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Antimicrobial worth its weight in silver

By Jenni Spinner+

09-Feb-2014

PURE Bioscience has launched Hard Surface, a silver-based antimicrobial agent.
PURE Bioscience has launched Hard Surface, a silver-based antimicrobial agent.

Biotechnology firm PURE Bioscience has launched an antimicrobial product that uses silver to efficiently and safely sanitize food surfaces.

PURE Bioscience, specializing in development of food safety solutions, has come up with Hard Surface, a product that uses silver dihydrogen citrate (SDC) to disinfect food-contact surfaces. Hank Lambert, PURE Bioscience CEO, spoke with FoodProductionDaily about the sanitation method, and how it can help food firms keep up with ever-increasing food safety and sanitation regulations.

Lambert has nearly four decades of industry working in the food industry. In addition to tenures at Heublein, RJ Reynolds, Nabisco, and Pinnacle Foods, he has served a number of food industry associations, including the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association, Institute of Food Technologists, and Safe Supply of Affordable Food Everywhere.

FPD: Could you please describe PURE Bioscience—its work and research, the services it provides its clients, etc.?

Hank Lambert: We are positioning PURE for use by food processors and restaurant chains as a food safety solution, to reduce the risk of food borne illness outbreaks and product recalls.

Today, PURE is used as a food contact surface disinfectant. We are in the process of developing a direct food application (rinse or processing aid for produce, poultry and meats) and applying for USDA and FDA approvals. PURE has application as a hard surface disinfectant in industries beyond food (healthcare and medical facilities, hospitality, institutional cleaning, etc.) and we are actively licensing the technology and distribution rights for use in those non-food settings.

Please give us some background about antimicrobials, pertaining to their use in food processing and packaging. What have been some of the major developments, and some of the stumbling blocks?

Antimicrobials are used to kill pathogens, bacteria and viruses that are present in a food processing facility as a result of coming in on raw materials and ingredients, employees being ill, employees not following safe food handling practices, windows and air ducts, HVAC systems, etc..Antimicrobials approved by the appropriate regulatory authority (FDA, USDA, EPA) can be used directly on the food as a processing aid or intervention step or on food contact surfaces (conveyor belts, cutters, grinders, refrigerators, etc.) (this is where PURE is used).

PURE is the first new antimicrobial molecule for food contact surfaces to be registered with the EPA in more than 30 years.

One of the “stumbling blocks” with existing antimicrobials (ammonia, chlorine based) is that certain types of bacteria can build up a resistance to them. This has not proven to be the case with PURE due to the nature of ionic silver and SDC’s multiple modes of action.

What makes the SDC technology different than other products?

SDC technology is unique in: the breadth and speed of its pathogen kill (vs. other antimicrobials in the market); providing 24-hour residual protection; being safe/non-toxic (EPA Level IV toxicity); not requiring rinsing of the treated surface before food is allowed to contact the surface; being tasteless, odorless, colorless, non-corrossive; not promoting microbial resistance.

What applications is it appropriate for?

SDC is appropriate for use to kill bacteria and viruses present on a wide range of hard surfaces.  We are focused on its use in food processing (on production, storage and transport equipment and surfaces) and in foodservice (restaurant food prep areas, utensils, slicers, drink and ice dispensers, table tops, etc.).

PURE also has application as a hard surface disinfectant in industries beyond food (healthcare and medical facilities, hospitality, institutional cleaning, etc.) and we are actively licensing the technology for those applications.

What are some of the ways that SDC benefits companies looking to comply with FSMA?

A cornerstone of FSMA is the establishment of preventive controls for food processors/manufacturers. Using SDC as a disinfectant on production equipment to achieve superior bacteria/pathogen kill and reduce the risk of contaminated product and, hence, foodborne illness and recalls, can be considered a preventive control.

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