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Why Use Chlorine Dioxide?

Food safety is a growing concern in food production facilities. For example, product recalls are increasing every year and can cost millions of dollars in revenue. While many chemical options can clean and sanitize, they often do not reach the entire surface. Chemicals may not reach corners, cracks, and scratches completely with liquid products.

What is Chlorine Dioxide?

Chlorine Dioxide (CD) is a sterilant gas registered by the EPA that effectively eliminates all forms of microbial life. This includes fungi, viruses, and all forms of bacteria including spores. It has been in liquid form since the 1950’s as a water treatment for drinking water. Since the 1980’s for numerous other decontamination applications. Chlorine Dioxide gas is a yellow-green color and has a distinctive chlorine odor.

As a gas, it cannot be stored long term, so several processes for on-site gas generation required development. The process utilized by IFC has better control capabilities than others have. For instance, IFC can shut down at any time if necessary and do not produce troublesome liquid wastes. The process produces pure dry gas without acid contaminants that can be corrosive. CDs have effectively treated a wide variety of sensitive and expensive equipment without adverse effects. Although applied as a gas the objective is to treat surfaces and penetrate microscopic scratches and other pathogen harborages. Chlorine Dioxide can penetrate water and food residues, but the intention is not for food or commodity treatments. Excessive residues, organic loads or surfaces such as unsealed concrete may require higher levels of chlorine dioxide gas or longer exposure times.

How Are Chlorine Dioxide Treatments Completed?

Production of the on-site generated gas is outside the treated space and introduced through application lines. This helps to reduce possible exposure. Concentrations inside the treated space are monitored for efficacy, and outside for safety. Removal of sensitive equipment is not necessary because there are no known adverse effects from chlorine dioxide gas.

Chloride Dioxide gas is effective against a wide range of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and molds. Similarly, this gas can even successfully control bacteria that form spores. Performance of bacterial swabs before and after the treatment can assess the effectiveness of treatments. Placement of biological indicators throughout the treated areas will as well.

Set up for treatment requires sealing the treatment area and setting up fans for even distribution of gas. Set up also includes increasing the humidity to around 65%. Actual treatment time is typically six hours or less once the area is sealed and humidified. Assess efficacy by monitoring and achieving a concentration-time (CT) value known to be effective against pathogens from lab studies. Bioassays and swabs are also an option to confirm efficacy. The gas aerates quickly allowing the facility to be up and running promptly. Completion of most CD treatments takes less than one day. Chlorine Dioxide sterilizes almost any size area including tarped equipment, small rooms, spiral freezers or even large processing facilities.

Above all, IFC’s knowledge and experience in food plants assures regulatory compliance and high standards of safety.

Biological Efficacy of Chlorine Dioxide

Scientists conducted testing of many microbial organisms with Chlorine Dioxide being successful on all tested species to date. Below is a table of some of the more commonly seen microorganisms. For more information including scientific papers and other references, please contact IFC.

Chlorine Dioxide is Effective Against:


  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • Clostridium spp.
  • E. coli spp.
  • Fusarium spp.
  • Lactobacillus spp.
  • Legionella spp.
  • Listeria spp.
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Salmonella spp.
  • Staphylococcus spp.
  • Tuberculosis
  • Yersinia spp.


  • Foot and Mouth disease
  • Hantavirus
  • Hepatitis A, B, C Virus
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus
  • Influenza A
  • Norwalk Virus
  • Poliovirus
  • Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
Chlorine Dioxide gas decontamination


  • Aspergillus spp.
  • Botrytis species
  • Candida spp.
  • Fusarium solani
  • Penicillium spp.
  • Stachybotrys chartarum


  • Bacillus spp.
  • Clostridium spp.


Chlorine Dioxide Decontamination Resources

  • ProClean Disinfection Service

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