Israeli antimicrobial coating removes 100% listeria in a factory pilot

An Israeli antimicrobial coating has successfully removed all traces of a deadly foodborne illness in a recent test conducted in a hot dog peeling room at a major sausage manufacturing plant in Israel.

The Bio-Fence company developed the coating, which was applied to the floor and bottom of the walls of the room that, despite repeated and strict disinfection routines, had experienced high levels of listeria, particularly on the production floor.

Listeria is one of the deadliest foodborne illnesses. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, even if aggressively treated with antibiotics, up to 30% of infected people die and more than 90% of people are hospitalized, often in intensive care units. .

In the three weeks prior to the pilot proof-of-concept (POC) in which the Bio-Fence coating was applied, listeria was detected in 21 of 23 (91%) daily floor samples. After application, bacteria were completely undetectable on the floor surface during daily production.

“The pilot results show a drastic reduction of up to 99.9999% in the level of gram-negative bacteria, as evidenced by Enterobacteria readings, and a considerable improvement in hygiene levels, as evidenced by Total Count readings.” , explains a statement from the pilot. observing that before and after the application of Bio-Fence, exactly the same cleaning and hygiene routines were practiced, with a chlorine-based product.

At the helm is Bio-Fence CEO Ofer Shaham. (credit: Bio-fence)

Bio-Fence was founded in 2018 at the Kitchen Hub food technology incubator and is led by CEO Ofer Shoham, who had worked in the food industry for nearly 30 years.

The company’s goal is to develop antimicrobial paints and coatings to destroy microorganisms on contact and create a contamination-free environment. Its polymer is added to a top coat that is then applied to surfaces, stabilizing the disinfectant on the surface for an extended period of time, helping to maintain hygiene.

Environmental pathogens within the food production process are one of the biggest challenges in the industry. Bacteria, like listeria, are linked to food contamination.

Listeria is one of the most difficult bacteria to kill. It tolerates extreme conditions, including low temperatures and dry conditions, and even thrives against salt and chemicals with high levels of acidity.

The hot dog peeling room was specifically selected for the pilot due to its complex conditions, including high humidity and high movement of workers and equipment.

Due to the success of the pilot, the sausage plant continues to use the company’s coatings and is looking to expand its use in other parts of the plant.

“The POC demonstrated that our technology can operate in the most challenging conditions and in real time,” Shoham said.

Bio-Fence is working closely with the Israeli paint and chemical industries to use its polymer as an additive for their products, he said. The company is also looking at the global market because “we know that our technology will be applicable around the world.”

It is also likely to be applicable in additional industries, according to Lior Dudaie, vice president of business development and marketing for Bio-Fence.

He said that pathogens surround us and can be a real danger to humanity, as the coronavirus pandemic has shown.

Shoham said he could imagine the coating would be used in the hospital and hotel industries, for example.

“We believe that our technology will eventually become standard for floors and walls in the food and other industries that have high sensitivity in terms of bacteria,” said Dudaie, and Shoham said that “this is the real vision to implement this technology.”

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