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The Wash Podcast: An Intro to Footwear Hygiene in Food Processing


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 this week's episode, we invite Meritech COO Paul Barnhill as a return guest to help listeners understand the importance of footwear hygiene in food processing. Mr. Barnhill goes into detail explaining the pros and cons between different footwear sanitation methods, how to determine what makes sense for your facility and provides solutions for overcoming the greatest source of risk in achieving proper hygiene: the variability of human behavior in complying with SOPs.

Click this link to see a video of Meritech footwear sanitizing solutions in action! 

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

Podcast Transcript: An Intro to Footwear Hygiene in Food Processing

Jennifer Taylor:  Hello and welcome to The Wash, your trusted resource for the latest and greatest in public health and hygiene. This podcast is brought to you by Meritech, the leader in automated hygiene technology. I'm your host, Jennifer Taylor. In our last episode we discussed hand hygiene, one-on-one and food processing and today we're going to take our focus beyond hand hygiene and discuss the important role footwear hygiene plays in ensuring food safety. To help us explore that topic, I'm pleased to introduce our return guest, Paul Barnhill, Chief Operations Officer here at Meritech and head engineer. Paul, thanks for joining us again today.

Paul Barnhill:  Thank you, Jen.

Jennifer Taylor:  Yeah, it's always a pleasure to have you on the podcast. You're a wealth of excellent information in hygiene and sanitation and really excited to explore the topic of footwear hygiene with you today.

Paul Barnhill:  This is actually a really exciting topic. It really does play onto our last topic of hand hygiene and you can't separate hand hygiene without talking about footwear hygiene.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting. So given that, let's discuss what is footwear hygiene? Why is it so important?

Paul Barnhill:  Well, footwear hygiene is really important because today we're looking at every aspect when people are coming into plants and where people are going throughout plants, they're coming indoors, outdoors, there's a lot of different vectors as well as then we have equipment traffic in a plant. All of these are our areas that have to be addressed so that you don't have cross-contamination vectors and or risk factors.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting. So in terms of footwear hygiene, what are some of the risks or cross-contamination vectors that are common in food processing?

Paul Barnhill:  Some of the big factors are when people are coming from outdoors to indoors, that is a really big risk as well as then if they're moving from what you call maybe a cooked area to a raw area or moving in different areas in the plant. These are all the factors that you have to look at exactly what is working or not working in a plant as well as then forklift traffic, pallet traffic, cart traffic, all these cross the same areas that have to be considered.

Jennifer Taylor:  And as they're crossing those areas, it sounds like that they're carrying with them potentially particulates and pathogens from that previous environment potentially into the next environment.

Paul Barnhill:  Very much so.

Jennifer Taylor:  That's what we're controlling.

Paul Barnhill:  Very much so.

Jennifer Taylor:  Absolutely. Okay, so Paul in watching the news headlines in recent research, more and more often we're seeing footwear hygiene become a focus in food processing in terms of ensuring food safety. It's really becoming a hot topic. What are the drivers of this becoming such a hot topic in your opinion?

Paul Barnhill:  That's a really, really good question. Today we're looking at food safety without blinders and looking at all aspects of employee hygiene and sanitation. And what is best practices with SQF, BRC, FSMA, working in concert, we are managing to mitigate risk and prevent foodborne illness. The employees, the equipment constantly moving in the plants from outdoors to indoors, multiple areas in the plant that may be raw to cook to an RTE. All these process of a human, equipment, traffic flow are being scrutinized more than in the past.

Jennifer Taylor:  Okay, and in your opinion, what is driving that increased scrutiny?

Paul Barnhill: We want to do a better job. We want to be able to protect the products that we're producing. We want to make healthy, safe products for all consumers and mitigate risk.

Jennifer Taylor:  Absolutely. So what is that type of risk that comes with poor footwear sanitization?

Paul Barnhill:  Well, I mean, it's exactly that. You want to be able to mitigate that risk. You want to be able to produce that safe product for your consumers and have that peace of mind. There are so many vector points. There's so many touch points. Even if you have full automation, there's still human interaction, there's still traffic, interaction of forklifts. There's still things coming inside your facility that may need to be looked at for sanitation.

Jennifer Taylor:  Absolutely.

Paul Barnhill:  And footwear hygiene is one of the number one vector points.

Jennifer Taylor:  So let's deep dive into footwear hygiene. What does footwear hygiene mean?

Paul Barnhill:  It really means the ability to remove soils and debris as well as sanitize the footwear of bioburden or microbial load. Really easier way to say that is to remove dirt and kill pathogens.

Jennifer Taylor:  Keep it simple. So what are the different methods for achieving footwear hygiene in a food processing facility?

Paul Barnhill:  There are really a lot of different methods depending on what the environment is. And this is one of the big keys is knowing what that is. But you have things that are tacky mats, booties, door foamers, quat pellets, doorway boot dip pans, boot scrubbers, and you know, something that goes along with all of these aspects of hygiene is a captive footwear program.

Jennifer Taylor:  Absolutely. So what ... For a food processing leader, if they're looking at these methods and considering which to select, what should they be considering in terms of the importance of having a footwear hygiene program?

Paul Barnhill:  There's a lot of aspects of what they should consider to be a footwear hygiene program. I mean, the first thing they have to dial back to as exactly what are my needs? What is my facility? And what are we trying to control? What do we have to control? These are all aspects that leadership needs to look at when creating a footwear hygiene program.

Jennifer Taylor:  So what are the risks of not having a footwear hygiene program altogether?

Paul Barnhill:  I mean, the risk is simple. I think I may have already mentioned it, but the fact is you're trying to prevent an illness. You're trying to prevent disease, you're trying to prevent a contamination factor or a recall. You're trying to protect your consumers of your products.

Jennifer Taylor:  So does every food processing facility need a footwear hygiene program in your opinion?

Paul Barnhill:  I think it varies a lot. If you ask most of regulatory anymore, they believe that there needs to be some vector of protection and that being, that's why we have, you know, a half dozen different types of footwear sanitation methods. But we have to look exactly at what that is. What is it that works best in that facility? It really is so much about your people, your place, and your product. So if you're not dealing with the three Ps of footwear, you're really, really going to be struggling to get through that.

Jennifer Taylor:  Fascinating. So those are some three core areas that a food processing facility or leaders should consider. What are the other components that should be considered when creating a footwear hygiene program?

Paul Barnhill:  Yeah, a lot of things are like, is your plant a wet plant? That's a really big, big concern. You know, is it a dry plant? That's another huge concern. Because if you're a dry plant, you want it to be wet. And if you're a wet plant, you know, you may want to keep it wet so you can keep it sanitized. These are all factors. Are you dealing with heavy soils? Do you have no soils? Is there a lot of traffic between areas that are both, again, raw to cook to further processed? These are all factors that we have to look at.

Jennifer Taylor:  What about the type and ownership of footwear? How does footwear play into the program itself and the SOP?

Paul Barnhill:  Well, that that's one of the big challenges nowadays is a lot of, there's a lot of plants out there that are in the further manufactured foods that don't necessarily have what is called a captive footwear program. So they may be using what is called a street shoe, and so within these street shoes, they have to look at how do we first allow that street shoe to come into the facility? What could it be coming in contact with outdoors to then bring indoors? What are those cross contamination vectors once it's indoors? There's lots of different factors when looking at how do you create a captive footwear program, so if you're creating captive footwear program within your facility, you have to think about, one first and foremost, it's always in everybody's mind, is this a safe shoe to wear? Okay, of a safe shoe to wear, another factor to be thinking about is how is it comfortable? The people are going to be standing in it all day. And do they stand all day?

Paul Barnhill:  Then you think about, again, is it a wet floor? Is it a dry floor? These are all concerns that you deal with, but then one of the things that people don't think about, one of the two risks that I've seen when advising people on footwear programs, how cleanable is it? Does it have impacted soils? Do you deal with impacted soils? The other is what am I going to do with this product when it's not being used, if it's inside the plant? So if I have a shoe and is that shoe being stored clean, is it being stored dirty? How's it being stored? Is it allowed to dry? There are a lot of factors in how do we control a footwear program or a captive footwear program beyond just, Hey, here you go, here's a bunch of shoes. Wear these.

Jennifer Taylor:   You're absolutely right. I think we hear a lot about a cleanability of tread underneath the boot or the footwear, but in terms of comfort and storage, I think those are two areas that are often overlooked that could impact the success long term of a captive footwear program.

Paul Barnhill:  That is correct. I mean these are the number one things as well as then plant layout. Plant layout plays a huge part in exactly how successful a footwear program is. I've seen many plants I've walked into and you've got kind of, looks like a coat closet on the side and that's where the frocks and the footwear may be stored. It's very cumbersome, especially as the plant grows in size. You don't have enough room to execute quality hygiene practices.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting. So it sounds like in terms of planning the flow of your operational facility and your hygiene, SOPs within that flow, that having the correct steps before the others, critically important. So in terms of organizing that flow, what would your recommendations be within that hygiene zone in terms of footwear hygiene?

Paul Barnhill:  Well, again, boiling it back down a little bit of, okay, do I have, you know, am I working with what we call, even though it's a simple term, we use street shoe, that just means a shoe that's from outside coming indoors. So if you're dealing with that one, the first thing you have to do is do I have any impacted soils? Remove those impacted soils. Two, how do I sanitize that footwear at the same time? That way, that is taken care of prior to entering the facility within that hygiene zone.

Paul Barnhill:  Okay. If you're dealing with a captive footwear program, where's that footwear stored? Is that footwear clean already? If that footwear is not clean, that needs to be done first. Again, deal with impacted soils, secondary, primary, anytime before entering the plant needs to be sanitized. Either a dry sanitation with something that is like an alcohol quat combination product that evaporates quickly, so low moisture or a quat pellet that is more of a low moisture dry powder that sanitize the footwear that you track through the facility.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting. So you just mentioned street shoes in terms of footwear. And many streets shoes that we see today are often laced. So what are the special considerations that we should make in terms of laced footwear and footwear hygiene?

Paul Barnhill:  Really, really, really good point and this is why a lot of plants really need to think about this for numerous aspects of total overall best practices hygiene. First and foremost, you know, the risks of laces. A lace innocently comes untied. So for example, you're walking down the hall, you're doing something, your shoe comes untied, you immediately tie your shoe. If your lace was untied for a period of time, what did that lace come in contact with? Did you have a hand hygiene event after that process? That's a cross contamination vector. So people need to think about that.

Paul Barnhill:  Laced footwear is also a concern depending on how you cleaned that footwear or what is the makeup of that footwear, you know, is it the canvas side? Is it the leather side of the shoe? These are all factors when it comes to it. Now, a lot of times the maintenance staff, within a facility, will wear more of a laced boot. These are really important for these staff members to wear when they're coming in and out of the facility. That makes sense. They may be steel toed or something like that. They just need to be careful. If you're using a product like a boots scrubber or something like that, that they're using the correct product for a laced footwear.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting. So we briefly touched on this in the introduction, but let's deep dive how and where should the footwear be sanitized within a facility?

Paul Barnhill:  One of the main areas that that people need to think about is all those entrances to the plant. All the areas that kind of come in contact where you're going to go into product or areas that product touch. That is a real important that footwear be sanitized in those areas. So also within that, you may have different product zones within a product zone. And what I mean by that is that again, I may switch between products within a plant. I may want an intervention step in there or if people are dealing with a raw or cooked.

Paul Barnhill:  I've said that several times. I'm going to continue to say that. That is just something that we have to make sure that it's very, very clear. That is a huge risk factor as well as then another concern is dealing with allergens. Do you have an intervention step between these processes? Are you protecting your environment where your people, again, are transferring from place to place? Are you doing that sanitation step between those environments so that you have a non Allergan and an allergen area? These are really, really key areas to focus on.

Jennifer Taylor:   In an ideal situation, how should a facility be laid out to reinforce good hygiene events?

Paul Barnhill:  It really is, you know, it's one of the challenging aspects of food manufacturing, is you see a lot of facilities built and as that business grows, they build another box on top of that box. And then they, again, the facility grows and they add more product lines and they build another box. The problem is that when they do that, they don't always think about the flow of people, the also continuous part of that business. And so you need to make sure that you're sanitizing as you go through these processes. Layout is really, really important. In my perfect world, when we design an entryway for or what we call a hygiene zone, we guide them through the entire process. We want that to be a seamless, effortless way.

Paul Barnhill:  Come into the facility. You first put on your frock and your hairnet and so forth, guide them through a process of hygiene. You know, my preference is automated hygiene and then from there, you go through the process of maybe doing, again, additional footwear, sanitizing and then off into the plant you go. That is the perfect environment, but something that creates continuous flow. Whenever you have bottlenecks or places like that, where you have large congestion, you tend to get circumvention and we want to prevent that.

Jennifer Taylor:  So how can a food processing leader, if they have one of these facilities that is somewhat compartmentalized and built over time, how can they overcome space challenges associated with implementing a footwear hygiene program?

Paul Barnhill:  I think the big thing is you've got to step back a little bit and really look at the layout of your facility. Look at all your risk factors, look at what all your people touch points are in your product. Again, looking at your people in your place are really, really key to protect your product. And so you have to be able to focus on that as they go through. And yeah, it's going to be a little clunky for those older facilities of, I may have to have multiple intervention steps. I was in a facility many years ago that had an incredible footwear program. Actually, everywhere they went, their footwear actually changed and was cleaned at that and different for or for each zone because they had so many different protection zones within their facility.

Paul Barnhill:   Great layout, unfortunately, very slow for the facility people. So a lot of time was spent. Meritech came in, we advised on some better practice, we were able to give them a little bit better throughput and a little bit of consistency, automating some of those steps and eliminating so much time changing footwear.

Jennifer Taylor:  Fascinating. So space is a consideration. Flow is a consideration. Time is a consideration, but of course, cost must be a consideration for these facilities.

Paul Barnhill:  Cost is. And let me step back on one thing that I may have missed earlier. You know, environmental challenges, again, we talked about that, the different boxes, so forth, but also wet and dry. Huge, huge aspect to think about. But cost by far when implementing a footwear program is one of the things that most people get stuck on. They get stuck on how, okay, how many different shoes do I wear? Who owns these shoes? Where do we store these shoes? How do we clean these shoes? How do the people come back in and know that that's their shoes versus setting them inside a locker where they may not be cleaned or sanitized or the lockers not cleaned and sanitized. It's all about ownership.

Paul Barnhill:  And ownership really, and I look at ownership two ways. Leadership within an organization has to take ownership of this and make sure that they're driving a successful program that is not so complicated, that the people get it and understand it and truly understand the importance of why they're going through these measures. Really spell that out for them in a simplistic way so that you can prevent a cross contamination event.

Jennifer Taylor:  So that begs the question, what is the cost of not having a program?

Paul Barnhill:  Oh. I mean, where do you even begin? I mean, where do you even begin to say, okay, when is a food recall going to happen? Is there a death involved? No one wants a death involved. That's just catastrophic to a business. It's really hurtful. You know, that's what every leader within food manufacturing thinks of, are what are my risk factors? How can I protect the products that we manufacture and make sure that these products are safe for everyone.

Jennifer Taylor:  And it only takes one pair of hands or one pair of shoes that's contaminated.

Paul Barnhill:  It is. It is. And it's really hard to identify that and say, okay, what was this? What was that vector? And so you go through your HACCP and your SSOP procedures, you become SQRF and BRC. You go through your audits and your inspections. You have third party audits inspections. You still have to make sure that you have ownership of it. Hygiene is not considered an afterthought. Hygiene needs to be that forethought and that forethought is very, very important because if everybody is on the same field doing the same thing, focused forward on hygiene is number one, that's going to make your products number one.

Jennifer Taylor:  So having a program is just the first step. How do you ensure footwear hygiene in the long term?

Paul Barnhill:  It's really about monitoring behavior and understanding compliance, figuring out exactly, what works for the facility. So we've gotten beyond the point of we know what the footwear is going to be, we know what type of environment, we know how this is laid out, but now we have to sit there and say, okay, how do we validate? How do we know this is working? Well, that's where you got to think about this. Think outside that box. You know, you've got a whole bunch of little boxes built and now you got to think out of that box, okay, do I want to measure it? Do I want to go look and see? Do I want to do an ATP measure on that footwear to see where we're getting at?

Paul Barnhill:  Am I a wet facility? Am I tracking my sanitizer throughout my facility to be effective? That is one of those control aspects and that's something that Meritech can help with, understanding what those problems are and help you identify a way to correctly validate the process.

Jennifer Taylor:  Validation is key. And then even beyond making sure your process is correct, then communicating that process. What are some best practices for training?

Paul Barnhill:  It really is that about the training. And I mentioned that a little bit earlier, about making sure that everybody has ownership of that training process and understands what we need to do for best practices of creating the system of hygiene. So it is about the ... And unfortunately, every once in a while you have to police the behavior to make sure that people are doing it correctly. But you also can use other methodologies like facility layout, facility layout in the way you move people into and through a hygiene zone helps change that behavior. So it helps guide and assure that you're going through the steps and processes of assuring the proper hand and footwear hygiene.

Jennifer Taylor:  So what about ongoing compliance monitoring and verification? How can we police that behavior in a data-driven way?

Paul Barnhill:  For example, with the equipment that Meritech manufacturers, all the automated footwear that we do are all monitored with a compliance counter. So we're able to sit there and use very rudimentary simple data. It's one of the best ways to monitor that. When an individual is coming into a plant, a staff member, they're able to sit there and use a, let's say a boot scrubber, that boot scrubbers counting. You're able to know that number of counts. You know how many people you have per day. The average number of people coming in and out of a plant on a normal day is about four, is the average number. If you're not incrementing by a certain amount every day, you may need some continued education to encourage that use and make sure that we're doing best practices.

Jennifer Taylor:  Well, it sounds terribly convenient to have an automated system to track that for you, but what about the cases where there is not an automated system to track that? Is it a very manual effort?

Paul Barnhill:  It is manual. I mean, you go back to a little bit of the policing the behavior, you go back into putting things like large doorway foamers. They're really, really good for equipment traffic. They cover large areas, sanitizing the floor, not so much for human traffic. I've seen a lot of people over the years, they become great high jumpers as they jump over the foam that is produced by a doorway foamer because they may be standing right next to it and it blasts off when it goes off and you know, they get it in the ankle.

Paul Barnhill:  That's personally happened to me a couple of times, you know, because I wasn't paying attention to it. But the point is that you got to figure out the facility. It's all about the facility. So yeah, a boot scrubber may be right in this location, doorway foamer here, automated hand hygiene with footwear sanitizing here. It may be something that needs to be just a doorway mat. And if you're not dealing with pathogens and you're dealing with soils, you might be a tacky mat or a bootie. There are many, many options. But again, it's about people, the place and the product.

Jennifer Taylor:  Absolutely. So how do you ensure long-term success of the program?

Paul Barnhill:  I think it's ownership by leadership. I think that's really the key. If people see that leadership is behind a program and they've thought through the program, then that's going to be successful long-term. I've seen many, many programs be started and have failed because it really wasn't because of they didn't intend to move forward. It was just execution. They didn't think through the whole process. It got muddled. It got mucky at the end, and they just abandoned the product and went back to what they were doing.

Jennifer Taylor:  Oh, no. Yeah. So having that end in mind and then fully owning it from concept to completion is key.

Paul Barnhill:  It is. And sometimes you get lost in the weeds. Sometimes as a business leader and a business owner and or QC director, you get lost in the weeds. It's like, okay, how am I going to do this? You know, you're still thinking about all the products and all the other stuff you do. Now you've got this footwear sanitation project on your plate, how do I kind of control this? And I've got regulatory inspectors telling me one thing and I'm like, okay, stop. Just stop. Don't overthink it. Call an expert. Let them come in. Help them guide you through the process of best practices for footwear hygiene.

Jennifer Taylor:  So you'd mentioned a few different methods in terms of like tacky mats, booties, door foamers. Are there risk factors or pros and cons to each of these methods that we should consider?

Paul Barnhill:  Every single footwear hygiene program, again, is going to have pros and cons depending on, again, your people, your place, and your product. So if you're dealing with a non-soil, debris product and you're not dealing with moistures and so forth, you may need a tacky mat or you're doing supplements or something like that, that you don't need a wetted product. Well, you may be also needing a wetted product as you're a wet environment or you're dealing with heavy soils and debris, so you have to scrub it off. Every one of these has a different niche. Again, people, product, place. All this is really kind of determined in there of what you need.

Jennifer Taylor:  So to your recommendation about seeking expert consultation to shape a best practices footwear hygiene program, how can Meritech help food processing leaders achieve this footwear hygiene excellence?

Paul Barnhill:  I think the number one thing is getting one of the Meritech hygiene experts to come in, look at what your facility is, look at your layout. That's where you start. You look at your facility and say, okay, this is where your different risk factors are. People, where they're coming in and out of the facility. You know, where they're coming in and out of the manufacturing zones. Then you look at the people, what is it they're wearing? Do they have a captive foot war program? Are we dealing with the street shoe?

Paul Barnhill:  Then we look at things like wet environment, dry environment. You know, we look at all these and then we look at the zoning of, okay, how can we move this and what does that best practice piece of equipment that moves them in? I think that other number one concern is what does the customer want? What is it they need, and what is their goal in the end? Okay. Obviously their goal is, yeah, we want to reduce the risk factor. We want to make great products that are pathogen free, but we need to come in and look at that. And sometimes if you're in the weeds, you need that expert to come in and be able to kind of guide you through that process. And it just kind of gives that plant clarity.

Jennifer Taylor:  So what about Meritech's team and our experience makes us a great a resource of expertise to advise on this?

Paul Barnhill:  Sole focus, sole focus, because Meritech is solely focused on employee hygiene. That's what our core is. And so that's what we focus on every single day of the week, is coming in and doing that. We don't offer a huge pile of a hundred different safety product items from, eyewear and hair nets and things like this. We focus on employee hygiene as they're entering facilities. That is a key factor. So nothing else is clouding our vision and we're giving you our vision for your plants.

Jennifer Taylor:  Beautiful. What are the benefits of working with Meritech versus another solution provider?

Paul Barnhill:  Again, that core knowledge of just focusing on employee hygiene. Also giving them a broad spectrum of perspective of people coming in that flow, traffic of people, focused on that. Just employee traffic.

Jennifer Taylor:  What about our technology? What makes our technology different versus some of these traditional methods that are available?

Paul Barnhill:  All of our systems have been designed to be automated. You're wanting to, again, automate that process so that you don't have to really think about it. That is about changing behavior. So one of the things I touched on earlier was plant layout, about how do you change that behavior of how you work on people coming through a hygiene zone. Same thing with the way we've designed our equipment. It's all about the human behavior. How can we do this with limited input from the individual, being able to wash their hands or clean their footwear, even wash and clean their footwear at the same time, which is a huge time savings and being able to do this in a seamless way.

Paul Barnhill:  We have an incredibly diverse work culture in food manufacturing. I'm going to probably say this for everything I ever do and when we deal with a design, that's one of the first things we think about is what is it going to be to where it is a seamless use cycle by that person with minimal instructions. And everything we want to do as much as possible to be all visual, that way we don't have to worry about language set.

Jennifer Taylor:  Interesting, but it's fair to call out that we don't stop at the equipment. So how do we take our knowledge and expertise beyond the technology we've developed to ensure the success of our customers?

Paul Barnhill:  Again, it's that coming in. Okay, so we offer a piece of equipment, we give them advice of exactly what we think is best practices. It's also then coming back in and doing that equipment validation. We come back in and make sure that equipment is doing exactly what it is. We're giving those plants a calibration certificate, exactly, it says, this is what it's going to do. We're coming back in and saying, you know, this is the best practice to go through this area and this is the best equipment to go into this area based on what your needs are within the plant. That comes from, again, a dedicated team of knowing hygiene equipment dedicated to humans.

Jennifer Taylor:  Fantastic. And from customers that we have served in this way, What type of feedback have we received in terms of their success?

Paul Barnhill:  It's been very, very positive because customers look at this and one, they know they have a resource, they have a partner in business with them. We're not just a transactional company, We're helping provide them a solution to their worries. Once we fix that, we grow us together as partners.

Jennifer Taylor: Beautiful. Well, Paul, thank you so much for sharing your time and expertise with us today. It was a pleasure to explore the topic of footwear hygiene with you, and I look forward to further discussions on The Wash.

Paul Barnhill: Thanks for having me.

Jennifer Taylor:  Have a great one.

 

This podcast is brought to you by Meritech, the leader in automated employee hygiene. Meritech offers a complete line of fully-automated hand washing, boot scrubbing, and footwear sanitizing equipment that provides the only clinically-validated, technology-based approach to human hygiene in the world. Meritech’s line of CleanTech systems perform a fully-automated 12-second hand wash, sanitize and rinse cycle, removing over 99.9% of dangerous pathogens while using 75% less water than manual handwashing. Meritech delivers employee hygiene, contamination control, and infection prevention programs within a wide variety of markets, including food production, food service, cleanroom, healthcare, medical, theme parks, and cruise lines. For more information, visit www.meritech.com or call 303-790-4670.