Food safety is always a major concern for the public’s health. Food poisoning, spoiled cooking materials, and the tease of a salmonella outbreak linger in the air within every food processing plant and kitchen in the nation. It seems like every couple of years we hear of another major recall for stores to pull produce from their shelves.
But what about the impact of salmonella outbreaks on food processors? Undoubtedly, a serious enough microbial disaster will cause the entire plant to shut down. Hours are lost, the unsold product is trashed, and the entire operation is put to a halt.
How Salmonella Thrives in Food Plants
Salmonella is an interesting bacteria, because it has the ability to survive in low-moisture environments for extended time periods.
When the Center for Disease Control (CDC) or food plants themselves report a food-borne outbreak, it’s usually salmonella. According to data gathered over the last 17 years, there were about 2,447 outbreaks from 1998 to 2015.
The simple fact that salmonella can thrive in low moisture is what makes controlling outbreaks so difficult for food manufacturers. Dry processing environments, in particular, are at risk when water is present.
The bacteria can easily grow, spread, and feed off any excess moisture on the equipment. Once this starts, it isn’t easy to stop. However, proper sanitization of food processing equipment can prevent outbreaks from occurring in the first place.
The Economic Impact of Salmonella
In the United States alone, it’s estimated that food safety incidents amount to $7 billion per year, which has a large impact on the economy. These costs add up quickly. Plants have to notify consumers, remove contaminated food from stores, and even pay damages to hospitalized or otherwise affected consumers.
Note: It is estimated that about 300,000 cases of illness occur in the United States each year due to food-borne sickness, and that’s not just salmonella.
Other economic impacts include market loss, decreased consumer demand, litigation, and even factory shutdowns. Not all of our food or raw food materials come from the States. So, this would also have an effect on international trade and supply chains that deal directly with edible goods.
How to Disinfect Food Processing Equipment and Plants
The impact of salmonella outbreaks on food processors is a multibillion-dollar problem in the USA. Ultimately, it impacts everything from international trade revenue to consumer purchasing trust in the food manufacturer.
Properly disinfecting both equipment and plant are crucial to avoid any bacterial outbreak. Sanitization is simply part of food safety and is non-negotiable. But how you go about the cleaning process depends on several factors, such as internal temperature, humidity, building design, and more.
If you’d like to know more, take a look at our food processing plant disinfection service. PureLine’s chlorine dioxide treatment options can be used as part of routine sanitation and disinfection in being proactive against bacterial growth, or can be used as a reset for food processors affected by Salmonella outbreaks.
If you would like to safely speak to a PureLine Food Safety sanitation specialist, fill out the form below and we would be glad to discuss your routine or urgent disinfection needs.