By Amy Milshtein

Cleaning in Food Processing Requires Precision

Cleaning in food processing is serious business; the health, quality, and purity of America's food supply rely on it. Keeping food processing plants and factories clean is also a complicated process with many variables in play. It requires a dedicated crew, well-trained in the multiple steps, various products, and particular methods. Doing it right will keep foodstuffs and customers safe, improve plant efficiency, and increase worker satisfaction. Doing it wrong can seriously impact business by creating unsafe conditions, financial loss, and legal ramifications. While each plant should have different protocols based on the kind food they process and the equipment they use, an article in Food Safety magazine outlines the proper steps needed for every business's cleaning and validating protocol. Here are the main steps every business must take.


Preliminary Cleaning


Cleaning in food processing is much more complicated than simply sweeping or mopping. Correct protocol requires removing both visible and invisible soils from the plant and equipment. The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension states that food soils can vary wildly in composition and that no single detergent can tackle them all. Fat-based soils are often easily removed with hot water and alkaline detergents, while protein-based soils are more difficult. These need highly alkaline detergent with peptizing or dissolving properties. Carbohydrates may be hard to remove from your diet (and your hips), but they are the easiest food soil type to remove, requiring only a mild detergent. Mineral salt-based soils can be challenging. The University suggests an acid-based cleaner for these.


Along with knowing the chemistry of the soil and the detergent, proper protocol requires knowing the characteristics of the surface you're cleaning. For example, milk and milk products are processed on stainless steel equipment, while high-salt and highly acidic products need more corrosion-resistant materials like titanium. Nonmetals, and soft metals like aluminum, brass, and copper are also commonly used in food processing, but these materials are at risk of developing pits and cracks, making them extremely difficult to thoroughly clean.


Sanitizing

A second, more intense cleaning pass reduces microorganisms to levels considered safe from a public health viewpoint. Food Safety reports that the final daily cleaning step is to sanitize walls, floors, and equipment surfaces. Foam cleaner is preferred, as cleaning staff can visually confirm that all surfaces have been covered. Be sure to leave the chemical in place for the appropriate dwell time before rinsing.


Validating


The final step for any cleaning in food processing protocol is validation. This step provides proof beyond what is visible to the human eye that surfaces are totally clean. There are a few technologies that facilitate this, including dyes and optic beams. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) detectors are also a very effective and popular way to validate a clean. ATP is present in plants, animals, bacteria, yeast, and mold. Detection devices pick up ATP and report levels back in real time so you can determine if your surfaces are truly clean with clear accuracy.


Click here for more information on state-of-the-art measurement technology.

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein

Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines. 

Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.

She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.

Related Topics

Related Products

  • Restaurant Cleaning Tips for the Best First ImpressionsSystemSURE PLUS™ ATP Measurement System (ATP Meter)

    Kaivac delivers the industry's first turnkey cleaning delivery and measurement program by combining the soil and microbial removal capabilities of its patented No-Touch Cleaning® systems with the rapid detection capabilities of the SystemSURE PLUS ATP Measurement System (ATP meter).

  • Restaurant Cleaning Tips for the Best First ImpressionsKaiVac 1750 No-Touch Cleaning® System

    When it comes to restrooms and other heavily soiled areas, nothing beats Spray-and-Vac cleaning. Kaivac’s No-Touch Cleaning systems are built for extreme soil removal, empowering workers to clean hygienically without touching contaminated surfaces. Plus, it cuts labor, chemical and equipment costs. Achieving great, consistent results is easy with these patented systems. Simply apply automatically diluted cleaning solution to fixtures and floors in a low pressure fan spray, and then rinse surfaces and floors with always-fresh, clean water. The built-in power of the indoor pressure washer flushes soils out of grout lines and tight places that mops can’t reach. Finally, just vacuum the floor dry -- completely removing soils, moisture and contaminants from all surfaces, grout lines and crevices, leaving the floor virtually dry and soil free. The Kaivac 1750 is perfect for areas large and small. It boasts a 17 gallon fresh water and a 17 gallon recovery tank. The system is powered by a 500 p.s.i. pump and a powerful 3-stage wet/dry vacuum.

  • Restaurant Cleaning Tips for the Best First ImpressionsUltrasnap™ ATP Surface Test Swab

    UltraSnap is a user-friendly, all-in-one ATP sampling test used with Hygiena luminometers. This pen-sized sample collection device is easy to use, small, and environmentally friendly. In addition, UltraSnap uses a unique liquid-stable reagent providing superior accuracy, longer-lasting signal strength, and more reproducible results.

  • Restaurant Cleaning Tips for the Best First ImpressionsOmniFlex™ Dispense-and-Vac

    The OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system offers a simple, fast approach to cleaner, safer floors. Its extreme cleaning capabilities achieve hygienic results in even the heaviest soil and grease conditions. In fact, like most Kaivac systems, it's up to 60 times better at removing soil and contaminants than mopping. That makes the Dispense-and-Vac is perfect for food service establishments, industrial facilities, light duty public restrooms and much more. Just apply fresh cleaning solution to the floor, spread and lightly brush into grout lines, and then completely vacuum away all soils and liquid, leaving floors really clean and bone dry. It's perfect for daily cleaning and degreasing of commercial floors. It's also great for applying and removing stripper on finished floors. The process is radically better, faster and safer than cleaning with a mop.

    Click here to see the compact Space Saver Dispense-and-Vac model

  • Restaurant Cleaning Tips for the Best First ImpressionsOmniFlex™ AutoVac™ Battery

    The OmniFlex AutoVac is an automated high performance floor cleaning machine that's three-four times faster than a mop, but instead of spreading soils, it actually removes them completely from the floor surface. Even more impressive, it cleans as well and as fast as a traditional walk-behind or ride-on auto scrubber at a fraction of the cost! A really simple approach to cleaner, safer floors, this system is perfect for high speed cleaning of hard surface areas, such as entranceways, hallways, cafeterias, lobbies, warehouses, fitness areas and more. It rivals the performance of an auto scrubber without the added cost or complexity, making it perfect for building service contractors and facility managers alike.

Privacy Policy Terms of Service Return Policy
© 2001 - 2018 Kaivac, Inc.
Close

Cart

Item removed. Undo