It is of utmost importance that food manufacturing equipment be kept clean at all times. Dirty equipment can lead to contaminated foods and a decline in the reputation of any food manufacturing plant that produces them. There is a proper procedure for keeping this equipment clean that must be followed in order to ensure everyone’s safety.
The Sequence of Keeping Equipment Clean
When it comes to keeping equipment clean in a factory that manufactures food, the equipment must first be rinsed off, then cleaned, then rinsed off again and lastly sanitised before the process is complete. This should be done at least one time each day. However, it is ideal after each production run that a machine is used for. Ensuring that any bacteria are removed from the surface of the equipment is the key to running a safe operation. Keeping the equipment free of any food particles will prevent bacteria from forming to begin with. It is also important that equipment is kept dry even when it is not in use, as this will also prevent the growth of bacteria.
Methods for Cleaning Equipment
The method used to clean a piece of food manufacturing equipment varies depending on the purpose of the equipment. For example, some pieces of equipment need to be cleaned manually while others need to be cleaned mechanically. Some equipment needs to be taken apart before it is cleaned and some can just be cleaned as is. Other equipment may have to be partly disassembled in order to be cleaned in a pressure tank specialised for that specific piece of equipment.
Sanitising equipment that is used to manufacture food requires sterilisers and disinfectants to be used. The sterilisation process is performed in order to remove living organisms from the equipment and permanently destroy those organisms. The disinfectant process is used to destroy any vegetative cells that have found their way onto the equipment. The act of sanitising equipment is meant to cut down on the level of microorganisms the equipment is exposed to. Proper sanitation of this equipment takes 30 seconds to eliminate 99.9 % of the contamination found on the equipment.
The two types of sanitation that are used on equipment used to manufacture food are thermal and mechanical. Thermal sanitation utilises steam or hot water to clean equipment within a specified amount of time at a specific temperature that will kill off germs and bacteria. Chemical sanitation utilises a chemical based sanitiser that is applied to the equipment for a very specific amount of time. The concentration of the sanitiser is also set at a specific amount to ensure that the cleaner is powerful enough without being so powerful that it damages the equipment.
The Use of Quality Water
When cleaning food manufacturing equipment, anywhere from 95-99 % of the solution is water based. The water acts as a conduit for the detergent and helps sanitise the surface of the equipment. It also removes contaminants and soil from the equipment.