Cleaning and Sanitizing Facilities in the Food and Beverage Sector

No one likes dirty food. We have the “5 second rule” anytime something we are eating drops to the floor. Whatever the reason, we believe that after 5 seconds a piece of food becomes too dirty or dangerous to put it into our bodies. The threat and the paranoia of dirty, contaminated food is so real that food and beverage manufacturers have their own term for it: food soil.

Food soil comes in many different forms, some seen by the naked eye and some that cannot. Food soil is any sort of unwelcome matter on any surface a food or beverage comes in contact with. Even the tiniest biofilms are considered food soil, and food and beverage manufacturing companies are constantly trying to come up with the most effective cleaning and sanitizing systems to get rid of it.

CIP Systems

Clean-in-place (or CIP) systems have gradually increased in popularity with both food and beverage manufacturers alike over the years as technology has allowed packaging and bottling systems to become more and more automated. Instead of having manufacturing plant employees perform the time-consuming and sometimes dangerous task of disassembling processing equipment and scrubbing and sanitizing each individual piece of the machine, most manufacturing plant owners opt to install systems within the machines to make them self-cleaning.

In most cases, CIP systems are exponentially more effective at getting rid of food soil than the old way of manual cleaning by human hands. The systems operate with a structure of pipes and pumps that perform a pre-rinse, and acidic chemical or caustic wash, and a post-rinse. CIP systems are constantly monitored on their effectiveness and efficiency by running regular tests on the water that runs off after the post-rinse. If any food soil particles are found, the CIP system itself gets a cleaning, the processing machine is re-cleaned, and the post-rinse water is tested once again.

Types of Equipment

Some of the most common things food and beverage manufacturing companies choose to use CIP systems for include blenders, vessels, and storage units like tanks, bins, drums, barrels and totes.

For example, most breweries use CIPs with an acidic cleaning solution to clean their kegs. For years, breweries dealt with the problem of what they call beerstone: a calcium oxalate similar to magnesium and hard water deposits. The beerstone posed the risk of ruining the taste and texture of the beer, so its removal was necessary. Because of the tailored and pin-pointed cleaning of CIP systems, breweries depend on them to remove the beerstone, and even claim that the acid/detergent combination commonly used before the final rinse actually helps keep beerstone from returning in the future.

Clean Workplace

Of course, even the cleanest and most pristine food processor or drink bottling machines can be rendered useless if the workspace around the machine is not kept up to the same cleaning standards as the machine itself, or at the very least, a reputable restaurant kitchen. CIP systems that clean entire warehouses are not exactly feasible with the need for employees to walk around and work with the machines and the products they produce for shipment. Machines like walk behind or ride on sweeper scrubber combos pick up any dry dirt and dust particles, preventing them from entering the machine, and the scrubbing and drying functions clean any invisible contamination from the workspace.

Furthermore, sweeper scrubbers are a dream come true when it comes to sanitizing the work space as a whole and getting rid of food soil on all surfaces, even those that do not normally come into direct contact with the food or beverages. Strong disinfectants can be added to the cleaning solution tank in place of the simple detergents used by other types of warehouses. As the disinfectant is pumped out onto the floor, replaceable sturdy scrubbing brushes can be attached on the underside of the machine to work the disinfectant into the floor and make sure every last strain of bacteria or food soil is killed. For an even more thorough job, you can replace the sweeper brushes typically found on the corners of the machine with large scrubber brushes with a greater surface area. This will help clean the floor even deeper as the wet disinfecting solution gets sucked up into the machine’s disposal tank through a tube on the inside of the brush.

A sterilized food processing/machine and a pristine work environment is the best combination to guarantee the output of clean and safe food and beverage products that consumers know they can trust. For years, ViziClean has helped warehouse and manufacturing businesses keep their work spaces clean so they can produce the cleanest, highest quality products for their customers. Search through our online inventory to see the capabilities of the different types of machines, or call one of our floor cleaning experts at 877-676-7889.