What You Need to Know: Sanitizers, Tolerance, and Resistance

Disease In Food

In addition to our own articles here at Food Contact Surfaces, perhaps one of the best resources for examining issues at the intersection of food and public health is the website Food Safety. And when we come across an article that we think is of specific interest to our community, we make sure to bring it to your attention. Today’s ‘Top Read’ is an article by authors Richard Brouilette and Thomas Haley, which offers an outstanding commentary on the importance of sanitizer selection when it comes to combatting the ever-present threat of microbial contamination. In ‘Sanitizers: From Effectiveness to Tolerance,’ Brouilette and Thomas bring awareness to the fact that – especially in the time of Covid-19 – all sanitizers are not created equal. In fact, not all sanitation products should be classified as such: some are disinfectants, others are simply cleaners. So how should we make a choice on which is the best product to use, and what are the variables to take into consideration?

As Brouilette and Thomas note, given that sanitizers are classified as ‘pesticides,’ their regulation falls under the purview of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This agency maintains lists of chemical ingredients that may be used in products for specific purposes. For example, food manufacturing facilities most commonly focus on using products that reduce levels of microbial contamination from pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenesSalmonella, or Escherichia coli. Healthcare settings such as hospitals or clinics, on the other hand, make greater use of disinfectants, in order to achieve a complete inactivation or eradication of  pathogens. Furthermore, documentation produced by the EPA also describes the exact methods of product usage – from concentration levels to surface contact time to best practice techniques.

And did you also know that the agency now maintains a list of disinfectants that are effective specifically against Covid-19? Known as ‘List N’ disinfectants, these products are available in a variety of formats – from pump sprays to aerosols, concentrates to saturated wipes – and knowing which to select and the best practices for use are key to effective cleaning and cost-efficiency. Additionally, Brouilette and Thomas also address the dangers of pathogen tolerance and resistance, the usefulness of product rotation, and the sometimes overlooked specter of biofilms.

To read more about this topic, head over to read the original article at Food Safety.