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Sanitation and/or decontamination of mobile devices for routine operations

Although the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations (SFCR) came into force on January 15, 2019, certain requirements may apply in 2020 and 2021 based on food commodity, type of activity and business size. For more information, refer to the SFCR timelines.

On this page

1. Overview

Mobile devices such as the Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1 (rugged tablet) and the HP Elite X2 (hybrid tablet) are important tools for increasing the efficiency of work and reliability of data collected by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) staff. As the intended use for these devices is to allow for direct data entry into software, mobile devices will accompany inspectors as they conduct their work. 

CFIA must be vigilant in reducing the risk of spread of contamination out of or between premises or introducing contamination into facilities by following stringent sanitation practices.

The selection of disinfectants and cleaning methods for both devices must be as effective as possible while still being practical and achievable under a variety of circumstances and in diverse environments.

Biological hazards can be transmitted readily among plant and animal populations or within a food processing environment and CFIA inspectors may serve as vectors for transmission via their clothing, footwear and equipment such as their mobile device.

There is no single method to conducting sanitation or decontamination for all situations. CFIA staff will need to exercise good judgement in adapting the methodologies in some cases but also in recognizing when further consultation with the Cleaning and Disinfection technical specialist in your Area, or applicable Operational Guidance and Expertise (OGE), is required.

2. Purpose

Guidance provided in this document aims to reduce the risk of CFIA staff inadvertently spreading contamination, via their mobile device, into controlled areas, between premises or to the public or themselves.

3. Potential Use

This document is applicable for the use of the mobile devices outside of the office, on a third party premises or outdoors, to carry out Agency work.

4. Authorities (Regulatory and Other)

This document is being issued under the authority of the Vice President of Operations Branch.

5. Definitions

Tablet
Portion of the device which consists of the screen and stylus.
Device
The tablet plus keyboard.
Mobile Device
For purposes of this document mobile devices are to include the rugged (Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1) and hybrid (HP Elite X2) devices.
  • Rugged device: A rugged (or ruggedized) device is a computer specifically designed to operate reliably in harsh environments and conditions, such as strong vibrations, extreme temperatures and wet or dusty conditions.
  • Hybrid device: A two-in-one computer with the dual functionality of a laptop computer and a tablet device. In most cases, these devices resemble a laptop computer, but the keyboards can either be folded away or detached entirely.
Disinfection
The process of inactivation viruses or vegetative microorganisms but not necessarily resistant forms such as spores.
Sanitation
A process that reduces the numbers of vegetative bacteria only.
Decontamination
The disinfection OR sterilization of contaminated articles to make them suitable for general use.
Contaminated area
For the purpose of this Operational Guidance an area or environment in which the animal, plant or human pathogens are known to or are likely to exist in significant numbers as aerosols or on surfaces. Examples include; potato warehouse with operating bin piler, rendering plants, animal handling facilities and barns, kill floor, scalding and de-feathering rooms.
Sterilization
The use of a physical or chemical procedure to destroy all microbial life, including large numbers of highly resistant bacterial spores. Sterile is an all or nothing state, something is sterile or it is not.
Contact time
Refers to the time a surface is in contact with wet disinfectant. If necessary, reapply disinfectant to keep the surface wet for the necessary contact time.
Drug Identification Number (DIN)
Is a computer-generated eight digit number assigned by Health Canada to a drug product prior to being marketed in Canada. This includes disinfectants should they meet Health Canada's requirements.

6. Reference Documents

(Appendix A)-Foundational Operational Guidance on Biosecurity Training (Internal access only)

Inspectorate staff should complete the online course Principles of Disinfection available through the MyAccount Learning Portal (internal access only). Offering ID Code: 00046835 (EN) and 00054106 (FR)

7. Key Principles

8. Procedure – Rugged Tablet (Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1)

Suggested cleaning and storage aids

Routine maintenance

Preparation

Cleaning

It is recommended that only the rugged tablet be used where disease agents or plant pest contamination is likely.

Decontamination (moderate to high risk situations)

This method is to be used if the rugged tablet has;

  1. been in a contaminated area (rendering plant, animal barn, kill floor, contact premises for potato wart. etc.,
  2. been in contact with animals, plants, soil or their products and by products, or
  3. has to enter a biosecure area (i.e. hatchery, production green house, AI unit etc.).
    • Use a disinfectant listed in Appendix 1: Table 1. Follow manufacturer's instructions unless conducting decontamination in temperatures below Zero degrees Celsius (see Appendix 2).
    • If required change clothing, prepare equipment and wash hands. 
    • Apply disinfectant with a spray bottle. Thoroughly soak all surfaces and straps until dripping. Note: The leather hand strap cannot be disinfected. Remove or use with a butyl rubber strap or vinyl strap (Figure 2).  
    • Fill all cracks and screw holes with disinfectant. Do not spray directly into the fan inlet and outlet (Figure 3) – use a lower pressured, angled spray.
    • Once sprayed, the device should only be placed on a clean/disinfected surface in a clean area, or in a clean/disinfected container for transport.
    • Once the contact time has been satisfied rinse the device with water or if not available then dry with a cloth or towel. Use the contact time listed on the label or, for cold weather see Appendix 2.
    • Dry thoroughly, especially power cords and USBs.

The rugged tablets cannot be disinfected for prions (CWD, BSE, Scrapie etc.).

Sanitation

This is a method that can be used if the rugged tablet has been thoroughly decontaminated since its last use in a contaminated environment, and is going into an area where it and the user are unlikely to have direct contact with animals, plants or product. For example; in a retail location for recall verification, dairy plant for inspection related tasks.

Once the rugged tablet is sanitized or disinfected it is essential that it is not placed in the “dirty” area and taken directly into the area of use.  If hand sanitization is required, then so is that of the rugged tablet.

In registered establishments only, on the processing floor and with establishment agreement, you may use the in-house sanitizer if the main disinfectant component is one of the following:

If there is a potential for the rugged tablet to get dirty, the device is to be used inside a plastic bag. Cut out the plastic over the fan inlet and outlet. A food saver or Ziploc bag works well. Straps can be removed, the rugged tablet covered, and then the straps reattached.  This does not completely stop contamination of the rugged tablet but will greatly reduce cleaning time.

Figure 1-Do not direct a stream of liquid onto the connector area
Figure 1-Do not direct a stream of liquid onto the connector area
Figure 2-The leather hand strap cannot be disinfected. Remove 
or use with a butyl rubber strap or vinyl strap.
Figure 2-The leather hand strap cannot be disinfected. Remove or use with a butyl rubber strap or vinyl strap.
Figure 3- Do not direct water straight onto the air inlet and outlet
Figure 3- Do not direct water straight onto the air inlet and outlet

9. Procedure – Hybrid Device (HP Elite X2)

Suggested cleaning aids for tablet

Surface side of the keyboards

Fabric side of the keyboards

Note

Avoid strong cleaning solvents that can permanently damage your hybrid tablet. If you are not sure a cleaning product is safe, check the product's contents to ensure ingredients such as alcohol, acetone, ammonium chloride, methylene chloride and hydrocarbons are not included.

Fibrous materials, such as paper towels, can scratch the hybrid tablet. Over time, dirt particles and cleaning agents can get trapped in the scratches.  A soft lint free cloth is recommended.

Routine maintenance

Preparation

Note

To prevent damage to internal components, do not spray cleaning agents or liquids directly on any of the hybrid tablet surface. Liquids dripped on the surface can permanently damage internal components.

Cleaning the display

Cleaning the sides or back

Note

When cleaning the back of the hybrid tablet, use a circular motion to aid in removing dirt and debris.

Sanitation

This method can be used if the hybrid tablet has been thoroughly cleaned, and is going into an area where it and the user are unlikely to have direct contact with animals, plants or product (generally requiring basic biosecurity procedures). For example; in a retail location for recall verification, dairy plant for inspection related tasks.

In registered establishments only, on the processing floor and with establishment agreement, you may use the in-house sanitizer if the main disinfectant component is one of; benzyl ammonium chloride, hydrogen peroxide or 0.55% sodium hypochlorite.

Contingencies for Mobile Devices

This guidance will not be applicable to all situations. CFIA staff will need to exercise good judgement in adapting the methodologies in some cases (while following the principles given here) but also in recognizing when further consultation with the Cleaning and Disinfection technical specialist in your area is required.

Appendix 1 : Disinfectants for use with the rugged tablet (Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1)

Information provided below is for suggestion only.

Before using, read the MSDSs for the products storage and handling requirements.

Table 1 : Liquid disinfectants
Product ACCEL Prevention Concentrate Ultra Clorox Disinfecting Bleach Clorox Commercial Solutions Disinfecting Bleach  or Clorox Disinfecting bleach
DIN 02361396 02342065 02408961 or 02393298
Manufacturer Virox Canadian distributor: Ogena Solutions Clorox Company of Canada Clorox Company of Canada
Format 4L,  4/Cs 18.9L & 200L 2.8L, 6/cs 3.8L,  3/case
Availability /Source Fisher - 361027729 Pharm Barn (Master Feeders) , Farm Guard Soon in TSC and Purina Staples Some major retailers Acklands Grainger Unisource Fordis Bunzl
Supplied as 7% hydrogen peroxide 5.5% Sodium hypochlorite 7.4% Sodium hypochlorite
In use Concentration 1/40 dilution (25ml concentrate +1000ml water) 0.55% solution (100ml bleach + 900ml water) 0.55% solution (74ml bleach + 926ml water)
Contact time 5 minutes 5 minutes 5 minutes
Table 2 :  Disinfectant wipes
Product ACCEL Prevention, Intermediate Wipes Clorox Healthcare Professional Disinfecting Wipes Caviwipes 1
Use indoors at room temperature only
DIN 02364891 02401983 02379759
Manufacturer Virox Canadian distributor: Ogena Solutions Clorox Company of Canada Metrex Research
Format           160 wipes/can, 12/cs            70 wipes/can 110 wipes/bucket     Regular pack of 45, 20/cs XL wipes 65/can, 12/cs
Availability /Source Fisher Scientific, VWR  Farm Guard Fisher Scientific, Staples,  Bunzl, Plus11 Sanitation Henry Schein  #5832638
Product 0.5% Hydrogen Peroxide 0.55% Sodium Hypochlorite Ethanol 7.5 %,  Isopropanol 15 %,  Didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride  0.76 %
Contact time 3 minutes One minute at 20°C

Appendix 2 : Cold Weather decontamination of the rugged tablet (Panasonic Toughpad FZ-G1)

Commercially purchased disinfectant wipes cannot be used for cold weather decontamination. Dry wipes can be purchased and one of the mixtures below added however (see Appendix 3 for purchasing information).

Solutions are only stable for a set time frame, label spray bottles with the date solution made and date of expiry.

Laboratory testing of disinfectant efficacy was done at -20°C. However the colder the environment, the longer the contact time required and the higher the concentration of disinfectant required.

Read the MSDSs for the products before using to understand the chemical handling and use hazards.

For example:

Accel 1/16 with CaCl2 Contact time required: 5 minutes Stable for 2 days
To make 1 litre for use at WaterTable Note 1 Calcium Chloride Accel Prevention Concentrate 7%Table Note 2
0 to -20°Celsius 800 ml (+) 400 g 63  ml

Table Notes

Footnote 1

Add salt to water and mix until dissolved. The solution will warm up to ~ 40 °C.  Then add the Accel and finally top up to 1 litre with more water.

Return to footnote 1 referrer

Footnote 2

A cloudy precipitate may form and settle out of solution. This is expected. As well, a very slight chlorine smell may develop over time. This also is normal.

Return to footnote 2 referrer

Accel 1/16 with Propylene glycol Contact time required: 5 minutes Stable for 2 days
To make 1 litre for use at Water Propylene glycol Accel Prevention Concentrate 7%
0 to -10°Celsius 637 ml 300 ml 63  ml
-10 to -20°Celsius 537 ml 400 ml 63  ml
Accel 1/16 with Methanol Contact time required: 5 minutes Stable for 2 days
Flammable- suggest using methanol only if no other product is available
To make 1 litre for use at Water Methanol Accel Prevention Concentrate 7%
0 to -20°Celsius 737 ml 200 ml* 63  ml

Purchasing information

Information below is for suggestion only.

Note

Many commercial preparations of Propylene glycol and Calcium chloride are not pure. The additives may cause reactions with the disinfectant and decrease its efficacy. Some commercial products that are least likely to do so are listed below.

Calcium Chloride
Product Format Order number
Xynyth Calcium Chloride 94-97% 50kg Acklands Grainger # XYN200-50049
Calcium Chloride 3kg Fisher Scientific  C6143
Propylene Glycol
Product Format Supplier - Order number
Propylene Glycol 18.9L Hall-ChemTable Note 3 PG300-19
Prestone Plumbing/RV AntifreezeTable Note 4 4L Canadian Tire #63-9926-4 
Propylene Glycol USP/FCC 4 Litres Fisher Scientific - P3554

Table Notes

Footnote 3

Hall-Chen is an importer/packager of PG for retail. They can arrange 3.8L production lots and bulk shipping coshowy@hall-chem.com,

Return to footnote 3 referrer

Footnote 4

Do not substitute other commercial antifreezes without verifying additives will not interfere with the disinfectant.

Return to footnote 4 referrer

Appendix 3: Disinfectants for use with the HP Elite X2 (hybrid device)

Information provided below is for suggestion only.

Before using, read the MSDSs for the products storage and handling requirements.

Table 1: Disinfectant wipes
Product Clorox Healthcare Professional Disinfecting Wipes
DIN 02401983
Manufacturer Clorox Company of Canada
Format 70 wipes/can 110 wipes/bucket
Availability /Source Fisher Scientific, Staples,  Bunzl, Plus11 Sanitation
Product 0.55% Sodium Hypochlorite
Contact time
Note

Avoid strong cleaning solvents that can permanently damage your tablet. If you are not sure if a cleaning product is safe, check the product's contents to make sure ingredients such as alcohol, acetone, ammonium chloride, methylene chloride and hydrocarbons are not included in the product.

Fibrous materials, such as paper towels, can scratch the tablet. Over time, dirt particles and cleaning agents can get trapped in the scratches.

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