When it comes to running a food processing plant, there is almost nothing more important than keeping everything clean and sanitary. However, some of that machinery can be extremely heavy and difficult to move around or disassemble to clean properly. While the entire plant must be cleaned at least daily, sometimes even between shifts, the equipment used for processing foodstuff is especially important.
Each of the following tips will help you to maintain a clean work area and equipment that will be safe and free from contamination. Although they are not listed in any specific order, each is a vital element in the safe and sanitary processing of food.
1. Invest in Hi-Tech Cleaning Equipment
Perhaps one of the greatest developments ever in cleaning technology for food processing equipment would be specifically designed CIP systems. CIP refers to Clean in Place systems that are responsible for cleaning interior surfaces, process lines and the entire interior surface of the vessel without the need to disassemble anything.
Usually, a mild solvent or detergent is used, depending on the type of food being processed in any given machine. For example, anything that leaves an oily residue is best cleaned with a combination of heat and that mild solvent mentioned above. Foods that leave a tar-like residue would best be cleaned with cleaning solutions with a mild abrasive and so forth. This is why CIP systems are custom made and tailored to the exact machines to be cleaned.
2. Clean Exterior Dirt and Debris
This is something that can be done throughout the day. The exterior of all machines should be regularly kept clean of any dust, dirt or debris that collects there. Even though the actual processing takes place inside the equipment, any particles left standing can easily contaminate machines under certain circumstances.
You should establish best practices guidelines for your specific end of the food production industry to in keeping with regulations as set forth by the FDA. It is imperative that your floor managers keep a checklist of times and processes for cleaning in your facility.
3. Make Sure There Is Adequate Drainage
You will probably use a high-pressure hose for much of the exterior cleaning from time to time. For this reason, it is vital to have sufficient drainage and to ensure it is never blocked. All kinds of unhealthy organisms can grow in standing water and believe it or not, it doesn’t take much to contaminate an entire batch being run.
If you have ever tracked food product recalls, you might find that some of the contamination happened at the processing plant. We often think it’s because of issues in the supply chain such as allowing frozen foods to thaw and then be refrozen, but contaminated food products are also a growing concern. With the right CIP system for your processing plant and a well-written set of best practices for times and methods of cleaning that equipment, you should be able to ensure the safe production of foods processed in your plant.