Food Factory Cleaning
The need for high levels of hygiene in food production areas is obvious, and the cleaning regime and methods have to be as efficient as the productions systems they clean up after. There are many factors involved in maintaining a hygienic environment for food preparation including:
- The layout and design of the food preparation area will influence the cleaning process. By ensuring that all surfaces are accessible and difficult to reach nooks and crannies are kept to a minimum, cleaning is much easier and quicker
- The cleaning regime should be documented with processes defined so that operators know when where and how cleaning should be carried out
- The cleaning machines used should provide the most efficient and economical solution to the cleaning problem, to ensure that hygiene standards are met
Fortunately there is a wide variety of equipment available for food factory cleaning, as well as custom designed systems designed for specific production lines and environments.
Cleaning equipment for food preparation areas – pressure washers
The main purpose of food factory cleaning is to remove the residue that bacteria need to grow, and kill all bacteria on the surface. All surfaces that come into contact with food have to be cleaned as do other areas such as walls. Pressure washer are used to wash down the area and remove surface deposits and the size and type of pressure washer will be determined by the area and type of equipment being cleaned and the level of cleanliness required.
Our customers usually use a hot water pressure washer; perhaps with an additional steam facility for deeper cleaning where required. A stand-alone dry steam cleaner is more appropriate for some applications, either static or portable.
High pressure cleaning
Water emitted at high pressure has a scouring effect on hard surfaces which effectively blasts away impurities. Whilst this is superficially effective, which may be all that is required, there is some concern within the food and catering industry about the possibility of bacteria potentially being suspended in airborne particles and therefore still hazardous. This is of particular concern in high risk areas of food processing i.e. the last stage before it reaches the consumer, as any contamination at this stage would be difficult to deal with. High pressure cleaning is a very effective method in the right situation, and its cleaning hygienic efficiency is well known.
Medium pressure cleaning
If high pressure washing isn’t suitable then an alternative is medium or even low pressure washing. We are all aware of the cost of energy and water, and the need to minimise waste, so the cleaning at lower pressure has become more popular, although can lead to more manual cleaning and a need for more chemicals to remove protein build up etc.
Specialist pressure washers for food preparation areas
The Ehrle KD940F Series 3x3 pressure washer for example is designed for use in food preparation areas and for cleaning catering equipment. A portable machine, engineered to be corrosion-free, it also has a wide range of water pressure and flow options and other added features, making it suitable for most requirements.
Cleaning catering equipment with dry steam
The nature of deposits left on catering equipment are often greasy and adherent to the working surfaces of the equipment. Removing the residue is one thing but, getting a surface hygienically clean is another.
The most effective cleaning machine for deep cleaning of catering equipment is a commercial dry steam cleaner which will create steam, super-heated to a temperature of up to 170°C. This effectively reduces the deposits to a liquid state, making them easy to remove by wiping or using the integral vacuum within the machine. A steam cleaner is often used for catering equipment cleaning because it can get into the less accessible parts of machinery and equipment to attack the dirt and kill the bacteria and micro-organisms which lurk unseen.
Food process cleaning systems
Depending on the level of hygiene required and the processes involved, a more specific cleaning system may be needed.
At B&G, we design and build bespoke wash down systems for the food industry which can operate at varying water pressure and flow levels and also incorporate an automatic chemical dosing system if required. A multi-pump cleaning system uses multiple pumps employed in sequence, serving a number of cleaning lances which are fed from a ring main system. This type of system means that it can be used by a single operator, or multiple operators depending on the requirement dictated by the cleaning regime.
The system is designed to suit the requirements of the environment and is ideal where large scale catering equipment is needing to be kept scrupulously clean. The advantage of this type of bespoke cleaning system is that it is suitable for carrying out a full wash down at the end of a shift when all the lances would be used as well as intermediate cleaning when perhaps only one or two lances would be required.
Cleaning in place (CIP) systems can also be designed to clean the production line without the need to dismantle the equipment, using chemical solutions delivered under pressure via built in pipework to run through the system and clean it out on an automatic schedule, to minimise manual cleaning and reduce down-time.
For advice about food factory and catering equipment cleaning, talk to the experts at B&G Cleaning systems, we’re happy to help.
Article updated by Ian Hodkinson 17th April 2019