The potential for food product recalls from surface or environmental contamination is a constant challenge for manufacturers and caterers who must adhere to stringent safety regulations that govern the industry; the importance of cleaning in the sector cannot be over-emphasized. Microbes are present all around us and can spread through various touchpoints, and many factors – from reusing equipment for multiple purposes without thorough cleaning in between, to the effects of excess moisture – can boost bacterial populations and contribute to premature food spoilage. Even with rigorous processes in place, human error and lapses in cleaning protocols can still occur, resulting in food contact surfaces that might look clean but, in fact, harbour harmful bacteria.
Microban International develops built-in antimicrobial technologies that help to address these challenges. Common surface disinfectants have limited residual activity once they dry, allowing bacterial populations to quickly rebound, however, integrated antimicrobial protection provides an additional 24/7 layer of protection against the growth of bacteria for the lifetime of any surface, utensil or vessel. Treated articles can be used alongside thorough handwashing practices and regular disinfection routines, enabling food industry professionals to maintain a cleaner environment for the storage, delivery, processing, preparation and serving of food for human and animal consumption.
The prevention of contamination is more important than ever as food safety regulations change and, in many instances, become more rigorous, and the implementation of innovative solutions to help this at each stage of the production process is actively encouraged. However, complying with the various regulatory requirements can prove to be a minefield for manufacturers to negotiate, not least because of stringent rules for substances in direct food contact, and the fact that the use of antimicrobials is controlled by different agencies – with different rules and legal limits – in different countries.
It is crucial that manufacturers of food service products only use antimicrobial additives that are specifically registered for direct food contact, and can be integrated into a wide range of food service materials, including plastics, ceramics and coatings. Microban has an in-house regulatory department that works diligently to ensure its antimicrobial additives are safe for food contact, for example, its silver-based formula is notified with the EU’s Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) specifically for use with articles in contact with food. Choosing the right chemistry for the right application with full regulatory compliance and support from knowledgeable and experienced partners, will help the industry to guard against surface, utensil and vessel contamination for longer.
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