KANSAS CITY - Saint Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab Inc. offers a comprehensive suite of cleaning, sanitation and food safety solutions developed specifically for the fresh departments in the food retail market, said Adam Johnson, vice president and general manager of the company’s global food retail services division.

“Our industry-leading, innovative solutions help our customers deliver cleaner, safer stores while optimizing their operations and delivering maximum food safety protection,” Johnson said. “In addition, we offer a variety of solutions for the fresh department that go beyond just equipment sanitation.”

For example, Ecolab’s ProduceMAXX is an antimicrobial water additive that can significantly reduce potential cross-contamination and enhance the quality of fresh produce. And in the floral department, Ecolab offers FloraFresh, which can extend shelf-life and maintain the freshness of flowers.

In recent years, Ecolab has focused on providing customers the information and insights they need to improve compliance and reduce risk in their operations, Johnson said. One example of that is its MARKETGUARD 365 solution, a food safety and compliance management program that combines digital technology with Ecolab’s food retail industry knowledge and field expertise to deliver improved food safety protection and streamlined operations.

“As trends in the food retail industry change to include delivery, meal kits and enhanced focus on fresh, local foods, Ecolab provides compliance and food safety audits to ensure our customers are following the right processes that help minimize food safety risks,” Johnson said.

For nearly a century, he added, Ecolab has used science to help make environments safer – through hospital disinfection products and food-safe cleaning and sanitizing products; solutions that address the most common sources of infection transmission and elevated hygiene standards; and protocols informed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.

The food retail program in particular, he said, provides innovative solutions designed specifically for the unique cleaning challenges found within the retail environment.

“Combined with the information and insights gained from the MARKETGUARD 365 platform and food safety and compliance audits conducted by food safety experts dedicated to the retail environment, we are able to help ensure program compliance – identifying risks, implementing corrective actions and delivering maximum food safety protection.”

Ecolab also is making significant innovations in internet of things technology, Johnson said. These include things like connected dispensers that help drive compliance in cleaning and sanitation and systematically drive behavioral change as it relates to the execution of daily tasks.

In response to COVID, Ecolab developed its Ecolab Science Certified program as a way to help combat the virus and build confidence among its customer base.

The program uses hospital disinfection products, which are included on the EPA’s list of approved products (List N), with emerging viral pathogen claims; trains employees on when, where and how to clean, sanitize and disinfect properly; and verifies that the right cleaning and disinfecting products and procedures are in place with a periodic verification audit.

“Food retail has been an industry with strong food safety programs and SOPs in place,” Johnson said. “In the current pandemic, there also is an increased expectation from consumers to see retail associates actively cleaning and disinfecting while shopping.”

Consumers want to see what Ecolab calls “clean to believe clean,” which helps build confidence and trust in their retailer of choice. A partnership with Ecolab, Johnson said, provides retailers with the tools and training to properly execute these tasks. And when combined with the company’s audit program, retailers are provided feedback based on key metrics.

As consumer desire for more fresh, ready-to-eat and prepared onsite meals increases, retailers’ operations are becoming more complex with the addition of new equipment and protocols, Johnson said.

Ecolab works with retailers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop cleaning and sanitizing protocols to optimize operational efficiencies while minimizing food safety risks.

“We are also focused on supporting retailers with in-store audits and training as part of the partnership to drive continuous improvement and mitigate risk,” Johnson said.

Fighting COVID

Madison, Indiana-based Madison Chemical has introduced a new sanitizing and cleaning product that kills the coronavirus and other viruses in food production and other facilities.

Madisan 75a is a 4-chain quaternary surface sanitizer, disinfectant, mildewstat, and virucide for hard, non-porous and inanimate surfaces in various settings including food processing and foodservice facilities.

The product kills the coronavirus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1), Hepatitis B Virus (HBV), Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) and a variety of animal viruses specified on the EPA registered label. It also reduces a wide variety of pathogenic bacteria, including Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, and more.

Madisan 75, which appears on EPA List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, disinfects hard, non-porous surfaces/objects at 3.5 – 13.5 oz. per 4.5 gallons of water. It may be applied using a sponge, brush, cloth, mop, or by immersion or other applications specified on the EPA label. Treated surfaces must remain wet for 10 minutes.

The disinfectant is also acceptable for use in food and beverage plants as a Q3 shell egg sanitizing compound.

This story was featured in the October edition of Supermarket Perimeter. Click here to view the whole issue.