Cross-contamination can occur at any time in the food production process, making it imperative for food processors to proactively prevent pathogens from entering and spreading throughout a facility. Often overlooked, cross-contamination from footwear can come from inside or outside a plant. And, as most footwear sanitizing programs involve moisture, footwear sanitizing in dry production facilities can be a huge challenge. Meritech President Michele Colbert explains the importance of fully automated systems for footwear sanitizing to prevent the entry of pathogens and moisture into dry production areas.

1. Why are footwear sanitizing programs such a challenge in dry production?

The reality is that many sanitizing practices that are commonly used today can actually result in the spread rather than the elimination of pathogens. Manual footwear sanitizing pans, sanitizer sprays, dry quat pellets, or pails with brushes for manual scrubbing of shoes are all common practices that introduce variability and risk as they rely on manual intervention. The prevalence of these ineffective methods coupled with the additional limitations present in dry food production further compound the issue.

2. What is the key to an effective footwear hygiene program?

The ability to validate effectiveness consistently. The sanitization method must ensure the appropriate “kill” concentration of the sanitizing chemical and the appropriate contact time required for the chemical to be effective.

3. What should one consider when evaluating footwear sanitizing solutions for dry production environments?

The most important factor is the sanitizing chemical and method of application— it must effectively sanitize footwear while controlling moisture. One approach we recommend is to use an alcohol-based sanitizer that quickly evaporates post-application.

4. What makes Meritech’s systems different and more effective?

All of Meritech’s equipment is fully automated, requiring no manual intervention and eliminating variability. Meritech handwashing systems are clinically proven to remove 99.98% of pathogens from hands and seamlessly integrate with our extensive line of fully automated footwear sanitizing pans and boot scrubbers. Each of our systems automatically maintains the required PPM level of sanitizing chemical and ensures proper contact time to eliminate footwear as a vector for the spread of pathogens. We recently introduced our newest fast-evaporating footwear-sanitizing product, the Sole Clean Dry Step, for use in dry and semi-dry production zones.

5. Why should food processors choose Meritech as their employee hygiene partner?

All of our equipment is proudly manufactured in the USA and is protected by an industry leading five-year warranty. Our equipment is easy to clean and reliable because they are regularly calibrated, certified, and supported by our professional team of service engineers. Our HACCP-certified team is dedicated to helping food-processing leaders achieve employee hygiene and food safety excellence.