Bacteria and other micro-organisms are a fact of life. They are everywhere, all around us, all the time. However hard we try, there’s no getting away from them. Some are good for us, others are neutral, but a few are harmful. So it makes sense to do what we can to protect ourselves against their potentially undesirable effects. Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), is an internationally recognized way of managing food safety and protecting consumers. It is a requirement of EU food hygiene legislation that applies to all food business operators except farmers and growers.
“Acrylicon with Microban is the perfect floor for the food processing industry. Acrylicon has been the only manufacturer of industrial flooring with Microban since 1998, and was the first to accept and encompass the use of this technology.”
-Adam Clements, Managing Director AcryliCon UK Distribution Ltd.
HACCAP aims to focus attention on the identification and control of microbiological, as well as chemical and physical food safety hazards during production. The hazard assessment and the regular monitoring of critical control measures must be documented to provide the basis for audit checks and may provide evidence of due diligence in the event of legal action.
Cleaning and microbiological controls form a large part of this, and become a large cost to the facility. A lot of time must be devoted to cleaning, and a lot of money spent on these control measures.
In most factories, cleaning is often carried out at the end of each shift. In between, the micro-biological count will increase slowly, until the next clean. Good practice (and EU Law) dictates the use of Detergents and Disinfectants when cleaning.
Disinfectants are an instant but short term solution that provides only a limited residual activity once the treated surface area dries; and bacteria can very quickly start to grow and reproduce. Because of this we see "spikes" of high microbial activity towards the end of the shift before cleaning starts again. Due to these high spikes, the cleaning routine will have to be a lot more thorough each time - costing more money in time and materials. Once cleaned, the area will be put back into use. Cross contamination or normal production will introduce new bacteria, and these will then reproduce and spread quickly - often then cross-contaminating further areas.
It is worth bearing in mind that given the right conditions of warmth, a food source, time and a little humidity bacteria can double in number every twenty minutes. With a lot of traffic in and around production areas, it's not surprising that in a survey of foodservice providers and restaurant owners 85% of respondents* said they were concerned about the growth of bacteria, mould and mildew found on flooring in their facilities.
As an alternative, anti-microbial technology guarantees long-lasting protection, continuously working to prevent the growth of bacteria throughout the entire cleaning cycle. Once the bacteria have started to grow and reproduce, they will come into contact with the anti-microbial surface. The technology works by disrupting their biological functioning, the lifecycle cannot proceed and the bacteria then die. Now the "spikes" are unable to develop, with the microbial count remaining at a much lower level between cleaning. It can never replace regular cleaning, as there will always be some microbiological activity, but it will prevent the high levels from building up in the meantime.
It will also reduce cross contamination, with any new bacteria being brought to the area killed immediately on contact with the anti-microbial surface. The floor will now be much easier to clean, with the focus and effort now placed on simply removing dirt and debris from the surface - instead of having to rely solely on the disinfectant for our HACCP control. This leads to much more efficient and cost effective cleaning, as well as promoting a better working environment.
The lower average microbial count and cleaner environment will score highly on any customers audit or factory visit. Sir Gulam Noon introduced Anti-Microbial technology across his factories in order to show better practice and subsequently secured a lucrative contract with Sainsbury's making ready-meal curries.
Of course, none of this matters if the floor cannot be cleaned in the first place. In all cases, in order for the floor to be fully cleanable, it must be free from pinholes and pores and keep the dirt at the surface. For any dirt and bacteria trapped in the surface or in the pinholes can never be effectively removed or cleaned: no matter how good the anti-microbial technology!
The Acrylicon Flooring Systems are proven to be the easiest to clean on the market, completely non-porous and with a market leading compressive strength. This ensures that at all times dirt and bacteria will remain on the surface and can easily be washed away.
Acrylicon flooring systems have the added benefit of having Microban antibacterial protection built into the molecular structure of the Acrylicon System; which continually inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria from the surface of the flooring - helping to prevent the risk of cross-contamination.
As Microban antibacterial protection is built into the Acrylicon System at the point of manufacture it cannot wash away or wear out - providing round the clock antibacterial protection. We are therefore able to certify that each floor is able to kill harmful bacteria for the life of the floor. This certificate can be proudly displayed in receptions or board rooms to demonstrate that you are in full control of your microbiological hazards, and remind you of the savings made in the process.....
*Research carried out by Decision Analyst June 2006.
President, AcryliCon Group World Wide
Mr. Hegstad has made the challenges of industrial flooring his own and dealt with and solved the same during his more than 30 years of experience and expertise. He has developed and established AcryliCon in Norway, Sweden, Finland, England, Ireland, Middle East, Canada, USA and Internationally to deal with contracts outside our established areas.