Food factory cleaning and disinfection is the subject of new guidelines produced by the Campden and Chorleywood Food Research Association (CCFRA).
CCFRA said its publication, 'Cleaning and disinfection of food factories: a practical guide', informs manufacturers on when to clean, how to clean and what chemicals to use in order to remove physical, chemical and microbiological contaminants.
"We were aware that are members needed information and good practice advice on cleaning and disinfection and realised there were no other comprehensive documents available to food manufacturers to provide this," the guide's author Karen Middleton told FoodProductionDaily.com
The document was written with the support of a Working Party including representatives from cleaning chemical manufacturers, hygiene service providers, retailers and food manufacturers, according to Middleton.
"The guidelines are targeted at all food processors worldwide, however any information on legislation will be specific to the UK/Europe and the disinfectant test methods discussed are the recognised European Norms (EN)," she added.
Chemical choice tree
The guide uses a chemical choice decision tree, which according to Middleton, is a selection of questions that enable the reader to understand what is important to consider before choosing the correct cleaning chemical.
"CCFRA does not recommend cleaning chemicals but the guidelines offer advice on what factors you need to consider before choosing your detergent or disinfectant," said Middleton.
The guide looks at the correct use of water and provides information on dry cleaning techniques as an alternative to wet cleaning. The importance of the hygienic design of food processing equipment and also the hygienic design of cleaning equipment is also addressed.
"The guide identifies the importance of support from all levels of the factory management structure, including the managing director, health and safety staff, and technical and hygiene staff, to implement a successful sanitation programme," added Middleton.
The guide can be ordered through CCFRA's publications department.
Meanwhile a project led by Birmingham University's chemical engineering department, involving a team of researchers from Birmingham, Newcastle and Imperial College London aims to minimize waste and CO2 emissions that occur via cleaning in the manufacturing of consumer goods.
ZEAL (Zero Emissions by Advanced cLeaning) is a four year project with funding of £3.6m from the UK Technology Strategy Board.
The project partners include four major manufacturers, Cadbury, Scottish & Newcastle, Unilever HPC, and Glaxo Smith Kline as well as four suppliers, GEA, Alfa Laval, Ecolab and Bruker Optics.
Reduction of emissions
The project has been operational since early 2007 and the momentum behind it is the EU's 'cap-and-trade' emissions trading scheme, which came into force in January 2005 and sets limits on each manufacturer's CO2 outputs.
Long term, the ZEAL project aims to bring benefits to manufacturers in terms of reductions in cleaning times by up to 15 per cent for new plants and by up to 50 per cent on manual based cycles, as well as minimisation of water consumption and emissions of cleaning effluent by up to 50 per cent.
"The consortium hopes that by better understanding the generic principles of industrial cleaning and the kinds of fouling most commonly encountered, manufacturers can reduce the time and resources they spend on cleaning production equipment between product runs," Dr Milla Shah from the University of Birmingham told FoodProductionDaily.com
The researchers said they have developed a 'cleaning map' through classifying soils based on starch, sugars, proteins and brewery deposits and then relating the physical properties of the soils to the best applicable removal conditions.
"Understanding the nature of soils that deposit on process equipment surfaces and applying novel measurement techniques is vital to ensure that the right cleaning procedure is chosen and applied with the minimum of environmental impact," said researcher Konstantia Asteriadou.
A pilot plant will allow the team to test 'traditional' as well as innovative measuring and monitoring techniques to evaluate cleaning rates and interaction with soils, added the researchers.
"Results from the project will initially be applied in the factories of ZEAL's industrial partners but will be transferable across industry," added Dr Shah.