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Opinion: Enhancing protocols for disinfection and indoor air quality

In the ever-evolving food and beverage industry, the importance of sustainable practices has grown exponentially. Beyond eco-friendly sourcing and waste reduction, one vital aspect that demands our attention is the proper disinfection of food areas to prevent the spread of viruses, bacteria and cross-contamination. While disinfecting is not the primary factor in preserving food freshness, it can play an important role in preventing food spoilage. Adrian Fulle, global chief marketing officer for ByoPlanet, explains. Preventing food waste through disinfection As the world navigates the challenges of an increasingly globalised food supply chain, preventing food waste is a critical goal for the F&B industry. According to the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, around one third of the food produced globally for human consumption is lost or wasted. This amounts to approximately 1.3 billion metric tons of food each year. The pandemic underscored the need for robust hygiene measures to safeguard food from contamination and spoilage, especially in storage and processing facilities. One often overlooked aspect of food spoilage is the air quality within these facilities. Pathogens and microorganisms present in the air can accelerate the deterioration of fresh produce, leading to significant losses for producers and suppliers. Disinfecting the air and maintaining a clean environment can significantly reduce the risk of contamination, which may lead to prolonged freshness of food and minimised food waste. The advancement of disinfection technologies To address the challenges of disinfection effectively, the food and beverage industry must embrace advanced technologies. Among these innovations, induction-charging electrostatic disinfection technologies have emerged as a game-changer. Unlike traditional spray and wipe methods, these cutting-edge techniques deliver significant advantages, optimising both effectiveness and efficiency. With high-quality electrostatic sprayers, a sufficient charge is applied to the disinfectant as it leaves the nozzle, ensuring the disinfectant is uniformly and effectively covering the targeted surfaces, including complex geometries and hard-to-reach areas like food equipment, countertops and storage containers. The efficiency of these technologies also leads to a substantial reduction in labour time and costs. In fact, studies have shown that such advanced methods can reduce labour time by up to 73%. With streamlined disinfection processes, employees can focus on other essential tasks, enhancing overall productivity and reducing operational expenses.

Indoor air quality: A crucial component of workplace wellness As the world becomes increasingly conscious of health and wellbeing, the significance of indoor air quality (IAQ) cannot be underestimated. For professionals working within the food and beverage industry, the impact of IAQ is particularly pronounced. Poor air quality can lead to health issues among workers, resulting in more sick days, decreased productivity and heightened costs for companies. In facilities where a multitude of activities are conducted, including food processing, cooking and packaging, the release of airborne contaminants is not uncommon. These contaminants may include allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other harmful particles. Without proper ventilation and air purification systems, these pollutants can accumulate, leading to respiratory problems and reduced overall wellbeing. Investing in technologies that improve IAQ can yield remarkable benefits for both employees and businesses. By installing high-quality air filtration systems – such as HEPA filters, UV germicidal lights and air purifiers – companies can effectively remove contaminants from the air, creating a healthier work environment. As a result, workers experience fewer health issues, take fewer sick days and enjoy higher job satisfaction. Food for thought As the food and beverage industry marches toward a more sustainable future, safeguarding the health and safety of employees while minimising food waste has become a top priority. By implementing advanced disinfection technologies, such as electrostatic disinfection application methods, companies can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their disinfection processes, ultimately protecting front-line workers and reducing operational costs. Furthermore, recognising the critical role of indoor air quality in the wellbeing of workers, investing in air purification systems is no longer an option but a necessity. Improved IAQ leads to healthier, more productive employees and contributes to overall cost reductions for businesses. Sustainability in the food and beverage industry encompasses a broad spectrum of practices, and among them, the proper protocols for disinfection and indoor air quality management stand as crucial pillars. By embracing innovative technologies and prioritising employee wellness, companies can thrive in a safer, more productive and sustainable environment, securing a brighter future for the entire industry.

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