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FDA perspective on “Seek and Destroy”

The development and implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signals a concerted effort to improve food safety in FDA inspected plants, and implement some of the same structure and oversight as seen in USDA inspected facilities.

In January of 2017, the FDA released an updated guidance document outlining their guidelines for Listeria control in ready-to-eat (RTE) food processing facilities. This new document “supports ongoing efforts by industry and government agencies to reduce the risk of Listeria monocytogenes (L. mono) in RTE foods. L. mono, a pathogen that can grow even in cold, refrigerated environments, is particularly harmful to the elderly, pregnant women and/or their pregnancy, and those who are immunocompromised.” [1]

The document, meant to expand upon the requirements for management of risk, and development of preventative controls outlined in FSMA, covers risk analysis and encourages food processors to expand their environmental monitoring programs. “Industry best practices and the “seek and destroy” approach used by the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) have been incorporated into the draft guidance.” [1]

Adam Borger of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Food Research Institute, spoke of the new guidance, saying, “I am a proponent of what the FDA is recommending in their draft guidance regarding sampling of food-contact surfaces for Listeria genus.  I feel that giving food processors the ability to sample food-contact surfaces for Listeria genus without absolutely having to place all product on hold until the result is returned, will encourage a more aggressive sampling plan to find and eliminate Listeria and niches where the microbe may persist.” [2]

Multiple tools can be used in a robust environmental monitoring program. Technologies such as Sterilex’s Indicon™ Gel can be used to rapidly detect biofilm harborage niches and track sources of contamination in seek and destroy applications. While traditional swabbing methods can be used to verify the absence of organisms on a “swab-able” surface, Indicon Gel can be used to identify harborage points in areas only a gel can reach, and provide rapid, visual results in a cost-effective manner*.

  1. https://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm536716.htm
  2. Borger, Adam C. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Food Research Institute. 26 May 2017

*The lack of a positive reaction from Indicon Gel does not guarantee that the surface is free from microorganisms.  Indicon Gel is not meant to take the place of routine microbial monitoring or organism-specific diagnostic tests.

Sterilex Technology and Aiding the Prevention of Avian Influenza Outbreaks

This week the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) confirmed the presence of highly pathogenic H7 avian influenza in a commercial chicken breeder flock in Lincoln County, Tennessee.

Using Sterilex® Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1 and Sterilex® Ultra Activator or Ultra Soft Metal Activator, effectively controls Avian Influenza (AI), multiple strains of Salmonella as well as numerous additional poultry and swine pathogens.  In waterlines, it can be used for line disinfection and the removal of organic contaminants. The two-part solution is mixed, diluted in water, pumped into the nipple drinker lines to soak, and then flushed with potable water between flocks. This process creates a cleaner, safer water source and limits the risk of AI spreading between flocks.
Sterilex Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1 and Sterilex Ultra Activator Solution, or Ultra Soft Metal Activator, can also be used inside barns to disinfect between flocks. Following the removal of gross soils from the barn, the two-part solution is mixed, diluted in water, and either foamed or sprayed on surfaces.

For additional biosecurity solutions, Sterilex offers Sterilex® Ultra Step.  This non-slip blue powder is an EPA-registered floor surface, floor mat, foot pan and boot sanitizer approved to kill organisms such as Listeria, Escherichia coli (E.coli), Salmonella, Staphylococcus (Staph), and Enterobacter. Used in entryways, Sterilex Ultra Step can also control organism transfer from foot traffic and equipment movement. Apply directly to floors in barns and hatcheries to prevent the spread of harmful pathogens.

Visit www.sterilex.com  for more information about using Sterilex products to enhance biosecurity programs.

  1. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/newsroom/news/sa_by_date/sa-2017/hpai-tn

Sterilex and FSMA Compliance

As of Sept 2016, FSMA, the Food Safety Modernization Act is in full effect. For food manufacturers, the implications of reaching compliance, are immense. One of the key components of compliance is the requirement for preventative controls. Although this is a broad topic, it can be summarized in three sections, Hazard Analysis, development of preventative controls, and finally management of the preventative control protocols that have been created [1].

The process of implementing preventative controls begins with determining what potential hazards exist in the processing environment, or are created by the actual process. The FDA draws no distinction between hazards that are introduced intentionally and those that are naturally occurring. For example, Listeria contamination due to the natural soil residue on incoming produce would still be considered a hazard that must be noted and addressed. From a sanitation perspective, limiting pathogen movement and recognizing pathogen harborage points in the processing environment are essential.

After processors know where hazards exist, they must create a written food safety plan for addressing all the hazards [2]. That plan, must then be managed as new hazards are presented, or the process changes. A critical part of the creation and implementation of preventative controls is verification. This includes, “Validating with scientific evidence that a preventive control is capable of effectively controlling an identified hazard.” [1].

In identifying the proper controls to put in place, manufacturers must identify adequate chemical interventions to address hazards in the processing environment. Sterilex offers a full line of EPA registered sanitizers and disinfectants that are proven to be effective in removing biofilms, which are a hazard created by harborage points on equipment or in the environment. EPA registered sanitizers such as Sterilex Ultra Step, go through exhaustive testing that meets the demand for “scientific evidence” of the capability to control organisms such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E. coli. As an EPA registered sanitizer Ultra Step is legally approved to be included in the processor’s food safety plan. As processors and sanitation experts collaborate to meet the preventative control requirements of FSMA, the Sterilex product line provides much needed solutions.

  1. https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/ucm334115.htm
  2. http://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/magazine-archive1/octobernovember-2015/hazard-analysis-and-risk-based-preventive-controls-harpc-the-new-gmp-for-food-manufacturing/

2016 Listeria Recalls Higher Than Past Three Years

Food product recalls due to Listeria contamination continue to capture the attention of processors, regulators, and especially, consumers.  According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, the number of Listeria-related recalls for 2016 were more than those reported for the past three years.

listeriarecallMeat processors today are experiencing great success with controlling pathogens on incoming products.  However, with value-added goods in high demand, risk for contamination increases as more surfaces, equipment and hands come in contact with food product throughout the process. Food processors must remain vigilant with best practice sanitation programs in place to address the introduction, growth and transfer of pathogens in the processing environment.  As the FDA intensifies pressure, in an effort to catch-up to FSIS protocols, some processors are searching for new ways to meet regulatory expectations for prevention of Listeria.  One idea calls for greater information share in the ongoing battle to control and eliminate Listeria.

Mitigation of Listeria requires removal of biofilm and subsequent prevention and control afterwards in food production environments. The most effective preventative control programs develop a holistic approach, looking at all areas that contribute to transfer and movement of pathogens such as foot traffic and shared equipment.

Sterilex® Ultra Powder has been designed as a unique EPA-registered floor sanitizer for use in food processing and animal environments, and is now the leading product in this market segment.   This innovative product utilizes Sterilex proprietary PerQuat® technology, and incorporates unique features such as small, non-slip granules that plant workers can broadcast directly on plant floors to sanitize and enhance traction.

What additional information is available?

For more on this topic, read the in-depth article in the October issue of Meatingplace.

To learn more about Sterilex products and how they address the challenges that food processors face today visit www.sterilex.com.

Farms and Food

Historically, food processing and live production have functioned as separate industries with different needs, requirements, and management. That is no longer the case. The gap between farm and food is closing—meaning that many food processing facilities (including egg graders, egg processors and poultry meat processors) are owned, managed, or have direct oversight from the same companies. In some cases, they may even share the same grounds. While this solves many management and logistical problems, it also requires careful consideration of best practices for keeping food free of disease-causing organisms, and limiting disease transfer among production animals.

The risk of transfer

chickens-waterline-animal-healthProximity to farms introduces a number of risk factors for introduction of pathogens to processing environments. Whenever animal enclosures are present, anyone handling animals or coming into contact with animal waste can introduce microorganisms into processing environments by exchanging items between farm and processor. In addition, the movement of containers, transport vehicles, and employees between the processor and the individual barns can result in the rapid spread of transmittable diseases, affecting the animal populations. Through the exchange of farm and processing equipment, a single infected barn can result in the loss of all production animals housed on the grounds regardless of separate housing. Live production facilities can introduce disease to otherwise healthy incoming animals as well. Improper disinfection and insufficient biosecurity intervention between animal groups can result in transfer of disease through waterlines, feeding equipment, and general barn surfaces. Once introduced by even a single infected animal, these microorganisms can become a major problem—especially if they spread to other areas of the farm, or neighboring farms via feed trucks, suppliers, employees or any other traffic. With recent outbreaks of diseases such as Avian Influenza becoming both a high-profile issue and a very real threat (an AI outbreak can wipe out an entire flock very quickly, with devastating consequences to the farm’s business), farms with onsite processing facilities will want to take extra care to prevent the spread of microorganisms.

To prevent the spread of pathogens from farm-to-farm or from a farm-to-processing environment, the USDA recommends a number of common-sense biosecurity practices that include isolating flocks from each other and from unnecessary human contact, watching for early warning signs of disease and keeping cages, vehicles, tools and equipment clean. Recommended biosecurity programs include entryway control for human foot traffic (through use of an approved EPA registered sanitizer), physical barriers on the grounds to limit and direct the movement of employees and vehicles, truck washes for incoming vehicles, and the development of detailed cleaning and disinfection protocols for pre-population barn preparation. The benefits of adopting these practices are enormous. Less risk to animals and food products not only preserves the assets that keep farms and processing facilities running, it maintains positive public perception among consumers who care about animal health and welfare as well as having a safe and healthy food supply.

What products are available and how are they used?

Live production facilities will want to take particular care to treat high-risk locations and systems: the insides of barns and waterlines and the entryways to barns and processing facilities.

Sterilex® Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner and Activator Solution is based on Sterilex proprietary PerQuat® technology, and is effective in killing Avian Influenza (AI), multiple strains of Salmonella as well as numerous additional poultry and swine pathogens. In waterlines, it can be used for line disinfection and the removal of organic contaminants. The two-part solution is mixed, diluted in water, pumped into the nipple drinker lines to soak, and then flushed with potable water between flocks. This process creates a cleaner, safer water source and limits the risk of AI spreading between flocks. In addition, clean waterlines support better water quality, better water intake, and as a result, better animal growth, and overall animal health.

Sterilex® Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner and Activator Solution can also be used inside barns to disinfect between flocks. Following the removal of gross soils from the barn, the two-part solution is mixed, diluted in water, and either foamed or sprayed on surfaces.

In entryways, Sterilex® Ultra Step is an EPA-registered solid floor, foot pan and boot sanitizer that is highly effective as an alternative to foot baths and can prevent the spread of food pathogens via foot traffic. The powder is used in entryway foot pans, and can also be applied directly to floors in barns and hatcheries.

What additional information is available?

For more information on preventing the spread of avian influenza, visit the USDA’s Avian Influenza page. Of particular interest to poultry farms and processors are the Biosecurity for Birds and 6 Simple Steps for Good Biosecurity pages, which outline some of the USDA’s recommended practices for keeping poultry populations safe from pathogens like Avian Influenza, Salmonella, and exotic Newcastle disease (END).

For more information on using Sterilex products to address the challenges of integrated farms,contact us for more details.

NOW AVAILABLE – Sterilex NEW Ultra Soft Metal Activator!

NOW AVAILABLE – Sterilex NEW Ultra Soft Metal Activator! 

Ultra Soft Metal Activator was designed to address the most difficult microbial challenges on soft metal surfaces such as aluminum coils and to enhance food safety in food processing environments.

When paired with Sterilex® Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1 or Sterilex® Ultra CIP, Ultra Soft Metal Activator creates a PerQuat® solution that is compatible with a wide array of soft metal surfaces.  Ideal applications include spiral freezers, cooling tunnels, IQF freezers, HVAC systems, overheads and other difficult to clean aluminum surfaces.  Sterilex PerQuat® technology is the only chemistry with products approved to remove biofilm on both public health and industrial surfaces**.

Ultra Soft Metal Activator’s key features include:

  • Tested on most commonly used aluminum and soft metal surfaces*
  • Based on Sterilex® proprietary PerQuat® technology and specifically designed to kill resistant food pathogens such as Listeria, E. coli and Salmonella
  • Ability to penetrate and remove biofilm when combined with either Sterilex® Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1 or Sterilex® Ultra CIP**
  • Can be used for both remediation of microbial challenges as well as rotational maintenance
  • Easy to mix and circulate
  • Low environmental impact (non-acid, non-volatile, phosphate free, compatible with wastewater systems)

Now available for immediate order from Sterilex distribution partners, Ultra Soft Metal Activator comes in various sizes to meet the demands of your accounts.

Contact Sterilex today at 1.800.511.1659 or visit sales@sterilex.com to place your order.  Be sure to reference the item codes below.

Size                 Item Code

5 Gallon          08005USM

55 Gallon        08055USM

275 Gallon      08275USM

330 Gallon      08330USM

 

*Please reference the compatibility chart on www.sterilex.com/softmetal

**Biofilm label claims approved for specific applications only.  See product label for full label claims and usage instructions.

Sterilex Earns Top Honor from International Association for Food Protection

food-safety-innovation-awardA primary mission of Sterilex Corporation is to provide the best solutions for microbial threats in the food production environment. We are proud that innovation is a core value of our company, and we constantly strive to develop and strengthen our line of proprietary biofilm-control biocides, broad spectrum disinfectants, sanitizers and decontamination products.

We are honored to receive the 2016 Food Safety Innovation Award from the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP) for Sterilex Ultra Powder. This annual award is presented to an individual or organization that creates a new idea, practice or product that has had a positive impact on food safety, thus improving public health and the quality of life.

Sterilex Ultra Powder has been designed as a unique EPA registered floor sanitizer for use in food processing and animal environments, and is now the leading product in this market segment. Ultra Powder utilizes Sterilex proprietary PerQuat® technology, and incorporates unique features such as small, non-slip granules that plant workers can broadcast directly on plant floors to sanitize and enhance traction.

Award Acceptance

Shira Kramer and Alex Josowitz of Sterilex accept the 2016 Food Safety Innovation Award at IAFP in St. Louis, Missouri.

With ongoing reports of food processing plants experiencing Listeria recalls, it is evident that plants must implement sanitation programs that use validated products to address their microbial challenges. Sterilex is proud to produce a product for our customers that combines the award-winning characteristics of optimized chemistry, texture, composition, and EPA registration.

Prior to the launch of Sterilex Ultra Powder, food processing plants primarily relied on boot dips, foaming liquid
products, or solid floor “treatments” to treat floors and control foot traffic in entryways. Liquid sanitizers that introduce moisture into the processing environment can be counter-productive, as over time they can become a breeding ground for bacteria. Additionally, while solid floor “treatments” have been on the market for a number of years, they are not EPA-approved as sanitizers and can only legally be used as “cleaning” or “anti-slip” agents. In the past, if a plant’s Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan included the use of a floor or entryway intervention to control the growth and spread of foodborne pathogens, it was limited to the use of a liquid-based sanitizer. Therefore, introduction of Sterilex Ultra Powder represented a pivotal improvement in food processing plant sanitation.

The product’s key features include:

• Can be used in both wet and low moisture processing applications, but is especially useful in ready-to-eat, sensitive or low-moisture plant environments
• Ideal for use in mats or other floor containment devices and in entryways
• Provides traction that improves plant safety
• Small, sand-like granules move easily into boot treads, tires, and the grooves of a textured or cracked floor
• EPA-registered to kill resistant organisms such as Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella

Sterilex recently conducted a trial at a plant where one mat treated with Sterilex Ultra Powder was placed just outside the locker rooms that employees walked through. Sterilex Ultra Powder was so effective in killing microorganisms on the boot, that the plant experienced huge drops in its Listeria counts as far as two rooms away due to the sanitization of the boot. These types of results have been reported by customers who recognize the value of Sterilex technology in maintaining a safe processing environment.

This type of recognition, including the IAFP Food Safety Innovation Award, illustrate our passion for innovation and our ability to produce quality, effective products that offer unique solutions for our customers.

To read our full press release on the award-winning product, click here. To learn more about Sterilex Ultra Powder, visit the product page, call us at (800) 511-1659, or email us at sales@sterilex.com.

Liquid Ultra for Dental Unit Waterlines Acquired by Crosstex

As of Wednesday, 1/13/2016, Sterilex’s Liquid Ultra for the treatment of dental unit waterlines has been acquired by and is now exclusively available from Crosstex, a leading provider of infection prevention and control products.

Sterilex Liquid Ultra is available through Crosstex’s global network of dental dealers. For more information about this product or to obtain ordering information please visit www.Crosstex.com or contact Crosstex directly at 631-582-6777.  Orders may be forwarded electronically to orders@crosstex.com.

Sterilex to Present During Listeria Control Webinar

It’s no secret that Listeria poses a significant concern for the food processing industry. Recent recalls have been highlighted in the news, leading to an increased discussion about Listeria control and government regulation.

The free webinar, “Effective Ways to Improve Your Listeria Environmental Control Program,” is an event hosted by Roka Biosciences for all in the food industry. Alex Josowitz, Director of Business Development for Sterilex Corporation, will present alongside Dr. N. Robert Ward, Chief Executive Officer of WorldBio Products, and Dan Behler, Vice President of Marketing for Roka Bioscience, in this important online presentation about the practical tools and technology for detecting and controlling Listeria.

tune-in

Learn industry tips on:

• Keys to Effective Sampling of an Environmental Surface Control of Listeria on Floors and Entryways Using Dry Floor Sanitizers (Dr. N. Robert Ward)

• Control of Listeria on Floors and Entryways Using Dry Floor Sanitizers (Alex Josowitz)

• Important Considerations for choosing a test method to detect environmental Listeria (Dan Behler)

Every webinar participant will walk away with actionable strategies and tools on how to implement an effective Listeria Control Plan.

Watch Webinar On-Demand

Sterilex Hires Alex Zeman as Account Manager – West

Sterilex is proud to welcome Alex Zeman on board as a new Account Manager in Sterilex’s Food & Beverage and Water Treatment sales divisions. Alex comes from a water treatment background, having spent the past two years working for US Water.

Alex will be working out of his home office in Denver, CO and focusing efforts on the Western US and Western Canada for Sterilex.

*Biofilm label claims approved for specific applications only. See product label for full label claims and usage instructions.
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