LAS VEGAS — This week’s conference of ISSA, also known as the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, attracted more than 16,000 people and more than 700 exhibitors from  25 countries to the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Engineer Stephanie Fleming demonstrates an innovation from the Italian company De Nora at ISSA 2017 this week at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This unit converts water into a powerful, odorless, bleach-free, ready-to-use disinfectant for any food contact surface. Its effectiveness on norovirus adds to its uses from customer service areas to restrooms. (Photo by Jim Mann)

The show theme was best expressed in the single watchword: Uncover. This challenge to change flowed through an extensive array of 60-plus training sessions imploring operators and their distributors to establish cleanliness programs built on the standard of continuous improvement — Uncover the excellence accessible through open-mindedness and innovation. Uncover the extraordinary.

Data became the gold-standard currency in understanding the environmental challenges in all the places now serving as a dining space. More than 60 percent of office workers are “desk diners.” Breakrooms have become satellite kitchens. The desktop epicureans face all the usual food safety challenges, including unwashed hands, unwashed refrigerator door handles and unwashed microwave buttons. Consensus supports the science that indicates these surfaces are not currently cleaned to food safe standards.

The ISSA constituency includes a large groups of food safety consultants who visit schools, office buildings, hospitals and nursing homes. They carry the news and help tailor systems of continuous improvement.

Roxanne Hassman, marketing manager at Martin Brothers Distributors of Cedar Falls, IA, said providing information is part of standard operating procedure nowadays.

“Cleanliness technologies are advancing everyday and we as distributors have become more distributors of solutions rather than products,” Hassman said. “We need data and best-in-class products to help set up enduring solutions for those we serve and the folks they serve.”

This week’s ISSA event served as a timely introduction to next week’s International Clean Hands Week.

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