A leading light in the world of warewashing has dismissed suggestions that the only way to guarantee hygiene in dishwashers is to wash at high temperatures.
While the industry is currently self-regulating in terms of measuring a sustainable method of disinfection, many feel it is only be a matter of time before legislation is introduced. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) continues to focus on increasing standards of hygiene among caterers, while the development of new DIN standards for this area have also drawn attention to the topic.
However, Derek Maher, managing director of warewashing installation and repair firm Crystaltech Services, says there is currently a “misconception” within the industry that to achieve the desired levels of hygiene, it is necessary to wash and rinse at temperatures of between 66°C and 74°C.
Furthermore, he claims there is now a low temperature solution available that will achieve a “greater” standard of hygiene and cleanliness than thermal disinfection methods.
Maher claims his biggest challenge has been finding a method to demonstrate the reliability of this new low temperature technique without having to send swab samples away for costly and lengthy bacteria analysis, but says this has now been achieved by using 3M’s Rapid Hygiene Monitoring System, which employs ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) Bioluminescence.
“Whilst specific detection requires samples to be laboratory tested, the ATP Clean-Trace device gives a general indication within 30 seconds,” he explains. “This device, which is in common use by EHOs, means we are now the first company in a position to fully support our customers in reducing operating costs and proving disinfection. We have carried out a number of successful trials with high-profile customers and we are preparing the case studies for release shortly.”
Maher says he has been working with chemicals supplied by sister company Maidaid to carry out rigorous tests in laboratories and on site for the past 15 years to prove that by using alternative chemicals, commercial kitchens and bars can get the level of cleanliness they need, at lower temperatures.
“It’s a no brainer, as this low temperature process also prolongs the life of glassware and crockery. After all, we rely on disinfectant to keep our hands clean, rather than plunging them into boiling water — it’s exactly the same principle with warewashing. I know the industry feels it has a solution with the implementation of heat recovery units, but why try to reclaim energy, with a more costly machine, when it can be saved in the first place?”
Maher insists his solution remains all the more pertinent for the fact that as it stands there is currently no requirement for manufacturers to achieve higher temperatures if they can establish that they can achieve hygiene standards by another means.
He said Crystaltech could “guarantee” customers the standards they require with its low temperature chemicals, while satisfying the aims of both the FSA and DEFRA by facilitating hygienic washing at a lower energy cost than is typically associated with high temperature washing.