Study: Used Equipment Decontamination


Our Decontamination Service Team recently completed a decontamination of a used bacon slicing line for a food company.  Because it was a used piece of equipment, the company did not want to bring it into the facility without being decontaminated first. This was not only to preserve the current sterility of their production area, but also to ensure safe food production once the line was in use. The slicing line was placed within a trailer which provided a sealed chamber for safe decontamination. 10 biological indicators were placed within the trailer and equipment in order to show that a 6-log reduction had been achieved. Once the trailer was sealed, the decontamination started.  The entire setup and decontamination took 4 hours from start to finish, when it was safe to open the trailer and bring the equipment into the production area. All biological indicators came back negative for growth verifying that the decontamination was successful. Production was able to start on the bacon slicing line shortly after being installed within the production area, and the company has been safely producing food since.

Contaminated piece of equipment in your facility? Call ClorDiSys at (908) 236-4100 or email the Decontamination Service Team at service@clordisys.com.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Continuous vs. Pulsed UV-C

Not all ultraviolet disinfection is alike. In fact, not all ultraviolet light is alike. Ultraviolet light is divided into UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays. It is the wavelengths in the UV-C spectrum which offer the greatest germicidal potential. Some UV disinfection systems, like xenon pulse UV, use the full spectrum of ultraviolet light to disperse germ-killing energy. It is claimed that the xenon pulse is a more effective way to kill harmful bacteria because of its similarities to punching a wall, more punches will weaken it better than one. However, light is not a fist. It is a form of energy, and continual energy is more effective than turning it on and turning it off. Additionally, bulbs generating UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C wavelengths are inherently less effective in disinfection than continuous UV-C.

The US Veterans Administration commissioned an infection prevention research team led by Curtis Donskey, M.D., to conduct an independent study of continuous ultraviolet disinfection versus xenon pulse UV disinfection. The study tested a continuous UV-C robot which was run for the same length of time from the same point in the room as a pulsed xenon (PU-UV) unit.  The results showed surprisingly low pathogen kill rates for the pulsed xenon device, about .5 log for both C.diff and VRE, even as close as 4 feet.  The continuous UV-C robot demonstrated a much higher CFU reduction for the pathogens C. difficile, MRSA and VRE.  The study states, “PX-UV was less effective than continuous UV-C in reducing pathogen recovery on glass slides with a 10-minute exposure time in similar hospital rooms” and “the UV-C device achieved significantly greater log10 CFU reductions than the PX-UV device”. Not only did the continuous UV-C robot in the study show much stronger disinfectant results, but that it was not run for its entire cycle time. The study calls attention to the dangers of bold claims and trying to complete a disinfectant procedure too quickly.

Chart from VA Donskey study: Study results showing log reductions achieved by a UV-C and pulsed xenon devices
when run for the same time (10 min.) at the same distance from glass microscope slides (4 ft).
(PRNewsFoto/Infection Prevention Technologies)

To read more on the comparison of these two technologies, click here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Decontamination of Spiral Freezers


The biggest challenge in successfully cleaning spiral freezers is trying to reach all the surfaces.  Spiral freezers are constructed with minimal clearances, making it hard to use traditional cleaning techniques such as the spraying of liquid chemicals.  The interior is too tight to maneuver cleaning equipment properly and operate it effectively.  Cleaning every nook and cranny inside of a spiral freezer is a very difficult task when taking into consideration all of the internal components, all of the hard to reach crevices, the difficulty in maintaining the correct contact time of the chemical being used, and the difficulty in the agent reaching all surfaces.

Chlorine dioxide gas has been proven effective at eliminating listeria from within spiral and tunnel freezers. ClorDiSys’ chlorine dioxide gas is made using a proprietary generation method and is registered with the US EPA as a sterilant providing a 6-log (99.9999%) reduction of all viruses, bacteria, fungi, molds and spores. As a true gas, chlorine dioxide naturally fills the spiral freezer evenly and completely, and with a molecule size smaller than the smallest organism, there’s no surface that is safe for pathogens to hide. Gaseous CD is the only decontaminant that penetrates water and decontaminates both the water and the surface beneath, which is important for spiral freezers that typically have condensation issues.

One facility which produced frozen sausages had a persistent listeria problem, resulting in consistent positive swabs. After one treatment with chlorine dioxide gas, the facility was able to eclipse 16 weeks without a single positive swab after testing 2-3 times per day. CD gas decontamination has been written into a quarterly preventive maintenance schedule.

Attend our Food Facility Decontamination Services webinar on June 7th to learn more or stop by Booth #10 at the North American Food Safety and Quality 2018 on June 5-6th to further discuss.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

How Ultraviolet Light Help Prevent The Spread Of Ebola


While combating the highly infectious Ebola virus disease (EVD) outbreak in West Africa, aid workers and other visitors have been inadvertently exposed and contracting the virus. In 2014, a number of infected individuals were evacuated from Africa and returned to the United States for treatment. The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit (NBU) was one of the several receiving hospitals for these patients. The NBU and Omaha Fire Department’s emergency medical services coordinated patient transportation from the airport to the high-level isolation unit. Following patient admission into this unit, biocontainment staff members relocated the ambulance to an isolated, controlled-access area to be decontaminated. All surfaces in the cab and patient compartment were thoroughly wiped with bleach solution. Then, as a final disinfection step, the back of the ambulance was exposed to ultraviolet light.


Ultraviolet light is a specific part of the electromagnetic spectrum of light that offers bactericidal effects. It is the wavelengths in the UV-C spectrum, which offer the greatest germicidal potential. UV-C provides a dry, chemical-free, and residue-free method of disinfection effective against bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores. For this reason, ultraviolet light disinfection was not only used in the ambulances, but as the final step in decontaminating medical equipment, patients’ rooms, and bathrooms after patients were discharged. Acknowledging the known limitations that UV-C only disinfects the areas light can reach, the Nebraska Biocontainment Unit used four ClorDiSys Torch systems in tandem to ensure the proper exposure was achieved to inactivate the Ebola virus.


Learn more about ClorDiSys Solutions’ Torch here.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

How Often You Should Schedule Preventative Decontamination

Over the past couple of years, we've noticed a shift within our decontamination services projects.  At first, all projects were in response to active contaminations.  More recently however, we've noticed a shift as more of our decontamination service projects have been scheduled as part of a preventive sanitation effort, aimed at providing a more thorough kill than traditional sanitation can achieve.  One of the more frequent questions we get when discussing preventive decontamination is, 'how often should we decontaminate?'  It's a great question, and its one that doesn't have a simple answer as every situation is different.

When discussing the frequency and scheduling of preventive decontamination, the best first step is to review your environmental monitoring data.  Sometimes, there's a trend within the data that can help guide the process along.  In these situations, we would propose to undercut that trend so that the decontamination takes place before the next positive "is expected."

Example:
A processing area shows positive environmental monitoring swabs approximately every 6-8 months. 

Proposed Preventive Schedule:
Decontamination every 5 months

For areas where there is no easy to determine a trend in positive environmental swabs, another approach must be taken.  In these situations, the following factors should be considered:


  • The environment itself (a room, spiral freezer, entire processing area, etc...)
  • The risk level of the product and environment (raw meat vs. canned foods vs. produce vs...)
  • Historical environmental monitoring data
  • Downtime / Availability of the space (24/7 production, 24/5 production, yearly shutdown, etc...)
We've seen preventive decontamination schedules ranging from daily (for the decontamination of brushes and dry cleaning tools within a Decon Chamber) to quarterly (Spiral Freezers and Aseptic Fill Rooms) to Annual (Processing Areas and Production Rooms).

If you're interested in learning more about Preventive Decontamination as a supplement to your sanitation program, contact us at 908-236-4100 or visit www.clordisys.com/foodsafetyapp

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Chlorine Dioxide vs. Chlorine Dioxide: Choosing the Right Provider

ClorDiSys Solutions approaches decontamination differently than other chlorine dioxide gas companies. We strive for excellent process control, high quality, and outstanding safety. Our chlorine dioxide gas is registered with the US EPA as a sterilant. It is proven capable of providing a 6-log (99.9999% reduction) of all viruses, bacteria, fungi, molds and spores. Our chlorine dioxide gas is the only one registered at this highest antimicrobial level.

The ClorDiSys method of generating chlorine dioxide produces a 100% pure gas. Other methods of generating chlorine dioxide mix an acid and a base which forms a chlorine dioxide solution which is then off-gassed to fumigate a space. That generation method produces two acidic components, acidified sodium chlorite and chlorous acid, alongside chlorine dioxide which makes these methods more corrosive. Our method of generating pure chlorine dioxide gas is accomplished by passing a low concentration chlorine gas through a proprietary sodium chlorite cartridge to convert the chlorine gas into pure chlorine dioxide gas. This allows our process to be safe when decontaminating stainless steel, galvanized metals, anodized aluminum, epoxy surfaces, electronics, and the most common materials of construction. Typically, if water will not corrode an item, neither will our CD. ClorDiSys’ chlorine dioxide gas has been proven to the FDA to leave behind no measurable residue. Once the gas has been removed, the area is safe and does not require additional cleanup.

ClorDiSys uses a highly accurate UV-vis spectrophotometer to measure the concentration. Photometers are able to measure precise locations, such as hot spots, in order to provide greater confidence (and data for regulators) that those locations underwent a specific exposure dosage. Our Decon Service team measures the concentration of chlorine dioxide gas throughout the entire process at multiple locations in order to ensure that all locations reach the proper dosage necessary to achieve a 6-log sporicidal reduction. Other chlorine dioxide gas decontamination processes monitor one location using a less accurate chemical sensor, making the process less repeatable and reliable.

Click here to learn more about our process or join us online May 15th at 1:00pm EST for CD Gas 101 webinar.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Choose Prevention over Recall Apprehension


A recall can be extremely detrimental to a company both at the time of recall and well into the future. Avoid major consequences like production stoppages, adverse media attention, loss of consumer trust, and civil suits or federal investigations by being prepared and investing in routine preventive decontamination. Traditional sanitation methods have difficulty truly eliminating pathogens from hard-to-reach areas.  This is what allows growth niches and harborage sites to become established and create “resident strains” in your facility.  Supplementing your routine sanitation program with a high-level decontamination method can eliminate the pathogens within niches and harborage sites to provide a cleaner and safer environment.

ClorDiSys offers an all-encompassing Preventive Food Safety Program which brings together industry experts from complimentary organizations to help lead the way towards safer food manufacturing. Get an outsider’s perspective on your current Food Safety Program to gain insight and eliminate possible issues that are currently being overlooked. Through a single purchasing source, you can select from a variety of services not offered by a single organization to help find and address the gaps in your food safety program and ensure that your reputation stays in high regard among consumers.

Stop by to chat and learn more at the 20th Annual Food Safety Summit next week or log in to our Preventive Food Safety Program webinar on May 22nd.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Fighting Biofilms in Food Processing Facilities


A biofilm is defined as a “microbially-derived sessile community which is characterized cells that are irreversibly attached to a substratum or interface, or to each other” are embedded in a matrix of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS). More simply put, microorganisms attach to surfaces and develop biofilms. Biofilms can be found in natural environments, on surfaces around the home, but more alarmingly, they can be found in food processing facilities.

Cells in a biofilm have the ability to survive cleaning and sanitization. The resistance to sanitizers increases with the maturity of the biofilm. In the last decade, a number of studies have been conducted to determine a variety of sanitizers’ efficacy against biofilms. In 2010, the Department of Food Science at Purdue University compared the effect of chlorine dioxide gas, aqueous chlorine dioxide, and aqueous sodium hypochlorite treatments on the inactivation of listeria monocytogenes containing biofilms. Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen with the highest mortality rate. It has the ability to adhere to and grow on a variety of surfaces found in food processing plants. The study proved that the biofilm developed from the five-strain mixture was more resistant to the sodium hypochlorite treatment than either chlorine dioxide (CD) option. Aqueous CD resulted in significantly greater log reduction of biofilm cells for shorter treatment times as compared to CD gas treatment. However, once the CD gas dissolved in the water present, it was similar in effectiveness.

This comparison of chlorine dioxide’s efficacy against biofilms in both the gaseous or aqueous state was taken a step further by the Republic of Korea’s Department of Biotechnology and University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety in 2014. This team evaluated chlorine dioxide’s ability to kill Bacillus cereus spores in biofilm formed on a stainless steel surface. Bacillus cereus is a spore-forming bacterium that can cause foodborne diseases. The study pointed out that while aqueous CD has “the advantage of being easy to produce and handle compared to gaseous ClO2,” its residual moisture may promote the growth of molds after treatment of food-contact surfaces. It was determined that the antimicrobial activity of chlorine dioxide gas was higher than that of the aqueous, and spores were inactivated within one hour.

Interested in reading more? You can view the published articles here:


Concerned about biofilms in your facility? Call (908) 236-4100 today!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Case Study: Listeria Decontamination Service


Our Decontamination Service Team has been busy, recently working on multiple projects in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, and Washington State. One of our more recent projects was helping a company eliminate a listeria problem in the customer's produce blend room. This facility was not in production and was finishing a punch list of installations, upgrades, and maintenance activities. Our Decontamination Team slid in alongside the customer's schedule in order to limit the disruption and enable production to begin as soon as possible.


The almost 500,000 ft3 Blend Room was turned over to our team at 4pm.  At this time, gas injection tubing was run to 10 different locations in order to speed up the natural distribution of the gas.  Gas sample tubing was run to 6 different locations within the Blend Room in order to measure gas concentrations throughout the decontamination process.  This enables our team to confidently control the process, making sure that the entire room has been subjected to the proper dosage of chlorine dioxide gas necessary to achieve a 6-log sporicidal reduction.  Biological Indicators were placed in 20 different locations throughout the space, including placement under trash cans, as well as beneath and behind equipment.  Conveyors, doors, and the HVAC system handling the room were then sealed.  At approximately 11:15pm, gassing started.  At 3:15 am, all areas within the room reached the appropriate dosage, and aeration began.  Upon completion, equipment was removed from the space along with biological indicators.  The next day, Biological Indicators were dropped in growth media and incubated for 36 hours to check if any of the million bacterial spores contained on the indicator were left viable to grow and multiply.  After 36 hours, none of the 20 biological indicators showed any growth, proving that a 6-log sporicidal reduction took place within the Blend Room.  The project was successful and the company was able to start production shortly after.

Visit the ClorDiSys website to learn more about our decontamination services for all industries.



Thursday, April 12, 2018

Biological Indicators: Testing a Cycle's Success


ClorDiSys uses Biological Indicators (BIs) to verify the efficacy of our decontamination cycles. Also known as spore strips, the BIs we use consist of over a million (1 x 106Geobacillus stearothermophilus spores inoculated on a paper substrate and wrapped in Tyvek. The chlorine dioxide gas molecule is small enough to permeate the Tyvek and kill the spores inside. To challenge the decontamination/sterilization cycle, BIs are placed in hard to reach areas throughout the space being decontaminated. Once the decontamination has been completed, the BIs are dropped into growth media using aseptic technique. If the biological indicator does not produce growth within the media tube after the incubation period (we have validated a 36 hour incubation time with the BI manufacturer Crosstex), the process is deemed to be successful.

Below are some of the more challenging locations where Biological Indicators have been placed during chlorine dioxide gas decontaminations. All of these locations’ BIs exhibited 6-log sterilization level kill using our standard cycle.

Inside Packed Isolators
(Over 30 BIs were placed inside)

In Stacks of Filtered Cage Lids
(Blue tape on right corresponds to BIs shown in left image)

Underneath Dust
(Comparable to that of HEPA filters)

In HEPA Filters
(BI between the filter's pleats)

In Packed Storage Rooms
(BI placed at the bottom of the closest trash can)

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Contract Sterilization Services

ClorDiSys offers Contract Sterilization Services where we can decontaminate your items, equipment, supplies, and products at our facility, then ship them back to your facility or onward to a 3rd party facility. ClorDiSys uses chlorine dioxide gas for sterilization of components instead of gamma irradiation, ethylene oxide gas, or electron beam methods. ClorDiSys’ chlorine dioxide gas is registered with the US EPA (Reg. # 80802-1) as a sterilant capable of killing all viruses, bacteria, fungi, and spores. Turnaround time is traditionally 24 hours, with items typically being shipped back the day after they arrive. In some cases, turnaround time can be hours, with the items arriving, being treated, and shipped on the same day. Upon completion, a Certification Sheet is issued describing the process and showing the sterilization cycle data.


COMMON APPLICATIONS


  • Sterilization of components, instruments, or other items before entering a clean facility
  • Equipment contaminated with amplicons or beta lactams
  • Computers, printers, keyboards, and routers
  • Electronics (RFID tags, monitoring instruments, microscopes)
  • Supplies (Shoes, safety glasses, clothing, animal cages)
  • Sterile products manufactured in non-sterile facility
  • Medical items
  • HEPA or Sterilizing Filters
  • Contaminated items due to mold, pinworms, or user-site returns



Material Compatibility - Electronics

Material compatibility remains one of the largest question marks for those looking to use chlorine dioxide gas, and there’s a lot of conflic...