The Wash Podcast: 12 Seconds to Clean with CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements

Welcome to The Wash, your trusted resource for the latest and greatest in public health and hygiene, where we will tackle topics like hand hygiene, best practices in footwear sanitization, creating an employee hygiene program, and more!

On today’s episode, we invite CTO Paul Barnhill and VP of Sales and Marketing Will Eaton to talk to us about our 12 Seconds to Clean initiative and how CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements help ensure both hand and footwear hygiene in just 12 seconds.

Explore CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements Here!

You can listen to the podcast using the media player or read the podcast transcript below:


Podcast Transcript: 12 Seconds to Clean with CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements

Abigail: Hello, and welcome to "The Wash", your trusted resource for the latest and greatest in public health and hygiene. On today's episode, we invite Chief Technology, Officer Paul Barnhill and VP of Sales and Marketing, Will Eaton to talk to us about CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements and how they help with footwear sanitation at food processing facilities in our 12 Seconds to Clean campaign. Paul and Will, thank you so much for joining me today!

Will: Thank you.

Paul: Thanks for having me.

Abigail: So this month at Meritech, we're kicking off our whole 12 Seconds to Clean campaign. Will, do you want to add a little bit of color about what this is?

Will: Yeah, absolutely. So we always talk about our 12 seconds for achieving the perfect handwash. But right now, Paul and I are excited to talk about achieving two critical hygiene objectives in 12 seconds. So this is not only with our automated hand hygiene equipment, this is with our sanitizing pans being used with our systems. So while you're receiving the perfect hand wash in 12 seconds, You're also sanitizing the bottom of your footwear, which is sometimes overlooked going into facilities. So we do carry a lot of pathogens on the bottom of our feet. So while you're cleaning your hands, we're able to offer you a solution where you're achieving the perfect hand wash and sanitizing your footwear at the exact same time. It's super exciting, it achieves two primary objectives for anybody who's concerned about hygiene within their facilities.

Abigail: That's awesome Will! So how exactly do we achieve the 12 Seconds to Clean?

Will: Well, great question. We do that by providing the perfect handwash within our CleanTech® systems. And then by adding an enhancement to that system, either our Wetted Boot Dip or our Sole Clean. Both of those are footwear sanitizing pans that while you're receiving the 12 second hand wash, the bottom of your footwear is being sanitized. And the most unbelievable thing about both these we have clinical data backing up what's going on with this process.

Download Spec Sheets for CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements Here!

Abigail: Wow. All right. So, Paul, what exactly are these automated footwear sanitizing pans and how do they work with the CleanTech® systems?

Paul: Great question. So I think really just started out. There's really kind of two different versions. One of those is a boot dip and one of those is so clean and they're distinctly different. One of those, you kind of look at an as simple way as one is for a wet foot environment. And one is for more of a low moisture or a drier environment you would have. So for example, maybe a wedded food processing plant, like fresh cut facility or something like that may end up with a boot dip system. Where then, so clean may be something like maybe pharmaceutical manufacturing, maybe dry processing, a spices or a bakery. These are types of areas where you want that low moisture, but still want to sanitize footwear at the same time.

Abigail: Okay. And how exactly do they work with the CleanTech® system?

Paul: So how they work with them is they're like we'll have mentioned, they are actually an enhancement and you attach that to the system directly and it's either controlled directly by the clean tech or a separate control module, depending on which one. So for example, in the boot dip scenario, we're actually , Controlling that for every single hand hygiene event, we're taking a hard surface cleaning agent called ourself clean fluid, which is a high quad concentration that we control between 800,000 parts per million. And we're injecting it down the pan below that the person is standing in. So one of the beauties of that is that they get that 12 seconds of contact time, which is so much more different than other types of footwear cleaning those out on the market. But they're standing in the pan. In that wedded back that is controlled again to that 800 to a thousand parts per million to sanitize that footwear and the sole clean version. What it uses. It actually uses an alcohol-quat blend, chemical. It's a ready to use product. It's not further wetted down and you're standing in a damp pad that basically just , the pad absorbs the fluid that's injected into it automatically. And you're standing on that pad and it just gets the souls of the footwear wet, not the entire foot in a boot dip. Scenario. And then as they walk off again, it dries and evaporates. Cause again, it's mostly an alcohol product. The advantages of these two scenarios is that again, that 12 seconds of contact time with the user and a hundred percent automated by the system. So you don't have to worry about when do I need to refill it, , so forth and so on is all based on both people or time, depending on the use structure of the system.

Abigail: So what CleanTech® systems do they work with?

Paul: Well, they work with our CleanTech® 2000S or CleanTech® 4000S.

(2) 4000S-BSo a 2000S is a single bay system that handles one user at a time, where the CleanTech® 4000S actually handles up to 15 people per minute and is a single system, but three independently operating hand hygiene bays with three independent footwear sanitizing options either be it a Boot Dip or Sole Clean. And then again, on the 2000S either a single of the Boot Dip or Sole Clean depending on again, what you need for your facility.

{4000S with Boot Dip Shown Here}

Abigail: Okay. And our Boot Dip pan is adjustable for different depths, right?

Paul: It is adjustable. And so we do that in a little different way. Again, the debris well, basically in the back, and then there's a dam that holds it. It allows a certain amount of water to stay in the pan all the time to adjust that depth. We actually change out the mat to different heights. So that you can get various heights of water depth. So some of your plants may be red meat processing and want a deeper bath, whereas you may have others that are doing something that is maybe in produce, so they don't need that deep of a bath, they just need to be able to get that footwear sole and tread depth wet.

Abigail: And our enhancements work with all different types of footwear, correct?

Paul: Absolutely correct. So you have, again, two different scenarios: you have a wetted, which is the Boot Dip and you have the Low Moisture, which is in the Sole Clean. The, the Boot Dip is normally what they call a boot, but a taller rubber sole, or even rubber boots work well in those areas. Again, that's, what's typically worn in those types of work environments, and they're quite acceptable for that.

SoleClean_GIFIMageAnd the Sole Clean actually works with any types of footwork. What we're focused on is that sole, the sole of that foot, where we're not looking at soils, things like that, but we're looking at that soul to sanitize that directly with that alcohol combination chemical. So it does work with all types of footwear. And again, one of the Meritech Hygiene Experts can definitely look at what you currently have. Figure out what the best sanitation method is. And again, recommend to you the right method for what you do in your plant and operations today.

Abigail: Thanks, Paul. So Will, why exactly is footwear sanitation so important in the food processing industry?

Will: That's a great question, Abigail. I believe footwear is one of those things that is overlooked, where hand washing isn't. So when we're trying to provide consultation for hygiene in food processing facilities, you know, one of the questions we always ask is do your employees wash their hands perfectly every single time? And we do know CleanTech® does remove the variability of human behavior, but one of the questions we always need to ask as well, this is the second side is what is the contact time with your current footwear sanitation equipment that you're using? because that's one of the things that's overlooked.

When we walk into facilities and we see door foamers, or we see manual pans that have to be filled constantly. What's the contact time? Sometimes it's one foot in, and it's one foot out -- maybe a second, maybe half a second. Where with our pans being used in conjunction with the hand washing equipment, you're getting 12 seconds of contact time. So ensuring that the footwear is properly sanitized instead of briefly coming in contact with dry quat pellets, a door foamer, you know, some of the other things that are used in facilities, we can guarantee 12 second contact time. Within our pans that Paul just described while you're receiving the perfect hand wash every single time. And that to me truly is what 12 Seconds to Clean means and stands for.

Explore CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements Here!

Paul: I think that the big thing is looking at this when it comes to safety. You know, you really want people to really focus on what they're doing at that point in time. You know, for example, walking through door foamer area where it may have been just sprayed can be a little bit of a slip trip, fall hazard. They can be a little bit, slicker in those areas, depending also what's on that. There's a lot of traffic to there by concentrating in that pan and having something around them that they can grab onto when they get to stand in that pan helps them, achieve that goal. You know, they have basically something to stabilize them and that's the CleanTech® system to be able to do that.

Will: So looking at the safety side of our systems versus what's currently out there, when you look at a door foamer, door foamers can provide a wet area, which people are walking around a facility and may not be aware of their surroundings. Which could cause a slip trip and fall scenario when using our system and not only receiving the 12 seconds of contact time, you're engaged in a hygiene event, you are focused on a hygiene event. You're focused on say, cleaning your hands and sanitizing your footwear. You're not focused on walking or doing another task within a facility, which could be a distraction, which could cause a safety issue.

Abigail: Good point Will, and I know some facilities even have like the old bucket and brush scenario going on. That's pretty dangerous too. Right Paul?

Paul: It's a, it's a real challenge when you're dealing with, the alternates of footwear sanitation. And especially when it comes to a bucket and a brush, you're asking somebody to kind of stand there on one leg, be able to use a brush, brush that foot off, then flip to the other foot, do that as well they just put their foot down in that area. They were standing before. So there's a cross-contamination potential event that happened.

There's the safety risk of them, you know, transitioning from, from one foot to another standing on one leg. If you have a little bit of an aged workforce, this is a high risk, activity for them to be able to do. They don't feel very stable during this, so that can create some challenges. And then you have just the entire sanitation aspect of the bucket and the brush, you know, the guy before you. You know, was, was using that before and he put it back in the sanitation bucket. And then when was the last time that sanitation fluid was changed? Is it still killing it? The same ratio? Is it being overloaded by pathogens? Was there heavy soiling and debris that bacteria could have been still in that soil and debris, that's still deposited back to another footwear and it just doesn't lent itself to total quality.

When you're looking, especially doesn't lend to food safety and best practices, and it's really counterculture to what we at Meritech tried to create, and that's a culture of hygiene and that doesn't do that. And that's one of those risk factors of using such a method. Same problem exists when you're dealing with just a boot dip mat, the doorway that is filled. Very common practice has been used in this country for 40 plus years. They pour some sanitizing fluid into the mat and people stand in and again, like Will had mentioned that they get one foot in, maybe, have a half a second to a second contact time may get the other foot or may just step that other foot out. And so they've only are 50% sanitized, but did they have enough contact time? But again, it gets over challenged in time. You overload with pathogens. Is it changed out often? And what happens when you have a buildup of soils and debris?

One of the unique things that we've done about our boot dip system. Is we actually designed into it what is basically called a debris well. And it's actually in the back of the pan, so not only are we injecting fluid with every single wash, we're injecting a very small amount of the sanitizer mixed with about 200 mls of water. And we're constantly flushing that pan and keeping it clear. We also have a, basically a debris well on the back that, that debris kind of naturally floats and settles into this area, very similar processes, what you would see and how a septic system works. And so those are being used, you know, for, you know, eons now and helping separate the waters and the debris, so forth from running throughout the facility. So again, it's an easy way of controlling that environment and keeping it cleaner long-term.

Will: What type of clinical data can you get from a door foamer, a manual pan, or a bucket and a brush? You know, when you look at some of the other options out there, what exactly are you getting? Because remember, like we discussed on this podcast, contact time is super important with the effectiveness of footwear sanitation. If you don't have adequate contact time, what is the effect you're trying to achieve? What is the effectiveness of that, that piece of equipment or that tool you're using? Where ours actually do have clinical data backing them as far as the effectiveness goes. And, you know, I know Paul was able to discuss a little bit more about the clinical data we have with these systems.

Download the Clinical Data on CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements Here

Paul: Thank you Will. One of the things that's challenging about studying footwear is really that there's not a methodology that was created to be able to actually study loading a pathogen on looking specifically at what that marker organism is, and then seeing what that reduction rate is.

So Meritech actually worked in conjunction with BioScience Laboratories and we developed a method based on ASTMs standard for hand hygiene, how we can transition that to footwear. So we did do that by applying certain pathogens like Listeria and Salmonella directly to footwear, then verifying that that was at a certain level. And how many log? For example, we applied 6.89 log of Salmonella to footwear. Then we use the hand washer and the boot dip in conjunction, letting that person stand there for 12 seconds. And then we measured what that efficacy result was post of.

So we know what we applied. We know what we removed and with the Salmonella, we were able to show with the boot dip system, 99.8% removal of that pathogen in that 12 seconds. Now, when we did the same data, we actually with Sole Clean we did two different pathogens: we studied Salmonella as well as then Listeria. And again, we did the same method. We applied the pathogen. We were able to show a 7.5 log on each of those pathogens that we added to the footwear and then showing a log reduction on both of those of 99.99%. So a four log reduction. Using the Sanifect D2 in the Sole Clean method.

So that's one of the things that Meritech works to not only do, is we want to automate the process. We want to remove those human variables when it comes to hygiene, but we also want to back that with really sound data that is based on, you know, government approval, government acceptance, as well as ASTM standards.

Will: Paul, can you think of any other options out there for footwear sanitizing, one that's clinically backed and also that provides, you know, a contact time of more than a second or two?

Paul: There's none to my knowledge. Now I've seen a few studies in the past that, that have got a little bit of data to them, but they're not really vetted and sound data. You know, to where then they're doing swabbing and swabbing is really fraught with a lot of different issues. It is a little better because you are dealing with a hard surface and you're able to get it. But what we're doing is we want to look at that collective piece of data. We want to know exactly what is it. We're applying.

I've seen some studies in the past where they've gone this general route of, Oh, what is all there and so forth. They don't really know what they're doing because they don't know exactly what they've applied. And then the variability, the human factor. If there's one thing that is unique is that humans are that, they're going to do something different every single time, by automating that process, by controlling that environment, you're able to get a consistent result. This is why automation is so key. It's so key in the food manufacturing industry. It's so key of when you have something critical, that's a routine task. It has to be done the same way every time. What do you do? You automate that process so that you get the same net result. Hygiene is no different. And so you have to look at that same way. You take that variable, which is the human being. You turn that into an automated process to be able to create a safer work environment and create a food safety culture.

Start creating a food safety culture at your facility with our Employee Hygiene Toolbox

Will: So Paul, I've been in some food processing facilities and I've seen dry quat pellets being used for footwear sanitation. What are your thoughts around the effectiveness and are there concerns around food safety with using, dry quat pellets?

Paul: Great, great question. And this one I'm asked a lot and in fact, I've actually consulted with a couple of customers of ours, helping them understand exactly the challenges quat powder can be effective if used properly. But one of the things that quat powder really needs to be effective is moisture. A lot of the plants that use these are in drier environments. So it's not as effective.vThat's the number one challenge.

The other challenge with quad powder is it becomes messy in time and it moves throughout the facility quite a bit. If your facility is vertical, meaning you have walkways or anything that goes above manufacturing, plants or operations quat powder is the last thing that you want to ever introduce into your facility because this quat powder migrates everywhere throughout your facility and attracts to areas really don't want. And the last thing you want to do is to track this powder potentially in an area that could cross-contaminate a food product. And that would be very, very difficult to detect, the hazards of that are immense, and it's a real challenge.

And so you have to look at, you know, one of the things that we talk about here at Meritech a lot is understanding the People, the Place in the Product. So we call them the three Ps and understanding these 3 P's, you really understand every aspect of what the people do in that plant. How are the products made and what that facility layout is like so that you can create the best sanitation program for them, in a right way. And that is one of those key aspects. When our hygiene specialists come in and look at the facility, is understanding exactly what's being done at that operation and then suggest and recommend the best practices for hygiene that takes into account all those variables.

Will: So who needs footwear sanitation, Right? And without a captive footwear program, everyone should consider it. Right?

Paul: Well and that's a challenge that I think needs to be discussed here is, is that a lot of companies don't realize the complexity of trying to create a captive footwear program. I think it's important because it lends ourselves to, okay, great. I have captive footwear program, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's sanitized.

Okay. You just have shoes that stay at the plant. Big deal. People still go outside, go on break. People still have to go to different areas that may transition from one building to another. You have a captive footwear program? Great. But you're still taking that footwear in areas that that may be bad that could still potentially bring something into a plant.

You know, back when I started in this industry 30 years ago, it was really red meat, red meat cared about the footwear and so forth and so on. That's no longer the case. In fact, almost every single food industry cares about it. Even including bakeries care about "What am I tracking in to my plant", you know? So they all care about footwear, but what is the right program to put in place? For that plant. When you really, again, that boils back to those 3 P's, I talked about before really understanding that. So you can develop a hygiene program that works specifically for them, but one of the easiest, the least expensive methods is to really utilize footwear, sanitation materials and methods, just like the CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements of the Boot Dip or the Sole Clean to really start you on the right path.

Learn more about the pitfalls of different footwear sanitation methods here!

Abigail: Good point, Paul and we do have a lot of resources that go over these different footwear sanitation methods, including captive footwear programs. I'll include a link to those and the transcription of this podcast, which will be available on our website. So Paul, it sounds like our CleanTech® Footwear Enhancements are great for every industry from bakery to meat.

Paul: Absolutely. So every plant has that concern. So everybody's walking in, and one of the stories I tell often, is, you know, you want to sanitize, as people come in and you want to remove debris and soil. So for example, you have a worker, he goes home, you know, he's decides to mow the yard and he steps in Fido's doo. That's the last thing we want to bring into a food processing plant. So you have to deal with that. And so that's one just simple, very example of exactly what you want to prevent coming in the food plant. So how do you deal with that? Well, we want to remove the debris and soils. We wanted them further sanitize that footwear to prevent that.

So yes, everywhere from a red meat plant, to protein plants to produce. Especially Ready to Eat, even dry facilities that are doing maybe spices or baking.

Abigail: Fantastic. Well, Paul and Will thank you so much for joining us today on the podcast. It was a great discussion and I look forward to further episodes with you both!

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