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Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part II

April 6th, 2020 | Posted by Lindsay Hottovy in Vending machine - (Comments Off on Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part II)

Part II – What Products Are Recommended to Safely Clean and Disinfect Vending Equipment?

Previously, we delved into why vending is the ultimate solution in the convenience services industry in Part I.  Part II of our four-part series will provide guidance on finding the right cleaning agent to keep your vending equipment disinfected and safe for your customers to use.

As communicated by the European Vending Association, even with the secured product control offered by vending, it is extremely important to clean and disinfect vending equipment often, especially considering the current health crisis due to COVID-19.  Fortunately, the cleaning and disinfecting process for vending equipment is easy and cost-effective. All components on vending equipment, including electronics, keypads, plastic surfaces, and glass surfaces, can be effectively cleaned and disinfected with warm, mild soapy water.

Why is soap so effective against bacteria and viruses, such as the Coronavirus?  Soap is comprised of two-sided molecules. One side is attracted to water; the other side is attracted to fat. Viruses, such as the Coronavirus, are comprised of material surrounded by a coating of proteins and fat. When viruses interact with soap, the soap molecules rip that fat coating out. Soap literally demolishes viruses in as little as 20 seconds.  To learn more about why soap is eVending’s preferred cleaning and disinfectant agent, check out National Geographic’s article Why soap is preferable to bleach in the fight against the coronavirus.

There are commercial-grade cleaning and disinfectant options such as Kay 5 Chlorinating Sanitizer, which is highly effective against bacteria and fungus, and is used primarily for kitchen equipment, soft serve and shake machines and kitchen utensils.  Another option is PURELL® Foodservice Surface Sanitizer, an EPA registered multi-surface sanitizer/disinfectant approved for use on food-contact surfaces with no-rinse required and is currently registered in all 50 states.

If you choose to use a commercial-grade product, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Never mix these products with ammonia or any other cleanser. Also, check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date.  Expired products will likely not be as effective against coronaviruses. You can view all EPA approved disinfectants against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes the disease COVID-19 HERE.

For more information on best practices to sanitize your vending equipment or other equipment questions, please contact eVending at 800-944-5524. 

How should you go about cleaning your vending machine? Check back later to find out in Part III.

Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part I

March 27th, 2020 | Posted by Lindsay Hottovy in Vending machines - (Comments Off on Vending Machines – A Controlled, Safe Method to Provide Food and Beverages to Consumers – Part I)

Why Vending is the Ultimate Controlled Dispensing Solution for the Convenience Services Industry

As organizations modify their operations and procedures to best keep employees and customers safe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that is sweeping across our nation and the world, the need to safely provide food and beverage options remains critical.  

According to the National Merchandising Association (NAMA), “Through our unique food distribution system, our industry can be the greatest source of “contactless” nourishment to over 40 million consumers with food and beverages daily, and it is all accomplished in an unattended retail environment, often with round the clock availability.”

Federal and State governments, along with the CDC, are encouraging social distancing, including reducing or eliminating face-to-face encounters with alternative options such as contactless delivery and self-serve options.  In workplaces, this includes re-evaluating how food and beverages are offered to employees. For example, in the past weeks, many organizations have shuttered cafeterias to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

 Recently the NIH and CDC released information on the Coronavirus’ lifespan on surfaces.

  • Airborne: 30 minutes to 3 hours
  • Cardboard: 24 hours
  • Stainless Steel: 2 days
  • Plastic: 3 days

These guidelines have prompted many organizations to further re-evaluate self-serve convenience service options deployed in their organizations such as unattended retail markets.  The risks in these applications is that the food and beverage products are not controlled in such that consumers can pick-up products and return them to the shelves for the next consumer to handle.  With COVID-19 having up to a three-day lifespan on items such as bottled beverages and clamshell salad containers, unattended retail applications may pose a risk of being a spreading point within organizations.

Unlike unattended retail markets where consumers can access and return the food and beverage products, vending requires consumers to purchase the product(s) before the consumer is able to touch the product(s).  Just think in a micro market setting how many people before you may have picked up that plastic bottled beverage or salad in a plastic clamshell before you and put it back on the shelf.  

Besides the product itself having the opportunity to be handled by multiple people in a micro market application, another consideration is the cleanliness of micro market hardware itself.  For example, when consumers access products in micro markets they often come in contact with shelving holding the product. You have risk of direct exposure on the shelf itself, as well as transfer exposure from the product.  Being full secured access, this is not a concern or risk when it comes to vending, as only the operator has access to the interior of the machine including the shelving.

Vending offers the ultimate secured access solution and allows organizations to safely provide employees and consumers with food and beverage products, with little to no risk of contamination from numerous other individuals handling the product.

According to the European Vending Association, “Vending machines are a reliable and safe way to obtain food and beverages. Vending machine operators place food safety as top priority in their daily service, and are trained in protection against infections. During the current health crisis, operators have also put in place measures to ensure that the disinfection of machine surfaces is also carried out as regularly as possible.

For more information or other equipment questions, please contact eVending at 1-800-944-5524. 

What products are recommended to safely clean and disinfect vending equipment? Check back soon to find out in Part II.