Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Contamination Control in Deli Production Facilities

When it comes to sanitizing an entire production area with equipment, machinery, 30-foot ceilings, HVAC ducting, and a myriad of other obstacles, physically spraying chemicals onto everything without missing a spot becomes an impossible task. All antimicrobial agents have a certain concentration and required contact time in order to guarantee kill, and with liquids, it’s hard to assure every single organism has been contacted for the appropriate amount of time. Some liquids can also be harsh on equipment and require a post-decontamination rinse. Mists, fogs, and vapors are composed of large molecules which can stick to surfaces preventing penetration of extremely small openings like scratches. Cracks, pipe and screw threads will not be completely decontaminated. Using gaseous chlorine dioxide or ultraviolet light disinfection, these stresses are all eliminated.

Room Decontamination with Chlorine Dioxide Gas
Chlorine dioxide is a true gas at room temperature, so it will fill its container evenly and completely like oxygen in the air, no matter how small or large a volume is being treated. With a molecule size of 0.124nm, CD gas can get inside machinery or equipment that would be difficult or impossible with liquids or vapors, simply because it is such a small molecule.  Coupled with its gaseous state, this means it will contact every surface, penetrate into every crack, all equipment, ductwork and any other place that might harbor micro-organisms.. Gaseous CD is the only decontaminating fumigant that penetrates water, decontaminating both the water and the surface beneath. Being a completely residue free process enables CD gas to be used safely on food contact surfaces as no additional cleaning needs to be performed. In addition to the production or packaging areas, a “Decon Room” can be created where portable equipment, supplies, tools, etc. can be rolled in and completely decontaminated.

Surface Disinfection with UV-C
Daily sanitization of a workspace is the most effective method to reduce the risk of contamination. Quaternary sanitizers are commonly used in wipe-downs, but most liquids require a longer contact time than a wipe-down can guarantee, meaning dangerous microbes can survive. Ultraviolet light, specifically UV-C, is a particularly useful tool in combating these unexpected surface organisms. UV-C is a chemical-free technology which ensures a complete surface disinfection in mere minutes. It works by emitting light at the 254nm wavelength, which inactivates the DNA of cells, rendering them effectively dead. UV does not cause any kind of harm to surfaces or inorganic materials, meaning equipment is safe all the way through the cycle. UV cycles are quick and inexpensive with cycle ranging between one and ten minutes and costing just pennies to operate. Whether the intent is to disinfect an entire kitchen, specific surfaces, or tools/supplies, UV has the ability to meet your needs.

Case Study: UV-C Treatment of Cutting Boards
The University of Guelph studied the effect that the UV-C has on Salmonella typhimurium inoculated on plastic cutting boards (unscratched and scratched). The surfaces were incubated for 0 hours, 1 hour, and 24 hours at room temperature. After incubation, the cutting boards were then exposed for 1 minute and 5 minutes to UV-C light from our Lantern UV-C device. For Salmonella typhimurium inoculated on unscratched cutting boards, there was a >5-log reduction when exposed to 5 minutes and about 3-log reduction when exposed for 1 minute at all incubation times. For scratched plastic, there was a >5-log reduction at 0 hours and 24-hour incubation time, and a 3-log reduction at 1 hour incubation time. For a 1-minute exposure, there was a 2-log reduction for 0 hours and 1 hour incubation time and a 4-log for a 24 hour incubation time. Current testing is being done using similar parameters for Listeria monocytogenes.

For more information on this utilization of chlorine dioxide gas and ultraviolet light disinfection, read our application note. To learn more about improving food safety and sanitation from a variety of perspectives, check out the 3rd Annual Food Safety & Microbiology Conference February 24-27, 2019 in Atlanta.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Ultraviolet Light Disinfection within Plastic Surgery

Plastic surgery centers visited to receive an elective procedure, meaning that quality is of utmost importance in not only the results of the procedure itself, but in the facility, post op recovery, and experience overall. Surfaces in healthcare facilities are often overlooked or difficult to clean, and more commonly, the traditional methods of cleaning being utilized are not sufficient.  A 2017 study by the Journal of Hospital Infections found that in 2016, 31% of privacy curtains in a Burns/Plastic Surgery ward were contaminated with MRSA1.  If contaminants are not properly taken care of, there is a high risk for multiple transmissions of a disease or bacteria.  Studies determined that the most common nosocomial pathogens, diseases acquired during a stay at a healthcare facility, may well survive on surfaces for months and be a continuous source of transmission if not properly treated.  The best way to reduce nosocomial pathogens is through disinfection of surfaces in the immediate environment of patients2.

How Does UV Light Solve These Problems?
Ultraviolet light provides chemical-free, liquid-free disinfection that has been proven effective against viruses, bacteria, molds, and spores. UV-C light can reach surfaces that are harder to wipe down, such as remotes, knobs, and curtains. When imagining luxury service, patients want to be ensured top-rated customer service from all levels of care the moment that they step foot in the door.  Ensuring their health is the most important component of this experience. 

In the waiting room, Torch Aire-Recessed can allow for continuous disinfection of the flow of air.  Replacing a ceiling tile, the Torch Aire-Recessed can disinfect all the air in a 2,100 ft3 room once every ten minutes.  Any air flowing through is being treated by the concealed UV-C bulbs that kill any pathogen that enter.  The device is quiet, effective, and since the bulbs are hidden from view, can operate even in the presence of patients and staff.  The Torch Aire-Recessed also has applications in the Patient and Operating Rooms where it can disinfect the air of any organisms aerosolized during the actual surgical procedure.

Room disinfection devices, such as the Torch or Torch+, can be used in operating rooms and patient rooms. For unique spaces with difficult to reach areas, the Torch-Flex or Torch-Double Flex might be more applicable with their adjustable arms that can fit between tight spaces or underneath beds. While these are all portable options that can be shared between many rooms, a more permanent and customized approach is to install Flashbar panels directly into a space to provide maximum UV-C exposure with the flip of a switch. 

Relying on cleaners coming in to manually wipe down surfaces and supplies is not enough. Ultraviolet light provides a fast, low-cost approach to disinfecting areas that are often overlooked otherwise.  Your patients and staff will all experience the comforts of knowing their health is a priority, and you are taking all measures to ensure the best care.

Click here to learn more about ultraviolet light disinfection or attend our upcoming Ultraviolet Light 101 webinar on Tuesday, February 5th.

1. Shek, K. et al.  Rate of contamination of hospital privacy curtains on a burns and plastic surgery ward: a cross-sectional study.  Journal of Hospital Infection , Volume 96 , Issue 1 , 54 – 58.
2. Kramer et al. How Long Do Nosocomial Pathogens Persist on Inanimate Surfaces? A Systematic Review. BMC Infectious Diseases. 2006.

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.

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. 

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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!