How to Keep Your Food and Your Employees Safe

7.30.2015

Food processing plantWritten by: Zach Devier

We at Selective Micro hope all of you had a great and safe 4th of July holiday! Speaking of safety, I thought, in light of some recent events, both locally and nationally, that I would write about food safety. If you are from Ohio, or even the Midwest, you are most likely aware of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. The Columbus-based ice cream company is known for their eclectic flavors such as wildberry lavender or pistachio and honey.

However, they have recently issued their second recall and shutdown due to problems with Listeria in their processing facilities. Although Jeni’s is more notable in Ohio, Blue Bell, which is headquartered in Texas, also issued their own recall of ice cream due to Listeria found in its facilities.

Ice cream is not the only food being affected across the nation, though, as Grimm’s brand roast beef and even Stella and Chewy’s Dog Food have issued similar recalls. These recalls and shutdowns are very bad for the company in terms of both money and image. A combination of lost revenue from recalled product, production downtime for facility inspections, as well as potential lawsuits from affected customers can create a huge headache for a food quality controller.

When considering how and what type of chemicals are needed to prevent these types of things from happening, a food safety engineer must take a couple things into account: safety of the food, safety of those exposed, and safety of the equipment in the facility.

Food Safety

When you are using a product to disinfect and sanitize your food processing facility, it is very important to know that the product is doing what it is supposed to be doing. When choosing a chemical, it is best to choose an EPA approved disinfectant, with label claims for specific food safety applications. With these, you will better know the exact concentration and contact times necessary to eliminate your target pathogens.

You also get the assurance that the claims on the label were verified by the United States Environmental Protection Agency through a third party lab. Selective Micro Technologies’ Selectrocide product line is an EPA registered disinfectant/sanitizer.

Some of the pathogens included on our label are Listeria monocytogenes, E-Coli, Multiple Drug-Resistant Salmonella, Canine Parvo, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus, and many more. Our technical bulletin and label also include many different food processing based applications such as disinfection of water lines, stainless steel, and food processing equipment.

Personnel Safety

Another consideration that must be taken is the safety of those who are responsible for the mixing, dilution, and application of these chemicals. Some chemicals used for disinfection can be dangerous! Accidental exposure could result in burns of the skin and eyes and damage to the lungs among a multitude of other issues. These risks are multiplied by the necessary steps required to get the product to use concentration.

SMT’s pure ClO₂ (by simply adding water!) can be generated to use concentrations which are much lower (100 ppm/50 ppm/20 ppm/5 ppm) than what most other products require for disinfection. This means less fumes and a much, much less corrosive solution. We also offer dilution pumps that mix concentrate with water and deliver specific concentrations. Therefore, by making it a very easy product to use, we also eliminate much of the risk associated.

Equipment Compatibility

As I mentioned earlier, pure ClO₂ is a very effective biocide. Because of this, much lower concentrations are required in order to disinfect surfaces. At 100 parts per million, you can achieve full disinfection on hard, non-porous surfaces. Comparatively, many other solutions require concentrations of over 2,000 ppm!

In addition, chlorine dioxide is a very selective oxidizer and that makes it highly compatible with many materials. What I mean by that is, at use concentrations it will not oxidize or corrode most materials. This is because it has an oxidation/reduction potential of only 0.95 volts and prefers to react with pathogens and organic material. This means that using ClO₂ to disinfect your processing equipment will not break down small, typically vulnerable parts or damage rubber seals.

To sum it all up, Selective Micro can offer a safer, easier, more effective way to disinfect and sanitize your food processing facility. Consistent use combined with regular deep cleans can greatly reduce your company’s chances of a recall due to foodborne pathogens. Because of its high compatibility and ease of use, most of the time it can be directly inserted into current facility cleaning protocols. However, if you would be interested to learn how SMT could help your facility stay pathogen free, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

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