Clean Works received $2 million from the provincial government to increase equipment production capacity
By Diego Flammini
An Ontario apple producer is behind a piece of equipment that’s been converted to help sanitize personal protective equipment (PPE).
Paul Moyer, whose family operation, Moyer’s Apple Products, grows apples in Vineland, Ont. and the team at Clean Works in Beamsville, Ont. received a $2-million investment from the provincial government. With this support from the Ontario Together Fund, Clean Works will scale up production of the Clean Flow Healthcare Mini.
“We’re going to be taking the investment and building a facility where we can increase manufacturing capacity for the equipment,” Moyer, the founder of Clean Works, told Farms.com.
The portable device uses a mixture of UV light, hydrogen peroxide and ozone to decontaminate items.
Schools, hospitals and other businesses or institutions can purchase the machine and have it on hand to sanitize things like PPE, books or cell phones, Moyer said.
The machine is the next generation of a piece of equipment Moyer’s farm used to sanitize fruit used for caramel apples.
In 2015, a Listeria outbreak in California affected the entire industry.
“The outbreak impacted our sales even though we weren’t implicated,” Moyer said. “It was very disappointing so, to recover our sales, we needed to come up with something effective against these pathogens.”
One of the systems Clean Works developed is the Flow system. It uses a specific combination of UV light, hydrogen peroxide vapour and ozone to decontaminate produce.
“We combine all those things at just the right way and it’s a much more powerful way to make hydroxyl radicals (a powerful oxidizing agent),” he said. “Once we realized that, we started to test for Listeria, salmonella and other food pathogens and found it was very effective.”
The company conducted tests on apples, cantaloupes, blueberries and other fruits with similar success.
They then sent an individual machine to Health Canada for testing. Health Canada determined the combination could kill viruses like hepatitis and norovirus.
The whole journey has been a bit of a whirlwind, Moyer said.
“On April 17, Health Canada said we are one of four accepted methods in Canada to sanitize masks,” he said. “When you look back you wonder how a fruit farmer from Niagara comes to sanitize PPE.”