Surfaces can harbour infectious pathogens responsible for food poisoning. Antimicrobial Copper kills 99.9% of E.coli O157:H7 within 2 hours of exposure and can help to create a hygienic environment.
In the right conditions, one bacterium could become several million in eight hours and thousands of million in twelve hours. Antimicrobial Copper has potent efficacy against the organisms which cause food poisoning.
Campylobacter causes the greatest number of cases of foodborne illness in temperate countries each year. There were about 55,000 reported cases of campylobacteriosis in the UK in 2008 but the UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) are aware that many more cases go unreported - the realistic number of cases is more likely to be closer to 375,000 each year. (FSA website accessed July 2010.)
Other headlining pathogens, such as the verocytotoxin-producing E. coli O157 and Listeria monocytogenes, cause fewer infections but the degree of hospitalisation is relatively higher and the chance of death in the case of Listeriosis is typically 30%. Common to all food hygiene is the need to reduce cross-contamination and copper can be deployed in suitable areas to assist with reducing microbial bioburden. Dry food preparation counters, door handles and sink hardware can easily be upgraded to use Antimicrobial Copper.
Copper and copper alloys are engineering materials that are durable, colourful and recyclable and are widely available in various product forms suitable for a range of manufacturing purposes. Copper and its alloys offer a suite of materials for designers of functional, sustainable and cost-effective products.
Copper and certain copper alloys have intrinsic antimicrobial properties (so-called ‘Antimicrobial Copper’) and products made from these materials have an additional, secondary benefit of contributing to hygienic design. Products made from Antimicrobial Copper are a supplement to, not a substitute for standard infection control practices. It is essential that current hygiene practices are continued, including those related to the cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces.