Food plant sanitation using steam is not only eco-friendly, saving on large amounts of water and chemicals, but also highly effective, and efficient with labour hours.
In the food processing and packaging arena, proper plant sanitation and cleanliness is of maximum importance. However, the challenges now facing the industry are twofold: controlling pathogenic bacteria and maintaining a high level of cleanliness, while at the same time reducing water usage as well as chemical usage in an effort to support sustainability targets.
Biochemical oxygen demand, or the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by biological processes breaking down organic matter, is one of the key yardsticks of wastewater management at the factory level.
Greater numbers of food processing plants are taking steps to reduce waste measured by BOD values, and therefore save water because of rising treatment costs and increased environmental standards.
Indeed, Wal-Mart has raised the bar even more with its company-wide sustainability initiative. Among the guidelines of this initiative is Walmart’s partners addressing wastewater management and the bod5 levels.
Effective sanitation standard operating procedures steps often or perhaps used to include:
- dry cleaning
- pre-rinsing equipment
- foaming and scrubbing
- cleaning walls, floors and drains
- visually inspection
It is not only essential to dry the surfaces well and quickly because pathogenic bacteria proliferate rapidly in stagnant water, but also because now many producers are concerned with excess water usage and any potential regulatory penalties associated with high b.o.d. levels.
Is this labor intensive, multi-step process the most effective?
Food plant sanitation using steam is a far more viable, cost effective and environmentally friendly solution for food processing and packaging sanitation. Large portable industrial steam cleaners address not only effective cleaning and sanitation without chemicals but also address water consumption and wastewater levels.
Step 1: Dry Clean
The dry clean step involves making sure that pre-sanitation tasks are completed consistently. This includes sweeping floors, removing materials, tools, loose or bulk soils and debris from the area to be cleaned, and covering equipment necessary. In this step, equipment is disassembled to a proper level to provide accessibility for cleaning and sanitizing.
The dry clean (Step 1) is a pre-sanitation task that greatly enhances sanitation success.
The dry clean is completed before the sanitation crew begins to use water hoses. By removing bulk soil and debris before applying water pressure, the possibility of overspray to adjacent pieces of equipment, walls and floors is greatly diminished. Also, the removal of bulk soil from the area before hosing results in less drain pooling and backups, which poses a potentially high-risk situation.
Step 2: Pre-Rinse
The area and equipment surfaces are rinsed until they are visually free of soils, using the lowest effective pressure to reduce the risk of cross-contamination associated with aerosol migration and overspray. Lower pressure reduces the risk of cross-contamination and machine damage. Although the use of lower pressure/greater volume of water at the appropriate temperature is recommended, there are some operations that deal with soils possessing certain properties that require the use of extra pressure in order to remove them from surfaces. In cases in which the operator must rely on some impingement action generated by higher pressure water spray, it should be done during this step of the daily sanitation process and only at this step.
Using the lowest effective water pressure helps minimize aerosols and condensation (Step 2).
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