Food safety inspectors employed by the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service are receiving a supply of hand sanitizer thanks to an innovative partnership between Nebraska’s ethanol industry and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The hand sanitizer will be used by the men and women responsible for inspecting more than 6,500 meat-processing facilities across the country, ranging from “mom-and-pop” facilities that handle only a few animals at a time to the giant beef, poultry and pork plants that employ thousands of people.
“Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors provide critical support to our food supply chain and also to the livestock industry across our nation,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “Thanks to our UNL ingenuity and the generosity of our Nebraska ethanol industry, we are pleased to get hand sanitizer into their possession so they can stay safe at their jobs.”
VIDEO: Learn more about the project in this interview from the Rural Radio Network
Green Plains Inc., which operates 13 biorefineries across the United States, has donated a significant amount of FCC Grade alcohol to the project from its York, Nebraska, facility. The alcohol is higher in purity and quality than traditional fuel-grade ethanol. Green Plains does not sell any fuel-grade alcohol for use in disinfectants or sanitizers.
“During this health emergency, Green Plains and its employees feel a deep responsibility to do our part to help address this crisis in communities nationwide,” said Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains. “We are pleased to donate high-quality, FDA approved, FCC Grade alcohol for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service team.”
Other supplies have been contributed by BASF, Cargill, Syngenta, Phillips 66 and the State of Nebraska, among others. Faculty and staff affiliated with the Food Processing Center, College of Engineering, Environmental Health and Safety, and Nebraska Forest Service handle production.
Thus far, the improvised factory at Nebraska Innovation Campus has manufactured more than 60,000 gallons of the product.