Certifications Explained: What is BS EN 1276?

Cleaning professionals can utilise a myriad of products during their day-to-day roles, but not all are suitable for every task. This is especially the case when it comes to disinfecting environments where food is prepared and stored. When working in these kinds of spaces, hygiene professionals need to be certain that the products they are using will effectively kill E. coli and salmonella. In these instances, a product certified with the BS EN 1276 standard offers assurance that their chosen disinfectant is food-safe and will be effective against a range of harmful pathogens.

Understanding BS EN 1276

According to the British Standards Institution (BSI), BS EN 1276 – or British Standard European Norm 1276 – specifies, “…the minimum requirements for bactericidal activity of chemical disinfectant and antiseptic products that form a homogeneous, physically stable preparation when diluted with hard water or – in the case of ready-to-use products – with water.” In order to meet BS EN 1276 standards, the BSI further specifies that, “Products can only be tested at a concentration of 80% or less, as some dilution is always produced by adding the test organisms and interfering substance.”fa

Broadly speaking, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) explains that BS EN numbers specify standards that refer to a product’s ability to eliminate spores, bacteria, fungi and viruses.  However, commenting directly on BS EN 1276, the BICSc states, “BS EN 1276 is the bactericidal standard, generally found on washroom products and effective against E. coli, pneumonia and tetanus to name but a few bacteria.”

Where and How Should Products with BS EN 1276 be Used?

BS EN 1276 can apply to a broad range of products intended for use in an equally wide range of cleaning environments.  As the BSI explains, “BS EN 1276 applies to products that are used in food, industrial, domestic and institutional areas excluding areas and situations where disinfection is medically indicated and excluding products used on living tissues except those for hand hygiene in the above considered areas.” 

However, as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) explains here and here, disinfectant products certified with the BS EN 1276 standard are considered to be safe for use – and, indeed, specifically formulated to use – within a catering or a food service environment.  Additionally, products with this certification are also widely used in schools and nurseries.

BS EN 1276: Assurance for Food Prep Areas and Beyond

Verifying a product’s certification standard is the key to ensuring its efficacy.  As the BICSc observes, “The only way to be sure products are proven to be effective is to look for the independent testing of the product to approved British Standards, EN codes are a check that independent testing has been carried out.”  On its label, a product should clearly state the standard to which it adheres. 

In addition to taking care to verify that their chosen antibacterial product adheres to the standards set by BS EN 1276, the institute also advises hygiene professionals to pay careful attention to their working practices when cleaning.  This means frequently cleaning and/or disinfecting high-touch areas like door handles, lift buttons, railings, etc., and tending to high-traffic areas – like toilets – on a regular basis. 

BS EN 1276 offers proven protection for food preparation areas and beyond.  For hygiene professionals, a product displaying the BS EN 1276 certification offers assurance that their chosen disinfectant will offer broad-spectrum protection against an array of dangerous pathogens.

However, as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) explains here and here, disinfectant products certified with the BS EN 1276 standard are considered to be safe for use – and, indeed, specifically formulated to use – within a catering or a food service environment.  Additionally, products with this certification are also widely used in schools and nurseries.

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