Henderson, CO - The Listeria outbreak in Colorado cantaloupe has prompted produce companies to re-examine their protocols for food safety. Birko, a leader in providing food safety solutions for the food industry, carries a complete line of special purpose chemicals and antimicrobial interventions for controlling pathogens in produce.
"There are many touch points along the way in produce processing, and it can be hard to know where an outbreak of Listeria starts," said Dana Johnson, Birko's produce specialist. "We recommend that produce processors become more proactive to prevent an outbreak."
Because Listeria can grow in floor drains and move up out of drains to the floors, Birko recommends that produce processors use Sterilex CW502 powder on floors and floor drains as a preventative maintenance (PM) approach. Sterilex is the only EPA-registered biofilm remover currently on the market.
Other Birko products effective in the fight against Listeria in produce operations include:
- Ultra QuatÔ (10% active four-way quaternary ammonium compound), applied on processing equipment at higher-than-normal levels
- BIRK-OX™, an EPA-registered 5.6% active peracetic acid liquid post-rinse sanitizer for previously cleaned surfaces
- Food Grade 88% Lactic Acid
- Veggiexide,? a food-grade, generally recognized as safe (GRAS) organic acid blend
"Fortunately, the traceability process worked to trace the Listeria problem to cantaloupe, and then to identify where the affected cantaloupe was grown, shipped, stored and sold," Johnson said. "However, traceability is only part of the equation. Produce processors also need a good HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan. Otherwise, it's like closing the barn door after the horse has been let out."
Birko provides HACCP consultation for fruit and vegetable processing through its HACCP-certified food safety consultants. Birko provides complete in-plant cleaning, chemical and sanitation audits, as well as assistance with chemical product usage, custom equipment procurement and employee training.