Two of the founding members of Idea Boxx met late one night at a major fast food chain restaurant in Rochester NY. They started observing a young man, behind the counter, as he began taking apart the soft serve ice cream machine. He proceeded to clean each component in the machine by hand. They looked at each other and at the same time said “ there has to be a better way, a more automatic way to clean that machine”.
They subsequently learned that the largest consumer groups of soft serve ice cream were young children and their grandparents. Both groups are signiﬁcantly more susceptible to serious foodborne illnesses secondary to their underdeveloped, weakened or compromised immune systems. The two members met the next day to explore ideas on designing a device that would retroﬁt onto the existing soft serve machines. This device, hopefully, would standardize the cleaning process in a simple, quick and predictable manner. They immediately recognized that the engineered device could minimize the human frailty of the current manual cleaning process.
They then began to investigate the health standards for cleaning the soft serve machines and found that the cleaning protocols ( method and frequency of cleaning) and monitoring of satisfactory cleaning varied signiﬁcantly depending on the speciﬁc operator’s manuals and local health codes.
As they began to design a clean in place type device for the soft serve machine they learned that the most common chemical sanitizers used to clean the machines were based on chlorine compounds. As they pursued a clean in place system that would provide a more reliable, standardized cleaning process they started wondering if they could also improve on the safety of the chemical sanitizers. They soon ascertained that the chlorine based sanitizers, on a cumulative basis, could become toxic to the employees and consumers as well as the environment. The sanitizers could also be slowly corroding the components of the soft serve machines over time.
They wondered if there was any possibility of developing a food contact sanitizer that complemented the clean in place device in improving the physical welfare of both the employees and consumers. They then researched the chemical formulations of cleaning products that claimed they were based on safer “ natural “ ingredients. They sought out biochemical research scientists hoping to develop a food contact sanitizer based on safe naturally derived ingredients that would have both strong antimicrobial and cleaning efﬁcacy.
One year later ProNatural Brands received an EPA registration for a food contact sanitizer using naturally derived ingredients. One of their scientists then began developing other naturally derived formulations intended for the commercial cleaning market. They were told by a facilities director at a major university medical center that the environmental service personnel prefer to use less toxic and more environmentally friendly chemical cleaning products. The facilities director also remarked that harsh chemical cleaning products continually damaged the internal infrastructure (equipment, furniture, ﬂoors and walls) resulting in expensive annual replacement costs. ProNatural products were evaluated by the environmental services personnel at the medical center. They concluded that the ProNatural products, namely the food contact sanitizer and cleaner/degreaser, performed as well as their current products.
ProNatural Brands is actively developing a full line of naturally derived cleaning products for the food service, healthcare, education and hospitality industry sectors
It is with great resolve that these products will beneﬁt the physical welfare of workers and the consuming public.