Based in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Peanut Corporation of America served peanut and peanut butter products to schools, healthcare facilities, and prisons across several states. Between 2007 and 2008, the company was found to have knowingly shipped products containing salmonella on over a dozen separate occasions. As a result of this product quality negligence, eight individuals lost their lives and over 600 people became ill across the U.S. and Canada. Following inspections from the FDA and CDC, the largest food recall in history was issued, leading to more than 3,200 products being recalled. Peanut Corp. later filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in February of 2009, and the financial damage to the peanut industry was estimated to exceed a total of $1 billion.
If this story is any indication, quality control is the name of the game in the food and beverage industry. From sanitation of equipment and products to overall appearance, the quality control requirements of our food are some of the most stringent of any industry.
Now, perhaps more than ever, sanitation is incredibly important to consumers across the world. How can we ensure that our facilities and products are remaining clean, and maintaining a top-notch quality? Here, we will explore a few of the common sources of contamination, as well as effective equipment and methods which can protect your products and your company.
The Four Primary Sources of Contamination Within the Food Production Environment
The four primary sources of contamination are:
- Biological (bacterial)
- And cross contamination
While all products are susceptible to contamination of one form or another, certain products have increased risks. For example, the seafood and dairy production environment is more prone to biological contamination. So how can we mitigate these risks to provide safe, healthy food to consumers?
How to Maintain Quality, Every Step of the Way
Building hygienic procedures and controls into your processes can help to minimize contamination risk from a wide range of sources. However, choosing the best methods of sanitation and quality control is not always as intuitive as it may seem. From preparation to packaging, there are several key components to consider when meeting the highest standards. Here, we will walk you through each step in the production process to get you thinking about which nozzles are best for each.
Prepping ingredients and equipment for processing is an important first step which requires proper cleaning and disinfecting tools. Cross-contamination of chemicals or ingredients between products, as well as microbial contamination, can be eliminated by using the proper hygiene equipment in the preparation stage. It is also helpful in reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and adhering to safety regulations. There are several different nozzles which are ideally suited for this process.
With their wide spray coverage, full cone nozzles are great for cleaning cut fruits and vegetables. These nozzles come with a variety of connection styles and can be easily changed out during maintenance.
For bottle and barrel cleaning, flat fan and deflector-type nozzles are preferred by industry professionals as the ideal solution because they provide excellent spray impact. Finally, tank cleaning rotating nozzles are recommended for optimal container cleaning.
Pneumatic atomizing nozzles are often used for sterilization, especially the internal disinfection of PET bottles. FDA- and EHEDG-approved nozzle systems also exist to ensure the highest standards. Manufacturers often choose Series 500 rotating cleaning nozzles or Series 594/595 hygienic whirly nozzles.
Choosing the correct nozzles can make the cleaning process both thorough and fast, minimizing throughput times while keeping product quality at the highest level. Check out our other article on how to keep your equipment free of bacteria for more information on this key process.
A common operation in the food processing industry is coating and disinfecting operations. Consistency and efficiency are equally critical components, and you will need a nozzle system which can cater to both. One possible option is the VarioSpray II nozzle valve system. Providing extraordinary flexibility, this system allows for precise coating for broad or small applications, making it a great solution for a broad range of uses.
Air nozzles are often used in the packaging stage for drying, label protection, sterilization, and even sorting with air.
Because Lechler’s air nozzles offer such a low level of noise and are compliant with regulation requirements, manufacturers often prefer these for a safer work environment.
Lechler: Providing Quality Nozzles for Quality Food & Beverage Products
As consumers demand more choices and strict sanitation procedures, the food and beverage industry will face enormous challenges to keep up. Lechler offers nozzles, custom engineered spray solutions, state of the art testing capabilities and fabrication programs to ensure you are meeting hygienic standards while remaining efficient and productive.
Contact our team today to get started on choosing the best nozzles for your specific application.