Scientific testing by an independent laboratory has proven that specialized laundering processes offered by UniFirst Corporation to clean and maintain both healthcare and food industry garments can reduce bacterial contamination levels on workwear by greater than 99.9 percent. Tests indicate that the UniSafe Service for food-related businesses, and the UniFirst Garment Service for Healthcare, can return employee work garments to customers hygienically clean and virtually pathogen-free.
UniFirst’s hygienic laundering processes were tested by scientists at the North American Science Association (NAMSA) of Northwood, Ohio, a microbiology consulting service and Good Manufacturing Practice independent testing laboratory with expertise in contamination controls for the medical device industry. NAMSA measured reductions of some of the most common classes of pathogens found on healthcare and food industry work apparel, including bacteria, yeasts, and molds—all recognized as dangerous sources of cross-contamination. NAMSA’s analysis demonstrates that UniFirst’s specialized garment processing can kill virtually all organisms tested.
The UniSafe Service for food-related businesses and the UniFirst Garment Service for Healthcare, offered through the company’s managed uniform rental programs, are specialized hygienic laundering and handling services specifically designed to help minimize contamination threats on garments worn by employees. Given the publicity surrounding several large-scale food contamination events, as well as the rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms such as MRSA, companies are increasingly concerned with controlling sources of potential cross-contamination. If work garments are not hygienically laundered with services designed specifically to minimize risks, pathogens can remain active and may continue to be a source of contamination.
“We’re obviously pleased that our UniSafe Service and the UniFirst Garment Service for Healthcare passed these microbial tests with flying colors,” says Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications for UniFirst. “The studies validate that our specialized services can effectively reduce microbiological contamination levels on related work garments, killing more than 99.9999 percent of pathogens. This is great news for our many food and healthcare industry customers.”
The UniSafe Service program is based on principles set forth in Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) application guidelines, and identifies and mitigates risks involved with food contamination. UniFirst Garment Service for Healthcare is designed to combat organisms most commonly associated with healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). The risk of HAIs increases each year, with nearly 2 million Americans developing some form of an HAI. “As portal-to-portal procedures that begin at customer facilities and extend through all garment handling, laundering and finishing processes, UniFirst’s specialized programs offer options that leave our customers with peace of mind when it comes to safety,” Soreff says.
The test results are documented and available to the public in the recently published white papers “UniFirst UniSafe® Service and Product Protection Process: Workwear Solutions for Food Product Safety” and “UniFirst Garment Service for Healthcare and Product Protection Process: Workwear Solutions for Healthcare Industry Safety.”