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The most pertinent news currently is the Listeriosis outbreak which, despite the fact that contaminated foods were recalled, has created consumer panic and mistrust in general. It is widely known that the contamination resulted from inadequate food safety management which, due to insufficient cleaning and maintenance lead into the proliferation of the bacterium resulting in the high levels during packaging of the processed products. Further, it was indicated that cross contamination from one area to the next could not be prevented due to inadequate separation of these areas in the plant.

Food and beverage companies are usually equipped with Clean Room facilities for key aspects in their process. These facilities are specially designed to have a controlled level of particulates per cubic meter. The classification range is ISO 1 to ISO 9 with ISO 1 described as the cleanest classification i.e. it has the least number of particulates per cubic meter.

Microbiological Air Samplers are specialised monitoring equipment utilised to detect and monitor particulates to ensure maintenance at the correct levels. In order to maintain the relevant levels of sterility, the environment should be “cleaned” in accordance with a defined schedule and utilising sterilised Clean Room Wipes (specialised swabs / cloths made out of a nonwoven cellulose polyester material that afford superior strength and enhanced absorbency).

It is important to consider the largest contaminant in any environment – People. In order to maintain the sterility levels of a controlled facility, suitable garments must be utilised in order to maintain the particulate levels at a minimum. The design of the Clean Room must be such that it allows for personnel to gown and de-gown appropriately as well as ensuring that contaminants are not carried into the Clean Room. Tacky Mats (multi-layered clean-film adhesive layers) effectively capture dirt and dust from foot traffic and wheels before entering a controlled environment.

DG Lab Services’ Clean Room Products division is a level 1 B-BBEE manufacturer of Clean Room Garments and supplier of Microbiological Air Samplers, Clean Room Wipes and Tacky Mats.

Clean Room facilities do not only include the food and beverage industry but extends into the pharmaceutical, electronic, aerospace and optical fields.