In the wake of the Food and Drug Administration’s report Oct. 19 that linked unsanitary conditions at a cantaloupe packing shed to a listeriosis deadly outbreak, a Colorado manufacturer of food safety cleaning products is encouraging produce companies to re-examine their protocols.
Birko Corp., based in Henderson, Colo., not only offers food safety products and consultation services, it also has a seat on the International HACCP Alliance, making it able to support requirements from the Safe Quality Food Institute, the International Organization for Standardization and the British Retail Consortium, according to information on the company website.
In a news release, Dana Johnson, Birko’s produce specialist, said listeria can be difficult to control, partly because of the number of “touch points” that fresh produce goes through between the field and the retailer. She said fresh-cut companies in particular should be more proactive to prevent the growth of the pathogen.
Birko’s line of chemicals and antimicrobial intervention products includes Sterilex Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner, which erradicates pathogens from food contact surfaces and environmental surfaces in processing and handling facilities.
Other Birko products effective against listeria include: Ultra Quat, for cleaning processing equipment; BIRK-OX, an EPA-registered post-rinse sanitizer for previously cleaned surfaces; food grade 88% lactic acid; and Veggiexide, a food-grade, organic acid blend that carries the FDA’s “generally regarded as safe” designation.