Dawsonville, GA (Vocus) July 3, 2010
In the arena of food processing and packaging, proper plant sanitation and cleanliness is paramount. 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 an effort to support sustainability targets.
Recent outbreaks of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes have drawn attention to the severity of lesteriosis in humans, and the risk of l. monocytogenes in all foods, states a recent publication by the University of California at Davis (publication #8015). Indeed, the FDA has recently reported increased outbreaks of foodborne illnesses. The risk is highest in refrigerated and ready-to-eat foods because L. monocytogenes is one of the few foodborne pathogens capable of multiplying at refrigerated temperatures.
In the same publication by UCD, the most reliable method cited of sanitizing equipment is with heat. Heat may be applied using hot water or steam. Heated water delivered to the cleaning site via hose or pressure washer is dangerous because the water amounts and pressure produce an aerosol effect. Also, standing water invites the growth of l. monocytogenes as well as other harmful bacteria, not to mention safety concerns.
The second challenge, the reduction of water usage, is not only because of the standing water issue. One might think that reduction of water usage is directly related to the green cleaning movement because of the desire to limit the use of natural resources. But this is only one small part of the story. 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 tenets of this initiative is wastewater management and the bod5 measure.
The use of industrial dry steam vapor cleaners, so called because the moisture content of the steam is a very low 5%, can benefit the operator in the food processing or packaging arena on both fronts mentioned above. Because of the temperature at the point of contact, 212 degrees, these steam cleaners kill 99% of pathogenic bacteria, while introducing less moisture than a bucket of water and a mop. Also, because of the ability to deliver the steam to hard to reach areas like rollers, wrappers and blenders, steam vapor cleaners can clean any piece of equipment. Included in this are sensitive processing control panels that are sensitive to too much moisture.
With the right attachments, even conveyor belts can be cleaned continuously without shutting down the line.
And, because of the low water usage, quarts per hour rather than gallons, the facility saves on valuable water usage. Not limited to this is savings on chemicals and their associated shipping costs. Also, limited water usage translates to lower b.o.d. levels, better wastewater management, and enhanced sustainability standards compliance.
Amerivap Systems has been a pioneer in the dry steam vapor cleaning industry for 20 years. Its line of industrial steam cleaners,Xtreme Steam, and along with available attachments, notably the Houdini conveyor belt cleaner, solves cleaning solutions in any industry that looks to achieve maximum cleaning results while at the same time addressing concerns about Eco-friendly cleaning, and waste water management.
The latest salmonella outbreak, reported by the Subway sandwich chain, proves yet again that the food packaging and processing industries must always be diligent concerning pathogenic bacteria. Amerivap Systems is committed to delivering Eco-friendly, fully sustainable cleaning solutions to industries as diverse as hotels to food packaging to wineries and breweries. Please visit us at http://www.amerivap.com/cat-19-1-1/Industrial.htm., or in person at Process Expo 2010. Please visit our booth
N-17068 (Process Side) at the McCormick Center, Chicago, July 18-20.