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



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...