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New Leaf Food Safety Solutions LLC in Salinas, CA, has developed SmartWash, a food wash solution that optimizes the performance of standard wash systems to deliver complete protection against bacterial cross-contamination, a common precursor to outbreaks of foodborne illness.

Using a scientifically devised formula that precisely controls and maintains the integrity of standard wash system components, SmartWash is a food- grade solution that ensures consistent and optimal levels of contamination- fighting agents. The result is a significant reduction in food contaminants and total prevention of cross-contamination.

Designed as a simple addition to standard wash system equipment, SmartWash is easy to implement, requires minimal investment and integrates into existing systems with minimal impact, the company said.

The product has been subjected to rigorous development over a three-year period in cooperation with Taylor Farms. Among the world's larger producers of leafy greens, Taylor Farms recently completed implementation of SmartWash in all of its leafy greens wash systems. "Compared to standard industry wash systems, SmartWash has demonstrated a significant increase in antimicrobial effectiveness, resulting in zero cross contamination," Bruce Taylor, chief executive officer of Taylor Farms, said in a July 19 press release.

“In order for a foodborne illness outbreak to occur, three conditions must be met: a source, spread and survival of a contaminant,” Jim Brennan, president of New Leaf, said in the release. “By eliminating one of these vital steps — the spread phase — SmartWash provides the processor added insurance that an outbreak will not occur.”

Based on the results of preliminary research focused on the wash processing of leafy greens, U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers have demonstrated that in the presence of a high organic load and soils, the addition of SmartWash to a chlorinated wash solution significantly reduces the potential for pathogen survival and mitigates the risk of cross-contamination.