EN:1276? EN:14476? EN: What? Eh? What do EN numbers stand for?
Over the last few months as the current Coronavirus pandemic has waged war on the world you have probably been stepping up your cleaning activities at home, work and public places and you are more than familiar with the use of disinfectants. However, when you read the back label, and you see EN:1276 or EN:14476, do you know what they mean or stand for?
The abbreviation EN stands for European Standard, which is a series of quality and safety criteria that if a product makes a claim, it has to have passed. The numbers correspond to a specific test, and in most cases, for disinfectants, bleaches and sanitisers they relate to a series of microbial suspension methods. Here we are going to explain what the tests are and what each number refers too, to help you make a more qualified decision when purchasing products.
These tests relate to the effectiveness of a product to kill bacteria.
Proof of bactericidal efficacy. It is a laboratory suspension test that tests the effectiveness of a product at killing bacteria in a test tube. For a pass, the product must kill 99.999% of bacteria within 5 minutes; this is evaluated by counting live cells under a microscope.
Proof of bactericidal efficacy for use in the food industry, especially areas that deal with raw meats and dairy products. Includes testing the product with dilutions to the point it no longer works.
Proof of bactericidal efficacy for use in a medical setting, and this test applies to all products that used for this purpose, including hand scrubs, hand washes, disinfectants for surfaces and instruments. Products must be stable when mixed with hard water.
The codes below relate to the effectiveness of a product to kill viruses.
Similar to EN 1276 it measures proof of virucidal efficacy employing a suspension test and an incubation period of several days.
Tests the proof of virucidal efficacy for products that are related to the veterinary industry.
Fungicidal Activity - EN 1650
The fungicidal activity of products used in the food, industrial and domestic markets are tested for their ability to kill a suspension of a fungus such as Candida albicans.
Hand Washes - EN 1499
A test to measure the effectiveness of handwash using water to reduce the transmittance of microbes.
Hand Rub - EN 1500
A practical test, where the bacterial contamination of the fingertips before and after use of alcohol hand rub is used.
If you can't remember or don't know your virus from a bacteria, read here or want more information about the difference between 99.9% and 99.999% read here.