Safer sanitation in food and beverage manufacturing and processing

With funding from U.S. EPA, ISTC’s Technical Assistance Program (TAP) is working with the food and beverage manufacturing and processing sector to help them reduce their energy consumption, water use, hazardous materials use, and operating costs. Cleaning and sanitation is a critical process throughout the industry and is one that is ripe for improvement.

By law, all food and beverage manufacturers and processors must have reliable processes in place to keep their products safe for human consumption. They are usually outlined in Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures (SSOPs). Cleaning and sanitation is critical in food safety to protect the processing environment from being inhabited by harmful microorganisms.

Cleaning and sanitation removes the food that bacteria need to grow and destroys any bacteria that may be present. The right prescription depends on the composition of food soils and the surface characteristics. The typical order for cleaning/sanitizing activities is:

  1. Dry clean
  2. Rinse
  3. Clean
  4. Rinse
  5. Sanitize

Common cleaning and sanitizing compounds include acids, alkali, phosphates and chlorine. In-plant storage, handling, and application of cleaning and sanitation compounds can be hazardous to workers. These products can also generate large volumes of wastewater and treatment costs to ensure that all post-sanitizing chemical residues are washed away.

Ozone generator
Ozone generator

With these challenges in mind, ISTC is working with the food and beverage industry to help clients identify and adopt safer, more environmentally benign cleaning and sanitation solutions, including aqueous ozone and electrolyzed water (EW).

Ozone has been widely studied as an anti-microbial for food application in this sector. It is approved for use by the FDA, USDA, FSIS, EPA and OSHA.

Electrolyzed water generator
Electrolyzed water generator

EW exhibits strong bactericidal, fungicidal, and viricidal effects in specific food applications but has not been as widely tested as ozone. It is approved in organic production and handling by USDA and received a Food Contact Notice (No. 1811) by the FDA for application of supplier specific technology to meat, poultry, fish, seafood; fruits and vegetables.

ISTC has a mobile aqueous ozone generator available to demonstrate the effectiveness of this technology. If your company is interested in learning more or scheduling a demonstration, contact Troy Walker or Dan Marsch.