Wednesday, 27 June 2012

E. coli in the Bottling Plant

The recurring news items about E. Coli infections in the UK and Continental Europe show how contaminated food distributed to the general public can have disastrous consequences, not only for the unfortunate people affected but also for the food supplier.

E. Coli is found in animal intestines and contamination can occur easily ithe abattoir during the disembowelling process. It can be prevented by good cleaning and disinfection programmes.

Fortunately, in the bottled water industry such contamination is rare because of the strict hygiene practices required. However, bottling plants on farming land do carry a higher risk. I know of one bottling plant which is adjacent to an abattoir so that extra hygiene precautions need to be taken.

Most contamination in the bottling plant is either walked in on footwear, floated in through doorways or transferred by human contact. Floors are particularly susceptible and it pays to use a disinfectant with residual action so that protection is maintained for extended periods during the shift.

Disinfectants based on quaternary ammonium compounds provide this residual action and are specially suited for treatment of walls and floors. It is advisable to use two different types of disinfectant in long-term treatment of floors, to prevent any possibility of acclimatisation by microorganisms. A chlorinated foamer is ideal as a companion product. 

Meanwhile, despite the bad image of the bacterium, E. Coli can look quite attractive and photogenic, as this picture of an unusual swimming variety shows.

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