Gaseous CD has none of the drawbacks associated with the other decontamination methods. It can handle large areas and is compatible with the components, equipment, and finishings most commonly associated with food production facilities. Like formaldehyde, it is a true gas at room temperature and is thus evenly distributed throughout the area being decontaminated by gaseous diffusion.
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Gaseous CD saves time and, therefore, money. Often, washing procedures take place before a decontamination procedure. CD gas can penetrate through water, allowing for decontamination of the water and the surface the water is on without the need to physically dry the area. Furthermore, CD gas has very quick cycle and aeration times, allowing processing facilities to become decontaminated and fully functional in a shorter period of time.
Decontamination of a facility can be completed in one to three days depending on a facility’s size and complexity. Setup consists of sealing all of the possible leaks in an area such as windows, doors, vents, outlets, drains, and holes. Also, the building’s exhaust or HVAC system must be controlled in order to stop the CD gas from escaping and/or to exhaust the CD gas at the end of the decontamination cycle. If biological indicators (BIs) are required to further document the gas’s effectiveness, they are placed throughout the area by customer request. Then, quarter-inch sample and injection lines are run to many different points throughout the area so there is even sampling and dispersion of the gas during the decontamination cycle. Once the cycle is done and everything is cleaned up, the BIs are collected and properly evaluated, and the area can be turned back over to production.
Some facilities are implementing procedures to fumigate facilities on a yearly, semiannual, quarterly, or more frequent basis. These programs supplement the regular washdown procedures most commonly used.
With a washdown, the goal is to attempt to kill contaminating microorganisms. Regardless of the temperatures and/or types of chemical washes or sprays used, it is tough to completely rid an area of microorganisms. Several microorganisms are capable of surviving various challenging conditions due to mechanisms that they have developed to cope with some sanitizers, cleaning agents, and temperatures.
Ultimately, when microorganisms are not being completely removed, they can slowly build up their population and spread over larger areas, making the chances of a contamination—and, ultimately, a recall—much higher. Frequent use of CD for facility decontamination drastically reduces the chances of a contamination and/or a recall, because CD completely eradicates microorganisms from areas where potential contamination may occur.
Tyler E. Mattson is a decontamination specialist with Clordisys Solutions in Lebanon, N.J. Reach him at email@example.com.
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