Ecolab, Inc. (NYSE:ECL), a leader in food industry sanitation, and FreshLoc Technologies, Inc., an innovator in wireless food safety technology, announced a stretagic alliance today.

An established leader in sanitation, Ecolab, announced that it has formed a strategic alliance with FreshLoc, a new state-of-the-art food safety technology provider that solves the problem faced by supermarkets, distributors, manufacturers, trucking companies, restaurants and others in the food supply chain when their perishable products are not maintained at proper temperatures, thereby allowing micro-organisms to grow and result in food-borne illness. FreshLoc monitors temperature, humidity and other conditions surrounding fresh food and immediately and automatically alerts responsible personnel when conditions are not in safety tolerance limits - in time to take action.

A $3 billion leader in providing equipment and products around the world (150+ countries) to keep food clean and safe, Ecolab is an ideal partner for Freshloc. Doug Foster, president and COO of Freshloc, explained, "Ecolab is already known as an expert in food safety. Supermarket chains, groceries, and other food marketers are all familiar with Ecolab and its Kay Chemical division, and trust them because of their renowned products and service. Food safety is no longer solved by a single technology. We're very pleased to combine Ecolab's superior chemical technology with our unique wireless technology. Together, this constitutes the 'HACCP/food safety dream team'."

Allan L. Schuman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ecolab, stated, "We are pleased to be able to offer this technology to our customers as yet another way to assist them in providing improved food safety for their customers; further, we believe this will reduce operator costs through better control of perishable product storage environments. We look forward to working with FreshLoc in the development of this exciting technology and in the development of related growth opportunities it offers for future applications."

According to Foster, FreshLoc will team up with Ecolab's Kay division, providing direct sales, installation and customer support, while FreshLoc provides the technology and support that allow Ecolab customers the ability to protect end-use customers from the dangers of food-borne illnesses caused by improper temperatures along the food supply chain. Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta estimated that 76 million Americans got sick from food-borne illness -- and thousands died.

Based in Plano, Tex., a suburb of Dallas, FreshLoc offers a number of advantages over other food temperature monitoring systems, including:

  • Wireless sensors -- allows flexibility to change facility layout;
  • Low cost to purchase and operate;
  • Automatic alerting: users can find out about potential problems when they can still remedy them -- instead of merely after the fact;
  • More accurate records: should regulatory questions arise,
  • FreshLoc can instantly provide complete and precise records of any or all monitored areas;
  • Labor savings: employees will no longer have to spend time manually logging temperatures and maintaining those records;
  • Versatility: users can monitor information or print out reports as frequently or infrequently as they desire;
  • Easy installation -- quicker, cheaper and does not disrupt store, warehouse or truck operations.

FreshLoc is a venture capital-backed, privately-held company based in Plano, Texas. It was founded by Rik Heller, Doug Foster and Dick Fettig, FreshLoc is rapidly building its reputation among various segments of the food supply industry. Its satisfied clients already include Hardie's Fruits and Vegetables (Dallas, Tex.), Land O' Lakes (Sioux Falls, South Dak.), A1 Refrigeration -- IGA Stores (Lincoln, Neb.) and PLM Leasing (San Francisco, Calif.), and H.E. Butt - HEB Grocery (San Antonio, Tex.).