Ecolab Inc. (NYSE: ECL) and IBA, two leaders in the global food industry, announce that they have signed a contract creating a strategic partnership, designed to offer food processors a better chance of fighting serious food-borne illness. The Ecolab Inc. IBA partnership gives food processors the most comprehensive system to greatly reduce potentially deadly bacteria in food.

The partnership makes available for the first time complementary sanitation and irradiation technologies that provide food processors with today’s most effective solution to keeping foods safer for consumers. The combination of Ecolab’s leading sanitizing products for plant equipment and food surface treatment, together with IBA’s proprietary E-Beam and X-Ray irradiation technology, means greater control over safety standards throughout the food processing chain.

Under the new agreement, Ecolab becomes the exclusive sales agent in North America for IBA’s line of accelerator systems — the most sophisticated technology available today for cold pasteurization — or irradiation — of food. IBA will also offer customers a variety of services including ongoing, in-plant consultation and system design and management, based on comprehensive food product analysis to determine the best possible choice of process and dose. They will also work with customers to integrate the system into current plant operations.

Together Ecolab Inc. and IBA are committed to addressing the concerns of both consumers and the food industry for safer food and heightened processing standards.

Four new processing centers are currently under development in anticipation of high customer demand. These will offer the greatest capacity for cold pasteurization of food in the U.S. and the world.

The complete line of E-Beam and X-Ray irradiation technologies will allow food processors the ultimate in flexibility as both thin and thick meat or food products can be processed with a single unit. This eliminates the potential packaging and handling considerations associated with traditional systems.

“This partnership is just a common sense approach to the ongoing challenge of keeping food safe,” says Ecolab Chairman and CEO, Allan Schuman. “By combining the best sanitation systems to keep plant equipment and food surfaces clean with the latest technology to kill bacteria in processed foods, we can offer food processors a far more effective system than ever before.”

“Sanitation and irradiation are complementary technologies that must work hand in hand. Neither provides the complete answer to keeping food safe, but together they can help keep the standards of safety high in processed foods,” says Pierre Mottet, CEO of IBA s.a.

Ecolab is the leading global developer and marketer of premium sanitizing products and services for the hospitality, institutional and industrial markets. For the year ended December 31, 1999, Ecolab reported sales of $2.1 billion. Including European joint venture sales of $0.9 billion, Ecolab’s global sales coverage was $3 billion. Ecolab shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Exchange under the symbol ECL.

With a presence at 47 different sites in 12 countries on three continents, IBA is the world’s largest provider of contract irradiation services as well as the largest designer and manufacturer of accelerator-based irradiation systems. IBA is quoted on the Belgian Stock Exchange and sales in 1999 rose to 142 million Euros. The IBA Food Safety Division is based in Memphis, Tenn. and in addition to the four new centers under development, has access to the Group’s numerous multi technology centers around the world. Further information on IBA is available on the World Wide Web at the following address www.iba.be.

Ecolab Inc. news releases and other company information can be found at www.ecolab.com.