Produce & Fresh Cut

Birko Products Fight Pathogens in Produce

HENDERSON, Colo. – This year’s cantaloupe season promises to be especially important for producers, given the FDA’s plans to inspect cantaloupe packing operations in an effort to prevent tragic Listeria outbreaks.

Because the FDA pinpointed standing water and dirty equipment in the 2011 Listeria outbreak in cantaloupe at Colorado’s Jensen Farms, cantaloupe producers will need aggressive food safety protocols to fight pathogens.

Birko, a leader in providing food safety solutions for the produce industry, carries a complete line of antimicrobial interventions, sanitizers and biofilm remediation aids.

“The FDA’s final report emphasized the importance of removing pathogens on often-overlooked surfaces including floors and drains,” said Dana Johnson, Birko’s produce specialist. “Our aggressive products fight Listeria and are also helpful in removing biofilms.”

Biofilms are formed when bacteria attach themselves to surfaces in a moist, temperature-permissive environment and begin forming colonies. As these colonies grow they produce a protective, adhering matrix called biofilm that protects them from their surrounding environment.

Birko has several products effective in fighting Listeria in produce operations including:

  • Ultra Quat™, a 10% active four-way quaternary ammonium compound, applied on processing equipment at higher-than-normal levels
  • Birk-Ox™, an EPA-registered 5.6% active peracetic acid liquid post-rinse sanitizer for previously cleaned surfaces
  • Birkoside MP-2, a 15% active PAA antimicrobial processing aid for direct application to produce
  • Veggiexide™, a food-grade, antimicrobial intervention
  • Pow-Quat™ floor cleaner, which aids in maintaining clean floors and drains
  • Algae Guard™ Quat Blocks, which help control microbial growth in cooling unit condensate drain pans

Because Listeria can grow in floor drains and move up out of drains to the floors, Birko also carries Sterilex® CW502 powder for use on floors and floor drains as a preventative maintenance approach. Sterilex® is the only EPA-registered biofilm remover currently on the market. Other useful Sterilex® products include Ultra-Kleen™ CW502 HF and Ultra Disinfectant Cleaner Solution 1 in combination with Ultra Kleen™ Activator Solution II, which are excellent for the remediation of persistent bacterial problems.

Birko’s technical representatives are all HACCP trained and understand the challenges of developing and maintaining a robust HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) plan. Birko provides complete in-plant cleaning, chemical and sanitation audits, as well as assistance with chemical product usage, custom equipment procurement and employee training.

About Birko

Birko is a leading provider of food safety solutions to the meat, produce and beverage industries. Birko manufactures concentrated chemical formulations used in plant cleaning and sanitation, as well as antimicrobial interventions used to reduce pathogens from the manufacturing process of food. Birko’s equipment division, Chad Equipment, LLC, designs and manufactures chemical dispensing systems and state-of-the-art washing systems as well as equipment used for food safety protection in meat processing. Chad also provides ongoing service and support for its harvesting and processing equipment. Birko’s information technology includes BirkoStats™, an online chemical usage tracking system, and the BOSS™ Blend-On-Site System, which blends high performance cleaning products on-site from custom super concentrates. Founded in 1953, Birko is a WBENC Certified Women’s Business Enterprise and was awarded Supplier of the Century by the National Meat Association.