Customers at a Victoria area grocery store will be able to have their shopping carts cleaned like never before.

Quality Foods has installed a specialized cleaning machine called Clean Cart that sanitizes grocery store carts using far-ultraviolet technology at its View Royal location.

The Vancouver Island-based company says the store is the first in Canada to use far-UV light technology, which has the ability to kill COVID-19 but not harm humans.

“It is the cleanest you can get a grocery cart,” Noel Hayward, president of Quality Foods, told CHEK.

Simply put, Clean Cart is a large reflective box with three ultraviolet lights inside that is located at the front of the store.

Customers simply push their cart into the machine and wait about 20 seconds.

“It’s activated when you push your cart in and it scans a QR code,” explained Hayward.

After 20 seconds, a green light appears, telling customers their cart has been sanitized using far-ultraviolet technology.

“It’s not just the handle that is sanitized but the whole cart,” said Hayward.

Clean Cart was designed by PCL Construction in partnership SterilrayTM and can kill COVID-19 as well as other viruses, according to Hayward. He said the machine is safe because the ultraviolet wavelengths cannot reach human cells.

“It is very safe and very fast,” said Hayward. “The significance is that it doesn’t penetrate the skin or your eyes.”

Quality Foods had been exploring ways to better clean shopping carts and was excited when they learned about far-ultraviolet light technology. Hayward said they reached out to PCL and had some input into how the machine works.

“Right away we thought this was an idea whose time had come,” he said.

The View Royal store was chosen to be the first store to have a Clean Cart machine because of its location.

“There are a lot of people here in Victoria, there is a hospital right across the street. We thought this would be the perfect spot to showcase this unit.”

“We are the very first store in Canada that has a machine using far UV light to sanitize grocery carts,” he said. “It might become the new standard in the industry.”

Although the machine is in a trial phase, Haywood said Clean Cart will likely stick around for good and appear at other company stores.

“I’d say from the reaction of our customers it is going to be permanent and we will make a decision next week to order one unit for all of our stores on Vancouver Island and Powell River,” he said.

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