Sanitation kit could combat norovirus in food plants

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Gastroenteritis Hygiene

A kit for sanitizing food handling environments when bodily fluid spillages occur can restrict the spread of potential contaminants such as norovirus, claims its manufacturer.

Food safety and sanitation product supplier, Chemstar Corporation, said the new container enables employees in a food processing plant to clean and disinfect bodily fluids spillages quickly and safely at a time when ‘intense media focus on the recent outbreaks of norovirus, salmonella and E. coli has resulted in the further scrutiny of cleaning and disinfection protocols in the food industry.”

Bodily fluids such as vomit, blood, faeces, and urine may contain bacteria, pathogens or viruses such as norovirus, which is one of the most common causes of gastroenteritis, is highly contagious and can be spread through human contact

In one case, five norovirus outbreaks affecting several hundred people in Denmark in 2005 were traced to a single batch of contaminated frozen raspberries.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that among the 232 outbreaks of norovirus reported to the agency from July 1997 to June 2000, 57 per cent were foodborne.

All-in-one kit

Chemstar said the kit contains personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, shoe covers, a gown, a scraper, towels and a product designed to soak up fluid, Chemstar Absorb.

“Also included is Chemstar Envirox Tb, an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered disinfectant, tuberculocide, virucide, fungicide, bactericide and cleaner,”​ said the company.

It added that its Envirox Tb has a claim against Norovirus and meets Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA ) blood borne pathogen standards for Hepatitis B virus and HIV.

Safety precautions

According to Gregory Orman, vice president of retail services with Chemstar, as a safety precaution, all bodily fluid spills should be treated as infectious.

“If the fluid is contaminated and employees don’t take proper precautions, they could unintentionally track pathogens back into the food handling area. Food contamination could lead to an outbreak, particularly in cases of noroviruses, which are easily spread,”​ he claims.

US research

A recent US study evaluated how a new ethanol-based sanitizer could improve hand hygiene as well as minimize the transmission of viruses in food processing environments.

The findings of the University of Ottawa and North Carolina State University research teams were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology ​and show that transmission of multiple enteric viruses can be reduced by a newly synergistically formulated ethanol-based hand sanitizer.

The research team said that they undertook suspension and fingerpad protocol assessments using the new sanitizer and the control.

In the suspension test, the new ethanol-based sanitizer showed reduced infectivity of human rotavirus (HRV), poliovirus type 1 (PV-1), and human norovirus (HNV) surrogates FCV and MNV-1 by greater than 3 log whereas the control alcohol-based sanitizer reduced only HRV by greater than 3 log and none of the additional viruses by greater than 1.2 log after the same exposure.

In the fingerpad experiments, the newly developed sanitizer produced a 2.48 log reduction of MNV-1 while the control product only produced a 0.91 log reduction.

“Based on these results, we conclude that this new ethanol-based hand sanitizer is a promising option for reducing the transmission of enteric viruses, including norovirus, by food handlers and care providers,” ​said the team.

Related topics Food safety & quality

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