Are You Green? Decontaminate Food Processing and Be Green

In food processing facilities, decontamination and disinfection is an integral and crucial part of production. An outbreak of foodborne illness caused by salmonella or listeria could shut down the facility, potentially causing the loss of millions of dollars.

Although efficacy and cost are a main concern for infection control specialists, another element they should consider is the impact their chosen disinfectant may have on the environment, both inside and outside of their facility.

Outside Environment

Although a food quality supervisor’s main goal is to destroy foodborne pathogens, they must also consider the health of the environment when choosing a disinfectant. This can sometimes pose a challenge, as many products require a high concentration of chemical to kill the intended pathogens. These higher concentrations, along with large quantities, may pose risks to the outside environment such as plant life, aquatic life and the water. Some chemicals may raise the pH of water surrounding the environmental entry point.

On the other side of the spectrum, others—such as caustic disinfectants—can lower the pH making the surrounding area much more basic. These changes are not beneficial for any type of wildlife or foliage living near that point. Therefore, while shelf life is an important factor in choosing a disinfectant for your food processing facility, you should also consider the time it may take for it to break down when exposed to the environment.

Inside Environment

A more important consideration is the impact your chemical will have on the inside environment of your facility. This directly affects not only cleaning personnel, but all workers in the facility. A disinfectant/sanitizer can affect air quality, food processing machinery, and even drainage systems. Many cleaning solutions can create a powerful odor that is also harmful to human health. For instance, concentrations of sodium hypochlorite necessary for disinfection can increase breath difficulty.

Also, some solutions can be highly corrosive to metal. This can damage the equipment used in food processing. In the long run, this can increase maintenance and equipment cost as parts and eventually even whole machines will need replaced with more regularity. In situations where the solution is used in higher quantities that requires draining, corrosive chemicals can also degrade the drainage system, causing more widespread issues.

What You Need

What every food processing plant needs is a chemical that can achieve disinfection as well as food contact sanitization. Along with these two things, it should be highly effective at low concentrations, be highly selective in reactivity (low-to-no corrosivity), have low odor, be able to be broken down by UV light, cause little to no damage to machinery surfaces and have a neutral pH. Many food quality supervisors may not believe a chemical like that exists. However, all of these qualities exist in Selective Micro Technologies’ pure chlorine dioxide.

With a disinfection concentration of 100 ppm and a sanitization concentration of 5 ppm, this product generates by simply adding water. With that ease of use, combined with the above qualities, SMT pure chlorine dioxide makes the perfect chemical for food processing facilities.

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