Food manufacturers know that one of the most important parts of their work is to ensure safety for their consumers. One of the ways to ensure safety for your consumer is to clean and sanitize their food processing equipment. Government agencies also enforce cleaning and sanitary of the food production environment in their food standard codes.
The cleaning frequency must be according to each process and line of action (daily or more frequently, after production runs). Also, the cleaning procedure must be for surfaces in contact with food-product and otherwise (walls, lighting devices, overhead structures, walls, ventilation systems, and preservation systems).
Steps Involved in Cleaning Food Processing Equipment
Cleaning food processing equipment can either be done by dry cleaning or wet cleaning. Dry cleaning is usually for food processing environments that deal with low-moisture food (warehouse, dry blending, grain, and cereals). And, the wet cleaning can be done by any food processing manufacturer, even those who deal with low-moisture food, while some industries will need a combination of the two.
The wet-cleaning is more common and essential, and the steps involved in wet cleaning are discussed below:
STEP 1: Remove Debris
Immediately after production, the whole environment is covered with deposits and debris. Wipe the surfaces with a soft cloth, and remove other residues with brushes, mops, or a vacuum cleaner.
STEP 2: Rinsing
After you are done getting rid of the debris, the first step is to rinse all the equipment you used. And this includes the equipment you came in contact with. It will be easier with pressurized water, which you can transport with a hose or network of pipes. You can remove the first layer of dirt with this. To make the dirt removal easier, use warm water.
STEP 4: Clean
After rinsing the equipment, you will go to the thorough cleaning. You will need water, detergent, and a scrubbing tool. Mix the detergent in the water in the right concentration, and give the equipment good scrubbing. To make it easier, get a credible foaming agent and manually scrub the surfaces.
STEP 5: Rinse again
After the foaming process, rinse the equipment and surfaces well to ensure the sanitizing process is effective because detergents are alkaline and sanitizers are acidic. If you do not thoroughly rinse the equipment, the effect of the sanitizer will be neutralized.
STEP 6: Sanitizing
Get a good sanitizer with a high alcohol percentage to clean the surfaces. The sanitizer prevents diseases and curbs the growth of spoilage-causing organisms. You can also use a disinfectant as they perform similar functions. And you can use both, as disinfectants kill more bacteria.
STEP 7: Dry
Check the equipment and areas to ensure they dry out before storing them. Water or wetness is a primary factor that helps the growth of microorganisms. This is why dry cleaning is preferable in low-moisture production areas.
Cleaning your food processing equipment is not a one-step process, and it is not one you do in a hurry, it is as much work as processing food. Carry out the step-by-step processes given above, and do it as frequently as required. Remember, cleanliness is of utmost importance in the food-processing industry.