RAI Info

Food Disinfectants

There are many types of disinfectant. ‘Professional’ ones, domestic ones, antibacterial, bactericidal, kills 99.9% of germs DEAD (as opposed to just pissing them off, one assumes) but for use in a food business you need ones that comply with BSEN1276 or BSEN13697. It’s the law. If you don’t expect the EHO to be all over you. Any products mentioned on this page comply.

So, what to use? There are four basic chemical types commonly used to kill bugs:

[important]Quaternary Ammonium (or QACs or ‘quats’)[/important]

These are broad spectrum, safe, non-toxic, work well with most detergents (so a product can clean and disinfect) and If you get your formulation right you can make them food-safe too (so you don’t need to wash them off).

BUT they don’t kill norovirus. (Or C. diff but that’s not foodborne).

Examples are Chemex FAD (food safe), Chemex Bacticlean (like FAD but fragranced for Granny Farms) and Chemex Safewash – a proper bactericidal washing up liquid (tip: check the label on your ‘bactericidal’ washing up liquid. It was probably tested at 3:1 dilution, not 300:1 like in a sink!). There’s also Bacteria X – a ‘pure’ quat used for terminal cleans in food and surgical areas as well as for Legionella control.

[important]High-Level Oxidisers[/important]

Really trick stuff based on peracetic acids or other peroxides: non-toxic, kills the noroviruses with ease.

Pray you don’t need it. If you ever think you have norovirus in a food business sit can shut you down. If you do contact me – . I deal with this lots and can take you through it. We also have a groovy A3 poster telling food handlers all about it. Get in touch and I’ll give you one, Fnarr, Fnarr.

Chemex Antibak kills the noroviruses stone dead. And a bunch more of our Microbial Overlords. Which is why it’s a good job karma is µ²B (Utter, Utter Bollocks) or I’d be coming back as a rabbit in a syphilis lab…

[important]Caustic Alkalis[/important]

These are used primarily in floor and wall cleaners; some people use them in food surface products but it’s a cheap and lazy way to kill bugs; not food safe so needs thoroughly washing off a food surface before you do any more prep.

That said, it shifts shite very effectively. A high pH (e.g. really alkaline) is what machine dish wash detergents rely on too – strong alkalis turn fat into soap. That’s why a kitchen floor will be slippery when you use a caustic product on it.

Bacterial and most viral cell envelopes are fat. So a caustic will turn their little skins into soap. Which buggers their day right up. Products like Chemex Optimum C will degrease a fryer or hood in moments, Powerkleen will sort out floors and walls, and Chemex Smokeclean decarbonises ovens. And so will take your skin off if you don’t wear gloves.

[important]Chlorine Releasers[/important]

Bleach, Milton, chlorine tablets – all use chlorine to kill. It also bleaches stuff. But it’s toxic, corrosive, reactive and dangerous. And doesn’t clean. 10,000 ppm will kill norovirus on a clean surface and you can use it to disinfect salad leaves – if you’re careful. If you currently use Milton (fine product) Chemex Destainer has 42,000ppm active chlorine compared with the 10-20k ppm active chlorine in Milton. My wonderful employers (would you want to work with me? Sheesh!) also do chlorine tabs based on troclosene sodium which is broader spectrum and more stable than the traditional stuff.

[error]Chlorine is Nasty[/error]

But chlorine – in all its forms – is a strong oxidising agent. Contact with other material may cause a fire. It causes eye and respiratory tract irritation. It’s toxic to fishie wishies when you chuck it down the drain. Contact with acids liberates toxic gas which may cause skin irritation. Target Organs: respiratory system, eyes.


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