Scientific testing by an independent laboratory has proven that a specialized laundering process, offered by UniFirst Corporation and used to disinfect and protect food industry garments, destroys pathogens known to cause nearly 90 million cases of food-borne illnesses in the U.S. and Canada each year.
As part of the processing and distribution of food products, the garments that workers wear can naturally accumulate pathogens, such as Salmonella, Listeria, and, E. coli — all of which contribute to food borne illnesses. If those work garments are not hygienically laundered with services designed specifically to eradicate food safety risks, those pathogens can remain active and can continue to contaminate food products.
The UniFirst UniSafe Service and Product Protection Process (PPP), offered through the company’s managed uniform rental programs, is a specialized hygienic laundering and handling service specifically designed to eliminate contamination threats on garments worn by employees within food-related businesses, whether they are found in manufacturing, processing, distribution, or retail. Given the publicity that several large scale food contamination recall events have received over the past year, food industry managers will want to be more vigilant in controlling all sources of potential cross contamination.
UniSafe/PPP was tested by scientists at Environmental Monitoring Associates, Inc. of Nashua, NH, an independent laboratory services company. EMA’s lab results measured reductions of the most common classes of pathogens on employee work apparel, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds—all recognized as sources of dangerous contamination in the consumer food supply chain. EMA’s analysis demonstrates that UniSafe processing kills virtually all organisms tested.
“We’re obviously pleased that our UniFirst UniSafe Service passed all microbial tests with flying colors, effectively reducing microbiological contamination to levels approaching sterility, killing more than 99.9999% of pathogens,” says Adam Soreff, Director of Marketing and Communications for UniFirst. “This is great news for our many food industry customers concerned with food product safety throughout all aspects of the supply chain, right down to the uniforms and the garment processing they receive.”
The test results are documented and available to the public in a recently published white paper titled “UniFirst UniSafesm Service and Product Protection Process (PPP)…Workwear Solutions for Food Product Safety.”
Food-related businesses now have a scientifically proven choice for effective garment disinfection consistent with their food safety goals. The UniSafesm Service program is based on principles set forth in Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) application guidelines, and identifies and mitigates risks involved with food contamination. “As a portal-to-portal procedure that begins at customer facilities and extends through all garment handling, laundering, and finishing processes, UniSafe offers program options that leave nothing to chance when it comes to food safety,” Soreff says.
With the passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act in 2011, the food industry is being encouraged to place a greater emphasis of preventing food threats. The Act empowers the FDA to adopt proactive practices to prevent food borne illnesses, such as issuing instant recalls. In Canada, where the food industry is regulated under a suite of different statues, similar preventive measures are also supported by the government.
The UniSafe Service is available throughout the U.S. and Canada via more than 200 UniFirst service centers coast-to-coast. As part of the company’s managed uniform rental service programs, food related businesses receive scheduled pick-up and deliveries, laundering, garment repairs and replacements, as well as overall program management. For more information visit www.unifirst.com/UniSafe.