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Biological Decontamination Methods
Mess Management Specialist 1 & C - Military manual for maintaining a mess hall
Biological Decontamination in Food Preparation
This solution may be mixed from nonionic detergent and any one of several chlorine containing compounds such as calcium hypochlorite, or laundry bleach. In storage, compounds containing chlorine have been  known  to  deteriorate. It  will  be  necessary, therefore, to have a qualified person from the ship’s company  analyze  the  soaking  solution  for  chlorine content  to  make  sure  the  proper  concentration  of available chlorine is attained and continued at sufficient strength. After the sterilization, soak and water rinse, cover the washracks containing the utensils with a cloth that has been sterilized by boiling. Do not transfer utensils to another rack. Make sure personnel in the serving line pick  up  utensils  from  the  washracks  by  touching  only the  handles. Large equipment may be decontaminated by the use of  hypochlorite.  Hypochlorite  is  corrosive  to  all  metals that will rust and should not be allowed to come in contact with motors and other electrical equipment from which  hypochlorite  could  not  be  thoroughly  wiped  off. After  decontamination,  cover  as  much  of  the  equipment as possible with clean cloths to prevent recontamination. Avoidance  of  Recontamination Recontamination  may  be  caused  by  secondary aerosols  that  resettle  organisms  on  surfaces  or contaminate the air that is breathed. Secondary aerosols are  clouds  formed  from  particles  (bacteria  or  other organisms) that, having been deposited on a surface, are stirred up into the air again by scuffing, shaking, or other mechanical  action. Secondary  aerosols  may  be suppressed by wetting surfaces with oil or water. If oil is used as a suppressant, it must not generate harmful vapors and it must not be applied to walking surfaces which may create slippery conditions. It is important to make sure, before entering the messing area, MS personnel and all personnel eating in the   messing   areas   are   as   free   as   possible   from contamination. The medical officer should be consulted on the decontamination of foodservice personnel. In cold weather, personnel in the serving line should be required to remove outer garments and leave them outside  the  messing  area  before  entering  the  mess.  It has been found that removing clothing will shake off organisms that have come in contact with the surfaces, thereby setting up secondary aerosols. Do not permit unauthorized  personnel  in  foodservice  spaces. Hypochlorite is a strong oxidizer and, in powdered form,  reacts  violently  with  oils  and  greases.  Use hypochlorite in a well-ventilated area. Always wear goggles and protective gloves, and consult the MSDS for  additional  precautions. Decontaminating  Food  Items The advice of the medical officer must be sought before  any  attempt  is  made  to  decontaminate  food suspected  of  biological  contamination. Semiperishable  Food  Items Food packed in containers that are resistant to the passage of biological agents (sealed containers made of metal, plastic, glass, or porcelain) requires only proper exterior decontamination be performed. Paper labels and paper covers must be removed from the container and  one  of  the  following  methods  of  decontamination should  be  used: 1.  Immerse  the  containers  for  15  minutes  in  a solution  of  water  to  which  200-ppm  available  chlorine has been added and then rinse them with potable water. 2.  Soak  the  containers  for  a  minimum  of  15 minutes  in  effective  detergent  solution  as  a  quick method to reduce contamination to a safe level (see formula 1 discussed under the heading Radiological Decontamination);  then  rinse  them  with  potable  water. 3. The exterior surfaces of stacks of food packed in impermeable packages can be sterilized using any of the standard chemical methods such as bleach solution, sodium carbonate, or DS2 followed by rinsing in potable water. Food packages that will not stand immersion must be wiped off with a solution of water to which 200-ppm available  chlorine  has  been  added  and  the  food thoroughly cooked before it is eaten. Fresh or Chill Items Food  that  can  be  peeled  or  pared  may  be decontaminated by soaking for 15 minutes in water to which  200-ppm  available  chlorine  has  been  added before it is peeled. The food must then be thoroughly rinsed in potable water. It can then be peeled or pared and should be rinsed again with potable water. This method  has  been  applied  satisfactorily  to  apples, potatoes,  and  eggs. For other fresh or chill items, the use of heat is the most   practical   means   of   decontaminating   foods. 1-21

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