By JENNIFER SHIKE November 4, 2020
UVC germicidal chambers can be a great way to reduce the microbial load on surface items going into a pig farm. From lunch boxes and cell phones to small tools and medications, ultraviolet light is one way that pig farms are reducing risk of diseases from making their way into the farm.
But with all things, it’s important that it’s done right in order for it to work, says Paul Sundberg, executive director of the Swine Health Information Center (SHIC).
“It isn’t effective if there are shadows on the object – UVC disinfection is about light getting on the surface of whatever it is you want to disinfect,” Sundberg says. “This is just one example of the information we want producers to be aware of. Also, UVC disinfection is not just the wavelength, but also the time of exposure and the way you arrange things within that box or even a UVC room.”
A new report released by SHIC encourages producers to follow these six guidelines.
1. Remove organic matter (dirt) from items by wiping the surface prior to disinfection.
2. Place items in single layer with space between them.
3. Check for shadows and adjust item placement/spacing if necessary.
4. Do not use secondary containers such as Tupperware or plastic baggies to contain items in the chamber. UVC light cannot penetrate these even if they are transparent.
5. Rotate items in the chamber after the first cycle if needed to ensure that all sides are exposed to UVC light or use a grid shelf.
6. Cycle UV lamps prior to first use for disinfection on cold days to bring bulb energy up.
This working group of experts was led by Derald Holtkamp, DVM, Iowa State University.