In food processing environments, where germs can be easily transmitted and the risk of food spoilage and safety issues are high, a proactive approach to hygiene and safety is critical. UV disinfection systems are becoming more popular within the food industry, since they offer a dry, chemical-free way to remove bacteria, mould, and viruses from surfaces, eliminating the possibility of cross-contamination.
Following the publication of BS 8628:2022, leading microbiological testing firm, MSL Solution Providers, is implementing the new industry standard for automated UV disinfection devices at its in-house laboratories, which have bespoke, purpose-built enclosures specifically for this testing.
Largely based on the existing airborne disinfection standard EN 17272:2020, with some minor variations for UV devices, this new method standardises a distance for the emitter from a test surface, allowing for an assessment of power versus contact time for the UV unit. It covers the requirements and methodology for testing the efficacy of UV devices, determining bactericidal, mycobactericidal, sporicidal, yeasticidal, fungicidal, virucidal and phagocidal activities.
Previously, remote UV systems had no formal guidance on their effectiveness. The assumption of efficacy had been based on available research papers and in-house test methods of multiple testing laboratories or research facilities, which means that each different machine may have been tested in completely different ways – if it has undergone testing at all.
Peter Thistlethwaite, Technical Projects Manager at MSL Solution Providers comments, ‘Whilst UVC light is certainly harmful to microorganisms, there are many issues with assuming the effectiveness of an emitter based on publications rather than testing. For example, is the emitter at a suitable distance to remain effective, does it have the same effect low to the floor as it does directly in front of it, are the light sources of a suitable power? For cleanroom and sterile environments especially, it is imperative that whole room decontamination systems, such as disinfection devices that use ultraviolet radiation, have proven efficacy.
He continues, ‘We have worked closely with the CH/216 committee at The British Standards Institution to develop BS 8628:2022 and are ready to test the efficacy of UV disinfection devices. This is now the industry standard, and we are pleased to add this to our roster of services to assure companies that the system employed at their facilities is both suitable for use and effective against the organisms that pose the greatest risks.’
Any facility employing the use of disinfection using ultraviolet radiation should ensure that they are aware of the changes now in effect and whether their system is fit for use under the new guidance. To book a test or for further information or advice, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.