New, non-chlorine dishwashing sanitizers are more effective at removing bacteria from restaurant dishes than traditional ones, according to Ohio State University (OSU) researchers.
The two new sanitizers reflect the industry’s recent efforts to develop more effective germ killers that are also environmentally friendly, says Melvin Pascall, co-author of the study and associate professor of food science and technology at OSU.
Traditional commercial sanitizers contain chemicals found in bleach, which corrodes dishware, damages the environment, and can irritate or burn skin. These sanitizers also lose effectiveness with each cycle – the killing agents within the sanitizers kill fewer bacteria with each rinse.
Pascall and his colleagues compared the effectiveness of four different sanitizers by contaminating samples of milk and cream cheese with E. coli and Listeria innocua bacteria before covering dishes and allowing the food to air dry before being washed. The results indicated that the dishes washed by machine have consistently smaller amounts of the bacteria on them, regardless of the sanitizers used.
"Longer-lasting sanitizers could be more cost effective for restaurants because they would not have to use nearly as much sanitizing solution as they currently do," says Pascall.