Novel biocide in bid to revolutionise factory cleaning

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Chlorine

An Isle of Wight-based firm is targeting food manufacturers with a novel ‘green’ cleaning fluid that kills bugs on impact, does not need to be rinsed with water and can be flushed away without requiring waste disposal.

The biocide, which can be diluted in water and used in a spray or a wipe, contains a stable form of hypochlorous acid, a highly effective biocide that is also produced by the human body to kill pathogens such as E.coli, MRSA, C.Difficile ​and Salmonella ​on contact.

As hypochlorous acid was notoriously unstable (hypochlorous acid produced by the human body has a shelf-life of 12-hours), the chemical industry has historically produced the closest stable equivalent – sodium hypochlorite or bleach - said HypoTech. But this is an irritant, and must also be rinsed off before surfaces are used for food production again.

However, HypoTech, based in Shanklin, the Isle of Wight, has developed a process to produce a stable form of hypochlorous acid with a shelf-life of two years, director Glyn McCracken told Foodmanufacture.co.uk. “This enables manufacturers to save energy costs, water, labour and downtime as it can be used at ambient temperatures and does not need to be rinsed off. It also works rapidly, causing minimal disruption to your production line.”

Safe for staff

It was also completely safe, containing no corrosives, harsh chemicals or irritants, he added. “You could drink it if you really wanted to! It doesn’t need a COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) sheet so there is no risk if you spill it. It can just be poured down the drain.”

He added: “Traditionally, manufacturers have applied harsh chemicals to surfaces, pumps and vessels and then rinsed them off with lots of hot tap water – which itself contains bacteria. Our products can be sprayed onto a surface and kills pathogens in less than a minute. No soaking and no rinsing. They are environmentally friendly, have no special disposal requirements and contain no irritants or surfactants.”

SteriBev and SteriEx – the biocides HypoTech is targeting at the food and drink manufacturing sector - comply with the European Biocidal Products Directive and have a full suite of toxicology, sensitivity and cytoxicity studies to confirm their safety, said McCracken.

The products have just been launched but are already being used by breweries in the East of England and the Isle of Wight, he claimed.

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