BY: ROB LAROSE, PRESIDENT & CEO OF BIOSAFE SYSTEMS
There is almost an unlimited amount of opportunities within the poultry industry to provide green alternatives to many of the conventional chemicals and pesticides that are used on the farm, in hatcheries and processing plants.
BioSafe Systems’ mission is to provide solutions for a variety of agricultural and commercial applications. My father worked his whole life in the poultry industry – most of it as a microbiologist for Arbor Acres Farms poultry breeders.
One of my father’s goals at Arbor Acres was to replace the use of formaldehyde in their hatcher operations. He was convinced it was a dangerous chemical and years later, the US Environmental Protection Agency ruled it as a suspected carcinogen. My father pioneered the use of peroxyacetic acid as both a hard surface sterilant in the hatchers as well as a fertilized egg wash.
Sadly, 30 years later, more than 25% of poultry hatchery operations are still using formaldehyde.
On the farm, there were also those who utilized formaldehyde as a disinfectant, along with variations of aldehydes such as glutaraldehyde. The more pervasive chemical pesticides are very toxic and residual insecticides. Most insecticides are neurotoxins – the more you are exposed to them, the more likely they can bioaccumulate within your body tissues.
BioSafe Systems is bringing more sustainable solutions to on-the-farm applications, like using botanical insecticides that interrupt the life cycle of insects, less toxic alternatives such as pyrethrin’s, fatty acid insecticides for mite control and biological insecticides for darkling beetle and other insects. The biological insecticides deposit fungal spores in the poultry litter to germinate and infect the darkling beetles that penetrate their bodies to kill them. The biologicals are non-toxic to humans, poultry and animals, but deadly to beetles.
It is interesting that even those who take effective products like hydrogen peroxide and peroxyacetic acid find ways to make them hazardous to those who try to use them. There is a company that packages 50% hydrogen peroxide in one-gallon containers – this is not a good idea. 50% hydrogen peroxide solution, under the right conditions, will set fire to any organic material like cardboard, poultry litter, wood or car parts.
Then, you have other companies delivering 35% peroxyacetic acid to processing plants – also not a good idea. At this concentration, peroxyacetic acid becomes very unstable and has a shelf life of less than a week without refrigeration and should be packaged in special heavy-duty tanks or asset totes. There are some that are using sulfuric acid at high concentrations in processing plants to enhance bacterial control of pathogens but at the expense of worker safety. There must be a better way!