Tuesday, May 30, 2023
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Disinfection in new food processing facilities

The application of chlorine dioxide gas throughout the food processing industry is relatively new. However, Nathan Mirdamadi, a food safety consultant at Commercial Food Sanitation, said. “I wish more people knew about it.”

The food processing environment is itself challenging. Bacteria in humid environments double every 15 to 30 minutes, and every decision can be life-threatening. Even a small area of ​​contamination from organisms such as Listeria can become a serious problem. When a food processing facility introduces deadly microorganisms, it is imperative to stay ahead of food safety.

Whether it is new construction, after equipment installation or facility upgrade Ultimately, eliminating risks before starting or restarting a food production line can make or break the sanitation of the facility. These risks are varied considering the number of people entering the facility, dust and debris during construction, equipment replacement and set-up, and raw materials coming in and out during the equipment acceptance and testing phase.

“Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) doesn’t matter when the facility is a construction site,” says Nathan Mirdamadi, Food Safety Consultant at Commercial Food Sanitation. “However, when processing equipment comes online and starts producing food, GMP is absolutely necessary to prevent contamination from foreign objects and microbes.” He likens post-construction cleaning and sanitizing decisions to what he calls decontamination, as at the end of any capital project Draw a risk prevention proverb line inside the facility.

For a growing number of food processing facilities, this well-known line is drawn with chlorine dioxide gas after a thorough cleaning of the facility.

“I wish more people knew about it,” Mirdamadi said of chlorine dioxide gas. Mirdamadi helps clients develop safety plans during the design and construction phases of their facilities, as well as after construction. “As a consultant, I’m usually called in when I see a problem, and chlorine dioxide gas is a great tool to have in the toolbox.”

Selection of an effective disinfectant

Deciding which disinfectant to use is an integral part of facility GMP, but only after thorough cleaning They only worked before. Disinfecting a soiled surface of some kind does not provide protection for the organisms within it. Once that surface is penetrated, anything below will spread.

While cleaners are designed to be washed away, an appropriately chosen and used sanitizer will kill any remaining bacteria. Valid under all conditions, including conversions within the production facility.

Chlorine Dioxide Gas

Although Chlorine Dioxide Gas is very effective , but it is important to remember that it should only be used by any party by qualified specialists or food processing facility personnel trained in its proper use. “It’s a dangerous gas,” says Mirdamadi, “although everything in a food processing environment has risks. Chlorine dioxide gas can be used safely as long as the correct precautions are taken.”

He noted from his own experience that risk tolerance is often the deciding factor in whether a company chooses to decontaminate by hiring experts such as Pureline or train its own staff to do so. “A lot of companies do it themselves after seeing Pureline do it so many times,” he said. “Others ultimately don’t want to take that risk and choose to keep hiring experts.”

An important consideration when planning to use chlorine dioxide gas is air movement, not just disinfection as the gas is expelled , but also during treatment. Chlorine dioxide gas only kills what it comes into contact with. “Pureline will introduce fans to keep the air flowing and maintain an even distribution of gas in the space.” Mirdamadi also recommends thinking ahead about how the gas will be expelled after treatment is complete. Scrubbers are an option, or the gas can also escape through the HVAC system drawing in fresh air.

Facility and Equipment Design

Sometimes facility design can make cleaning and Disinfection is more of a challenge. It is always good to be proactive and work with a food safety consultant upfront to ensure risks like floor drains and HVAC placement are properly addressed before concrete is poured.

Equipment design can also make cleaning and disinfection more effective and challenging. Meat slicers and spiral freezers are two such examples. Those working in slightly sensitive environments will want to sanitize more frequently. Sometimes the environment of a food processing facility is the driver, for example bakeries and snack production should avoid the introduction of water. Purchasing used equipment often prompts the need for decontamination of the facility, which was the case for Mirdamadi’s customers, who rented a third-party warehouse so they could sanitize whole loaves of used food with chlorine before installing them in their facility. Processing equipment for purification treatment facilities.

Equipment is expensive, so facilities do everything possible to ensure a long productive life. Today’s sanitary fixture design standards are not as accessible or even known in years past, so many older fixtures have collection points where liquids and products can build up. Think bolts, brackets, screws and junction boxes instead of continuous welded joints.

Whatever the food safety challenge, Mirdamadi recommends decontamination as close to start-up or restart of a food production line as possible. Once the disinfection step is complete, the risk of microbial contamination begins anew. The microbial clock starts ticking as soon as any disinfectant, including chlorine dioxide gas, is released or cleared from the environment. A spore indicator kit to verify that the treatment concentration is sufficient to effectively kill spores. “Food safety people see the world differently.”

Disinfection is the last line of defense for food safety. Proactively seeking expert advice for an effective solution is the key to properly solving a problem. Food safety experts like Pureline can help.

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