Dealing with the E.Coli outbreak, and the solution....

Dealing with the E.Coli outbreak, and the solution....

In the presence of a warning from the UK Health Security Agency which can be seen HERE. We thought it would be helpful to raise awareness as to ways in which there are solutions to prevent these issues from arising.

Food safety is a paramount concern in the food processing industry, with E. coli outbreaks posing significant challenges. This harmful bacterium can cause severe illness and even death, necessitating effective disinfection strategies.

Hypochlorous acid (HOCl), a powerful and versatile disinfectant, is revolutionizing food safety protocols by offering a potent solution to prevent and control E. coli outbreaks in food processing environments.


Understanding Hypochlorous Acid

Hypochlorous acid is a naturally occurring disinfectant produced by the human immune system to fight off pathogens. It is highly effective at killing a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi. In its manufactured form, HOCL can be used safely in various applications, including food processing. Unlike traditional chlorine-based disinfectants, HOCL is less corrosive and safer for both humans and equipment​.


Why HOCL is Superior for Food Processing?

HOCL is an incredibly strong oxidizing agent, capable of rapidly killing E. coli and other pathogens. At the same time, it is safe for human contact and non-toxic, breaking down into harmless substances like water and salt, making it ideal for use in critical food safety environments​ 

Effective against a wide range of microorganisms, HOCL provides comprehensive protection against bacteria, viruses, and fungi, ensuring thorough sanitation. This broad-spectrum efficacy is critical for maintaining hygiene in diverse food processing environments​ 

HOCL works quickly, significantly reducing microbial loads in a short time. This rapid action is crucial in food processing environments where efficiency and quick turnaround times are essential. The fast-acting nature of HOCL allows for real-time application during different stages of food processing​.

Unlike many traditional disinfectants, HOCL is non-corrosive and non-irritating. It does not damage equipment or pose risks to workers, making it a practical choice for regular use. This gentleness also means it can be used on sensitive surfaces and in various settings without the risk of deterioration or safety hazards​


Application Methods of HOCL in Food Processing

Direct Application on Foods:

  • Spraying: HOCL can be sprayed directly onto food products such as fruits, vegetables, and meats, ensuring thorough coverage and effective disinfection​.
  • Immersion: For items with complex surfaces, immersion in an HOCL solution ensures all surfaces, including crevices where bacteria might hide, are sanitized. This method is particularly effective for leafy greens and other produce with intricate surfaces.
  • Rinsing: Rinsing food products with an HOCL solution can help reduce microbial load before packaging or further processing, ensuring safer end products. This step is crucial for maintaining the integrity and safety of fresh produce​ 

Equipment and Facility Sanitation:

  • Clean-In-Place (CIP) Systems: HOCL can be integrated into CIP systems, which clean and sanitize the interior surfaces of equipment without disassembly, ensuring tanks, pipes, and conveyors are free from microbial contamination. This integration helps streamline sanitation processes and maintain high hygiene standards​.
  • Biofilm Removal: HOCL is particularly effective at penetrating and disrupting biofilms—protective layers formed by bacterial communities. Removing biofilms is crucial as they can harbor E. coli and other pathogens, leading to persistent contamination issues​.

Environmental Misting:

  • Air and Surface Disinfection: Misting systems can distribute HOCL throughout processing areas, disinfecting both the air and surfaces, maintaining a hygienic environment and reducing the risk of airborne contamination. This continuous disinfection helps prevent cross-contamination and ensures ongoing cleanliness in food processing facilities​.


Preventing Cross-Contamination

One of the key benefits of using HOCL in food processing is its ability to prevent cross-contamination. By ensuring both food products and processing equipment are thoroughly sanitized, HOCL reduces the likelihood of E. coli spreading from contaminated surfaces to uncontaminated food. This dual action is crucial for maintaining food safety and protecting public health. HOCl’s efficacy in breaking down biofilms also plays a significant role in preventing persistent contamination​.

Hypochlorous acid is proving to be a game-changer in the fight against E. coli and other pathogens in the food processing industry. Its powerful disinfection capabilities, combined with its safety and versatility, make it an ideal solution for ensuring food safety. By integrating HOCL into food processing protocols, manufacturers can effectively control and prevent E. coli outbreaks, safeguarding consumers and enhancing the overall quality of food products​.

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