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FAQ - Instrument Processing - 2015
 FAQ  - Instrument Processing - 2015



Could you please provide the proper procedure for labeling or marking sterilization pouches and wrap? Specifically, is it acceptable to write directly on the packaging and if so, where? I cannot find anything specific in the CDC Guidelines, but the following is stated in ST79 in section 8.3.2- If a marking pen is used to label paper–plastic pouches, the labeling information should be written only on the plastic side of the pouch. If a marking pen is used to label wrapped packs, basins, instruments, or other surgical supplies, the ink should be nontoxic, and the labeling information should be written on the indicator tape or affixed labels. Is this the proper information to follow? 

In addition to the information contained in ST79 section 8.3.2, Ask OSAP was able to locate the following information in Practical Infection Control In Dentistry which states as follows:

After packaging is completed, the package should be labeled (Table 16-5). Automated labeling devices are available that can preprint the information on self-adhesive labels. This provides an efficient method for creating legible and standardized labels. If a handwritten label is used, the marking pen should be indelible, nonbleeding, and nontoxic. Felt-tip ink pens or a very soft lead pencil may be used. Do not write on paper or cloth wrapping materials. Peel packages should be labeled on the plastic portion or on the self-sealing tab. 1

TABLE 16-5 Information to include on the Package Label

· Sterilizer identification number

· Load number

· Operator’s initials

· An indefinite shelf-life label (if using event-related shelf life) with the date of sterilization, or, if using time-related shelf-life policies, an expiration date

· Package contents 1


1)     Molinari JA and Harte JA. Practical Infection Control In Dentistry – Third Edition. Wolters Kluwer / Lippincott / Williams & Wilkins. Pages 226-227.




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