An effective employee hygiene program is critical in preventing production zone contamination and protecting food safety. The most stringent hand hygiene and gowning protocols are compromised when there is no or ineffective footwear hygiene in place. Meritech President Michele Colbert explains the importance of fully automated handwashing and footwear sanitizing systems and how to safeguard employee hygiene SOPs.

1. How can footwear sanitizing practices damage employee hygiene SOPs?

There are some food industry standard practices that have been proven to be ineffective and result in the spread of pathogens rather than the elimination of pathogens from footwear. For example, manual footwear sanitizing pans, door foamers, dry quat pellets, pails with brushes for manual scrubbing of shoes are potentially, and in fact usually, ineffective. Any hygiene practice that allows for variability or that requires manual intervention will be inconsistent and not a validatable SOP.

CleanTech 2000SB fully automated handwashing and footwear sanitizing system removes 99.98% of dangerous pathogens in 12 seconds.
2. What is the key to an effective footwear hygiene program?

The key to an effective footwear hygiene program is validated automation to maintain the proper “kill” concentration of sanitizing chemicals. Contact time is critical, and food production companies should validate effective sanitizing of footwear using different contact times to determine what is effective. For example, a door foamer with variability in the concentration of chemical over the surface of the floor won’t be effective if there is less than a second of contact time per shoe.

3. What are some questions to ask when evaluating a captive footwear program?

Captive footwear is clearly on its way to becoming a mandatory food safety requirement. When you are evaluating boot scrubbers for your captive footwear hygiene program, here are critical questions to ask: How do you guarantee effectiveness? How will equipment be serviced, calibrated, and certified for your quality system? Is it designed for safety and cleanability per hygienic design principles? Where is the equipment manufactured? What is the warranty?

4. What makes Meritech handwashing and footwear sanitizing systems different and effective?

Meritech fully automated handwashing and footwear sanitizing systems simultaneously wash hands and sanitize footwear. In 12 seconds, the touch-free handwash is clinically validated to remove 99.98% of dangerous pathogens and systematically maintain the proper PPM level of the sanitizing agent in the footwear sanitizing pans to eliminate footwear as vectors for the spread of Listeria.

5. Why Meritech?

The complete line of footwear-sanitizing systems is manufactured in the USA and has a five-year parts and service warranty. Easy to clean and to maintain the proper “kill” levels, Meritech boot scrubbers and footwear sanitizing systems are professionally calibrated, tested and certified to provide an effective sanitization for any captive footwear program. Ask about Meritech’s employee-hygiene consulting from our HAACP-certified team members.