Compiled by Steve Smith

News snippets from the world of contamination control.

Packaging purchase plans predicted

ARLINGTON, Va. – Led by pharmaceutical and beverage industries, packaging machinery sales in the U.S. this year are expected to result in a $5.91 billion business-up seven percent from over a year ago. Key market drivers include a need to replace older machines, a need to expand packaging capacity, expected addition of new products, and increased use of automated packaging machines to reduce labor costs. According to the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI;, a statistically small market driver, yet still a major influence on new packaging machinery demand, is product security and safety.

Boosting Bay State biotech

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Massachusetts Biotechnology Council (MBC; has established an industry development program in hopes of luring biotech companies to the state. Under the initiative, the MBC will offer a central point-of-contact service for all biotech industry inquiries, and will provide guidance on location, permits, technical and funding requirements, and resources. In addition, the MBC will communicate biotech development opportunities to state and local agencies, and work with state and local agencies to market the state as a biotech center.

Potential pet food problem prevented

LUBBOCK, Texas – A federal government testing program proved to be a “firewall” in protecting a segment of the U.S. pet food supply from mad cow disease. In what is being cited as the nation’s first case of a domestically-raised cattle infected with the prion that leads to the brain-wasting disease, employees at Champion Pet Foods Inc. in Lubbock took samples of the cow, which arrived dead at its pet food plant. The company, which is under contract by the government to take samples from animals with questionable health, sent its samples to the Texas Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Texas A&M University. The lab is one of several used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to screen cattle for mad cow disease. Although initial tests were inconclusive, the USDA had the carcass incinerated and the herd at the Texas ranch on which it was raised was quarantined.

Fluid-forbidding fabric

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – A new disposable fabric technology developed by Microtek Medical Holdings ( promises new levels of fluid control protection during surgical procedures, and is designed to greatly reduce the risk of infection. The new Mojave material includes a super-absorbent core fabricated via a patented process that involves the uniform distribution of specially developed super-absorbent polymers, or SAPs. The company claims that its proprietary trilaminate material helps reduce the risk of cross-contamination and hospital-acquired infections associated with a variety of body fluids. The barrier created within the Mojave fabric is designed to be completely impervious to blood, body fluids, viruses, and bacteria, providing greater protection for patients and healthcare workers.

Custom Chinese cleanroom

OAK BROOK, Ill. – A Class 100,000 [ISO Class 8] cleanroom is among the special features of a custom manufacturing facility that will be built by United Plastics Group ( in Suzhou, China. The $10 million, 100,000-square-foot plant will also house a wide range of injection molding machines, and dedicated space for assembly and mold maintenance. It will be the third plant United Plastics has built in the Suzhou Industrial Park.

Critiquing common cleanroom criteria

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – A new document published by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) seeks to provide an internationally common basis of measurement and evaluation of cleanroom attributes, without impeding introduction of new technologies. ISO/FDIS 14644-3, Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments-Part 3: Test methods, specifies performance tests for cleanrooms with unidirectional flow and those with nonunidirectional flow in as-built, at-rest, and operational occupancy states. The document also identifies and recommends types of test equipment to be used when performing the thirteen different tests. The document, which is available from the Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST; serves as ISO secretariat-is undergoing balloting by voting nations. If approved, it will be issued as a formal ISO standard later this year.

No, no, Nitrate

RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif. – Water supply contaminated by nitrates, caused by the use of fertilizers for agriculture and by septic systems, is the target of a recently patented ion exchange technology developed by Basin Water Inc. ( The computer-controlled Ion Exchange System treatment is designed to provide waste rates in the range of 0.1 to 0.5 percent, compared to standard ion exchange treatments having waste rates ranging from 1 to 7 percent of treated flow. Basin Water’s automated control system is designed for remote operation with minimal operator involvement. The water treatment system can be delivered to a specific site or installed in a building.

Scratch-stopping spin service

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – A nanotechnology-based hardcoating resin has been developed by California Hardcoating Company ( that promises to apply a scratch-resistant coating to medical devices and windows. The spin-coating process applies a clear, “super-hard” protective layer of 4 to 10 microns thick that’s designed to result in clean and smooth coatings, compared to dip or flow-coating processes that cause thickness gradients and drip-off marks. Scratching of window lenses has been problematic for manufacturers of cell phones, medical equipment, and other electronic devices that require high durability. Before the hardcoating technique, electronics display window manufacturers had to resort to polishing scratches out of uncoated lenses-a time-consuming process that California Hardcoating says can cost as much as $20,000 per month for a single product line. The company says its technology allows for rapid changeover between jobs, making it a cost-effective solution for small as well as large manufacturers.

Filtering out filter flow

ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. – The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST; has issued a newly expanded recommended practice for HEPA and ULPA filter test performance. RP-CC034.2 covers definitions, equipment and procedures for leak-testing filters in the factory as they are produced, at the job site before they are installed, and after they are installed in cleanrooms and in unidirectional-flow clean-air devices. The recommended practice also includes procedures for measuring the uniformity of the aerosol challenge approaching the filter under test, and provides guidance for selecting an appropriate leak-test method-including two methods for scanning the filter’s downstream surface and one for determining if leaks are present in inaccessible filters.

Scalding Salmonella solution

SHREVEPORT, La. – FreshFX, developed by SteriFx Inc. (, has been recently approved by the USDA to treat Salmonella and other pathogens during the scalding step of meat processing. The patented formula, which is supplied as a stable solution concentrate that is diluted on-site, requires no mixing equipment or chemical reactions. The solution also maintains its antimicrobial activity when in the presence of accumulated organic matter typically found in scalder water. Scalding is one of several steps that require careful monitoring for Salmonella, E. coli, and other pathogens when processing poultry carcasses. Since the high temperature of water used in the scalder isn’t sufficient to eliminate pathogens, the SteriFx technology is designed to eliminate cross-contamination from one carcass to another, since bacteria can be embedded within feather follicles during picking.


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