KANSAS CITY, MO. - The coronavirus has driven home to food producers, retailers and their supply chain partners the importance of putting employee health and safety No. 1.

With that in mind, Kieler, Wis.-based food safety and contract sanitation provider PSSI recently introduced a disinfect product called PURE. Todd Mitchell, the company’s vice president for safety, said that one of the main reasons the company started using the product is because it’s the safest for its own employees.

“PURE is a ready-to-use disinfectant, which requires no mixing and limits exposure and contamination,” Mitchell said. “Another benefit is our employees can enter the disinfected area almost immediately after application.”

That’s beneficial for both PSSI’s team members and its partners, making it easier to able to disinfect a given area and get a plant up and running quicker with little downtime.

At PSSI, employee safety is not only a priority but a core value of the company’s business, Mitchell added.

“We have a commitment to safety that starts with the top,” he said. “We also have a safety team of more than 60 people, including former OSHA compliance representatives, division safety managers, and technical service experts across the country, dedicated to supporting and advancing employee safety.”

During COVID-19, the health and safety of PSSI’s team members continues to be a top priority. In addition to abiding by all CDC and local health authority guidelines, PSSI has instituted its own additional precautionary procedures to ensure the safety of our employees and their families. These include:

  • Hand sanitizer is available at all entrances, exits and transition points within facilities.
  • Face coverings must be worn by all team members when working.
  • All team meetings and daily safety drills must take place in areas large enough to allow 6 feet of distance between individuals.
  • Start times, breaks and meal periods are being staggered to reduce the number of employees in areas at one time.
  • Non-essential personnel visits to facilities are restricted.
  • Personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, sanitizers and disinfectants are all in stock for each facility PSSI cleans.
  • Information about social distancing, handwashing and other health and safety topics is readily available to our employees.

In addition, PSSI also screens all employees using a COVID-19 questionnaire and takes everyone’s temperatures when they arrive for work, which helps the company acknowledge if they’ve been diagnosed or in contact with a confirmed case, and better protects their colleagues from potential exposure.”

Even after the threat has passed, the coronavirus will continue to impact the way people all along the food supply chain work, Mitchell said. The need to clean and sanitize food processing facilities so that they can remain operational has never been greater, he said.

PSSI is committed to helping its customers navigate the challenges of COVID-19 by ensuring their facilities are clean, safe, and optimized to be as productive as possible.

“Our teams have implemented additional steps – including a COVID-19 decontamination plan – to make certain that the food processing plants are operating at the highest standard,” Mitchell said. “We think it’s important to plan ahead and work in partnership with sanitation services to protect any scenarios that could play out.”

Floral to the rescue 

Walterboro, S.C.-based FloraLife’s EPA-registered cleaner line made its debut in the floral Industry 29 years ago. In 2002, the company introduced its MicroBLOC products, created specifically to clean greenhouses.

Fast-forward to today. At the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic, effective disinfectant cleaner products of all kinds and brands were selling out in North America.

FloraLife decided to make the line available to other industries, as both FloraLife® D.C.D. ® and MicroBLOC® meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus.

But the line needed to be tweaked in order to meet the needs of other industries. FloraLife thus created a full line of ready-to-use (RTU) formats of its disinfectant cleaners.

The cleaners can be used on surfaces including food processing surfaces, desktops, delivery vehicles, countertops and tabletops, restrooms and bathroom surfaces, waiting areas, shelves, benches, warehouse floors and walls and, packing areas and more. The cleaners also work to quickly break down and evaporate, leaving surfaces dry and with a light scent. 

“No matter what the industry—food processing, transportation, industrial, schools, retail, travel or healthcare—our EPA-registered cleaning products, along with proper cleaning protocols, can be safely used to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus,” said Jim Daly, vice president of grower global operations and corporate research at FloraLife. “When compared to bleach, our FloraLife® Cleaner Products have the added advantage of providing residual protection in cases where the cleaner can remain on the surface without rinsing.” 

 Most of the RTU come in spray formats that are easy to use and effective to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, allowing companies to keep their employees safe and healthy. FloraLife D.C.D.®, for instance, can be used to disinfect food contact surfaces.

“During the pandemic, we have extended our disinfectant products and knowledge to non-floral settings,” said Alan Tanouye, director of global wholesale channel. “We bring the same consultative approach to these new industries as we have always done for florists, wholesalers, supermarkets, and other flower handlers.”

One of FloraLife’s strengths is to train its customers on the correct use of its products, and to help with setting up the right protocols and routines. The company extends this service and knowledge to the new industries it is now servicing.

“The safety landscape has changed for the immediate future and has made companies think differently with the number one focus being on employees and their well-being,” said David Turner, director of global operations. “We can help our customers acquire and properly use the right disinfectants and cleaners to keep their businesses, workspaces, and manufacturing sites safe from the novel coronavirus, and also offer our knowledge to help setup the right cleaning protocols and product use training.”

This story appeared in the June 2020 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. Check out the full June magazine here.