Going back now to over ten years ago since FootCHECK was first designed.
Foot Dips (aka - Foot Baths) - Were often consisted of a cut down container of various types, dimensions and volumes, located somewhere near the entrance to a site or the sheds. Thus encouraging their use, often these would be unmonitored and their contents changed infrequently. Less than ideal. The introduction of FootCHECK has made a significant improvement over the years and are now widely in use at biosecurity points.
So, why is it important to have a lid on your Foot Dip? - Firstly, rain will affect the disinfectant by diluting the concentration of the active chemicals which can serious affect its performance. A foot dip with a lid will also offer some protection from sunlight and the penetrating UV wavelengths which can also affect the disinfectant. E.g. Sunlight will degrade and affect the performance of the disinfectant you are using over time between the contents being changed, more so if this is infrequent. A lid will also exclude dust and other matter which can contaminate the disinfectant. Therefore, it makes sense to if possible, exclude things which can inactivate the chemicals; if not all, but as most of the pathogens that you wish to kill/remove from the boots are not then transferred into your farm and buildings.
Let us consider these in turn.
Looking at the rainfalls (please see the table below), it is easy to see that foot dips when regularly exposed to varying amounts of added water which will dilute the contents from the desired concentration. Disinfectant concentrates are expensive, to keep from needing to be replenish, using a lid which can easily be raised or lowered makes sense and can help prevent this and save money.
Please see the cost calculator to calculate the cost of running your Foot Dips.
Average rainfalls for the UK and ROI :-
- England – Average is 48 inches per year. (Higher in West than the East)
- Scotland – Ranges from 34 Inches a year in the East to Over 100 inches a year in the West!
- Wales – Ranges from 50 inches to over 70 inches.
- North Ireland – Range (30 – 55 inches per year.
How common were Foot Dips with lids – 10 years ago:
From surveys conducted on a wide range of farms, the survey results show that between 85% - 95% of Foot Dips did not have lids! This has improved over recent years due to many factors and perhaps especially which now have guidelines e.g. from the many quality assurance schemes that exist, also herd/flock health plans which are now in place to improve welfare.
Biosecurity measures are now higher on the political health and welfare agendas. The demand to reduce antibiotic and use of medications in food producing animals has grown considerably.
Foot dips are mostly outdoors and therefore vulnerable to the elements rain, sunlight and dust, the rain is particularly important as it can quickly dilutes the concentration and thus will reduce the known efficacy of the disinfectant - which renders the biosecurity value of the process highly debatable.
Which concentration of disinfectant should be used?
Disinfectant products (mostly) undergo testing and approval by DEFRA to determine the minimum concentration for them to be effective against a range of known organisms. On the whole unless a farm is under a disease category restriction, where disinfectants need to be use at different concentrations under specific disease orders. It is important to note that some disinfectants do not have DEFRA approvals for use although they can still be sold and are available for purchase and use.
Extreme care should be taken when choosing to use products which have not been approved.
DEFRA’s testing is vigorous and proven, there are specific reasons why this is the case e.g so when certain disease outbreaks occur, namely:
- Foot and Mouth Disease
- Swine Vesicular Disease
- Also Diseases of Poultry, including Avian Influenza and Influenza of Avian origin which affect mammals.
All of these have statutory restrictions imposed to control the possible spread of diseases and enable them to be eliminated.
For more information please see:
For approvals rates see:
OR visit www.TheDisinfectantSite.com which also provides this data and also compares the cost of similar disinfectants.
Safety First Reminder: Disinfectants contain potent chemicals, which can be dangerous if not handled properly, so these are potentially hazardous to the user. Care should be taken to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and always use protective measures where and when indicated.
WHAT CONCENTRATION SHOULD BE USED IN FOOT DIP? A sound recommendation for disinfectants intended to be used in a Foot Dip would be to use the disinfectant at the DEFRA GENERAL ORDERS concentration or in the case of poultry, POULTRY ORDERS.
Bearing in mind the disinfectant chemical type; as some are more durable then others when organic matter is introduced during use - this is VERY IMPORTANT.
Please see the table below for guidelines on the frequency of changes:
Foot dips - General replenishment Guide
|Type of Disinfectant
||Replenishments per Week
|Glutaraldehyde + Formaldehyde
|Glutaraldehyde + Quat. Ammonium Salts
|Quat. Ammonium salts
||2 - 4
||3 - 7
How often should I change the disinfectant? The guide above is general help, also check the products instructions for use.
Remember ORGANIC MATTER will in many cases VERY quickly disable the active chemicals in disinfectants, some more so, as indicated above. Daily changes may be required unless the boots are clean when dipped which can become expensive and also a weak link in biosecurity.
Ideally boots should be cleaned before they are disinfected and not cleaned inside the foot dip!
FootCHECK is large enough to step into with both feet. Notably, it is ideally used by stepping into from a ‘less clean’ side and through it to exit on a clean side to avoid recontaminating the footwear.
Biosecurity point protocols
From the surveys conducted over time it is evident that unless a strict schedule of protocol (SOP) is in place the frequency, whereby the contents of Foot Dips are refreshed on a scheduled and recorded basis. The results of failing to replenish renders a weak point in biosecurity measures as the Foot Dip functioning will be ineffectively. Other than of course when it is first filled with new contents to the correct concentration!
FootCHECK’s patented internal measuring feature can assist greatly here too, by saving money, especially so with concentrated liquid disinfectants. Regarding powdered product, FootCHECK can as serve well here too, as the fill level is a helpful accurate volume 15 Liters so the correct weight/volume of powder can easil be added.
Effects of Sunlight (UV)
Ultra Violet light affects the speed of chemical reactions, depending on the stability of the active ingredients which are in the solution/suspension. Chemical mixtures will undergo reactions which change their potency and could affect their efficacy (Shelf-life). The energy from the suns rays can initiate and/or catalyse many chemical reactions by exciting the molecules. The greater the intensity of light (visible or ultra-violet) the more reactant molecules are likely to gain the required energy (activation energy) and will react/change.
FootCHECK is made of a durable HDPE resin which has added UV inhibitors along with the colourants. The UV inhibitors help protect not only the plastic itself also protect the solution which is shielded mainly the lid.
Effect of Temperature
It is important to note that disinfectants become less effective as the temperature declines e.g. Late Autumn – > Winter -> Spring. This is especially important below 4 Celsius, which incidentally is the lowest temperature used in the DEFRA approval methodology and validated for the approved concentration for the specific orders.
A Foot Dip with a lid offers some protection from ambient temperature changes. However, if the contents of a Foot Dip freeze then the contents need to be (must) replaced. There are some exceptions as a few disinfectants have data to show they are still effective at lower temperatures.