We use the following terms when talking about hygiene

Sanitising: this is a “combination of processes and operations” required to clean and/or disinfect an item or area. It includes maintaining good air quality, such as by ensuring good ventilation in all areas.

Disinfecting: the treatment of surfaces and materials using authorised disinfectants (biocides or medical devices) to kill the bioburden.

Environmental hygiene: this is the equivalent of cleaning objects (washing). The aim here is to ensure proper hygiene by cleaning an environment and removing all harmful substances.

Washing: the removal and elimination of dirt, micro-organisms and other impurities, thereby reducing the bioburden (microbial load). This is the first obligatory step, before disinfecting and sterilising, as dirt is full of freely multiplying micro-organisms that can seriously affect the efficacy of disinfectants.

Cleaning: it often involves the use of detergents and other products to improve environmental hygiene by removing dirt through mechanical or physical action. Sterilising: a physical or chemical process that destroys all forms of viable microorganisms (bacteria and spores).

We often judge the outcome of sanitising on a visual level (absence of dirt). Indeed, there are no scientific standards as to how to measure the actual efficacy of sanitising compared to the real ability of environmental conditions to cause, whether directly or indirectly, pathologies for the users of the sanitised products.  This means that instruments are needed to control the production process and to measure the final result so that it can then be proved whether or not the process satisfies the relevant standards.  Key performance indicators are therefore needed to assess a production process, plus microbiological indicators to verify the effectiveness of the sanitising process. i.e. the overall hygiene of the surfaces being tested.

Then there is the concept of sanitisation as the second stage in the sanitising process: the sterilising of food industry equipments and products by using bactericidal substances.

The disinfecting of dishes is an important matter, especially today, when the whole world is having to deal with Covid-19 pandemic.

What is Covid-19

Covid-19 is a coronavirus, i.e. an enveloped virus. These viruses cause respiratory and intestinal infections in humans. Covid-19 does not withstand the use of sanitising and disinfecting products and processes better than other enveloped viruses. It would appear that these viruses are particularly sensitive to high temperatures (at least 60-70 °C).

Sanitising, the basic concept

Temperature, contact time, chemistry and mechanical power: these are the four variables that form the Sinner’s Circle.

  • Contact time: the length of the wash cycle.
  • Temperature: the higher the temperature, the quicker the reaction during wash and rinse cycles. During a wash cycle the temperature of the water in the tank will be anything between 40 °C and 65 °C, whereas the temperature of the rinse water will be between 65 °C and 90 °C.
  • Chemistry: the use of a specific chemical (detergent and/or sanitising) substance. The specific properties of detergents and/or sanitisers result in different chemical reactions to dissolve dirt, some forms of which may be harder to remove than others. This is why these products must be chosen carefully, taking into consideration the hardness of the water and the type of dirt.
  • Mechanical power: a combination of water pressure and the use of mechanical components and accessories in a machine.

All these elements of the Sinner’s Circle interact with each other. All four factors come into play every time you start a wash cycle.

Hygiene and safety standards

There are several different health and safety standards with a bearing on the sanitisation of dishes.

  • DIN – German standards
  • NFS/ANSI – American standards (USA)
  • EN – European standards These standards all worked well prior to the arrival and spread of Covid-19. However, today they are no longer enough.

The Electronic VE range with a sanitisation cycle

Dishwashers in our Electronic VE range are fitted with atmospheric boilers (BA) and so their design has always included a dish sanitisation function.

Simply select this option in the command menu to activate high temperature washing with a setpoint of 75 °C in the tank and 90 °C in the boiler. High wash and rinse temperatures – together with the washing action, the customised timing of each wash cycle and the use of correct chemical products – help weaken any viruses, germs and bacteria on the dishes.

However, there is no concrete proof that a “standard” sanitisation programme effectively destroys Covid-19. That is why Elframo has now developed an innovative line of dishwashers called Hygiene Plus.

The Hygiene Plus range with a boosted sanitisation cycle – effective against Covid-19

  1. Hygiene Plus dishwashers by Elframo guarantee higher wash and rinse temperatures than those deemed acceptable by the German standard DIN 10534. Also the contact time in Hygiene Plus dishwashers is higher than that deemed acceptable by the German standard DIN 10534.  This means, of course, that Hygiene Plus machines meet the German requirements when it comes to contact time and temperature.
  2. According the NFS/ANSI standards in the USA, the minimum threshold for HUE values (Heat Unit Equivalent) is 3,600. The HUE results for Hygiene Plus dishwashers are well in excess of the minimum threshold.
  3. The thermal disinfection process of these dishwashers with a boosted sanitisation cycle is fully in line with EN 15883 “Washer-Disinfectors” providing general performance requirements for such devices used to clean and disinfect items used in the context of medical, dental, pharmaceutical and veterinary practice, as well as for the cleaning and disinfecting of dishes and cutlery intended to be used by those at risk, such as those with a weakened immune system.
  4. Hygiene Plus dishwashers guarantee temperatures of 70 °C for 5 minutes, as required according to a recent American study published on “The Lancet” on 02.04.2020, whose results have been accepted by the WHO and national health authorities (Alex W. H. Chin et al. “Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions”, April 2nd 2020, The Lancet).

Hygiene Plus dishwashers are certified as being effective against Covid-19

Based on the results of external lab tests, the dishwashers belonging to the Hygiene Plus range produced by Elframo are now certified as guaranteeing maximum efficacy against viruses, germs and bacteria (including SARS-CoV-2, which is inactivated).