An 11-week proof of concept (POC) saw Bio-Fence antimicrobial coatings applied to the floor and lower part of walls of a hot dog peeling room in a major sausage manufacturing facility in Israel. Despite repeated, strict cleaning and disinfection routines, the facility had a continuous pre-pilot presence of listeria spp, particularly on the production floor.
During the three-week control phase prior to the application of the Bio-Fence coating, listeria was detected in 21 out of 23 (91%) daily floor samples; following the application of the Bio-Fence coating, listeria was completely undetectable on the floor surface during day-to-day production.*
Results from the pilot also show a reduction of up to 99.9999% in the level of gram-negative bacteria as demonstrated by Enterobacteria (EB) readings, and an improvement in hygiene levels as demonstrated by Total Count (TC) readings. Exactly the same cleaning and hygiene routines, involving a chlorine-based product, were practiced before and after the Bio-Fence application.
Environmental pathogens within the food production process remains one of the greatest risks to food safety, with the presence of these bacteria in the production environment directly linked to the contamination of food.
The hot dog peeling room was selected for the pilot as it poses a series of complex challenges to maintaining hygiene levels. The production environment includes low temperatures, humidity, condensation and heavy movement of workers and equipment—all conditions under which listeria can thrive.
Because of the successful proof of concept, the manufacturing facility has continued to use Bio-Fence’s antimicrobial coatings and is now looking to expand the use of the coating in other areas of the facility.
Ofer Shoham, CEO of Bio-Fence, says, “Dealing with environmental pathogens like listeria, salmonella and others in food production processes is a continuous struggle for food manufacturers, especially in the production of sensitive food defined as RTE.” He notes there is a direct link between the presence of these bacteria in the immediate environment of production equipment and the contamination of food products.
“Sadly, thousands of people are still infected by listeria every year, causing a mortality rate of more than 25%. We are hugely encouraged by the breakthrough results of this pilot, which independently demonstrates the efficacy of the Bio-Fence product in helping eliminate listeria. We are convinced, as demonstrated by the POC results, that our technology can cut the path of infection and improve the overall hygiene level in food production,” Shoham says.
*Positive post-application listeria results were established on one weekend during the trial, as chlorine was not used in that weekend’s sanitation.