Cleaning and disinfection on farm play an important role in maintaining pig health and performance. Choosing the right disinfectant requires careful consideration of recent disease history and several other farm-specific factors, including hardness and pH of water servicing the barn, types of flooring and other surfaces, potential environmental concerns, staff experience and cost.
Now in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep caregivers healthy, producers may be questioning what products they should be using and what the protocol is for cleaning or disinfecting if positive exposure is suspected on-farm, in the home or the office.
The first action item producers should take is to review the Environmental Protection Agency list of approved disinfectants. According to the National Pork Board's COVID-19 resource page, specific products can be searched for by typing in the EPA registration number found on every approved product label. The agency will be updating the list regularly, so check every week for new approvals.
It's also important to note that alternative brand names have the same EPA registration number as the primary product. The EPA registration number of a primary product consists of two sets of numbers separated by a hyphen. For example, EPA Reg. No. 12345-12. The first set of numbers refers to the company identification number, and the second set represents the product number.
NPB urges pork producers to continue to follow guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on cleaning and disinfecting potentially contaminated surfaces in your home if someone is sick. Focus on high-touch contact areas, such as tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc.
What if a producer doesn't see the disinfectant that he or she routinely uses on farm on the EPA list of approved products known to be effective against the COVID-19 virus? Also, can something like household bleach be used?
To ensure that the product is effective and approved for use, NPB says only use disinfectants on the official EPA list. Other products may appear on the list in the future.
Sodium hypochlorite (the active ingredient in products such as Clorox products) is on the EPA-approved list of products known to be effective against the virus. Although not all bleach products are EPA-approved for SARS-CoV-2, CDC does say that household bleach, when diluted properly (5 tablespoons or 1/3 cup of bleach per gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water) may be effective against coronaviruses.
Finally, with any disinfectant, use it as directed on the label to ensure efficacy against any and all pathogens.