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Efficacy of Amphoteric Surfactant– and Peracetic Acid–Based Disinfectants on Spores of Bacillus cereus In Vitro and on Food Premises of the German Armed Forces

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In mass catering facilities of the German Armed Forces, foodborne outbreaks are commonly attributed to Bacillus cereus, and spores of this organism are regularly found on equipment surfaces. B. cereus is the causative agent of foodborne emetic or diarrheic disease. Hence, the use of sporicidal disinfectants may provide a starting point for successful risk mitigation of diseases associated with B. cereus. In this study, the amphoteric surfactant–based disinfectant (product A) that has been routinely used in catering facilities of the German Armed Forces and a peracetic acid–based disinfectant (product B) were compared for their efficacy against B. cereus spores in laboratory tests and under field conditions. In a carrier test for B. cereus spores, product A displayed no efficacy against spores of the test strain. In contrast, a substantial reduction in spore concentration (>5-log reduction) was achieved with product B. In a controlled trial conducted in seven Army catering facilities, the reduction in the number of B. cereus –positive samples was significantly greater (P < 0.001) for product B (from 28% initial contamination to 3% after application) than for product A (from 33 to 21%). Product B was estimated to be 6.25 times more efficacious than product A. Field trials confirmed the higher efficacy of the peracetic acid–based disinfectant to reduce B. cereus contamination on surfaces as found for the in vitro experiments. The tests used to assess the sporicidal effects of disinfectants were adequate under practice conditions and could be used for sporicidal testing of disinfectants for catering and food production establishments.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Bundeswehr School of Dog Handling, Koblenz, Germany 2: Bundeswehr Medical Academy, München, Germany 3: Kantonales Veterinäramt Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland 4: Institut für Biometrie und Informationsverarbeitung, Freie Universität Berlin, Berlin, Germany 5: Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos, Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Valencia, Spain 6: Agricultural University of Athens, Athens, Greece 7: Robert Koch Institute, Berlin, Germany 8: Institute for Food Quality and Food Safety, Veterinary School of Hannover, Hannover, Germany

Publication date: July 1, 2006

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