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Sanitation of process equipment is done in two ways. Clean-out-of-place systems are used for smaller scale operations where equipment is dissembled and manually cleaned. They’re generally comprised of basins or portable tanks providing rinse and wash solutions to clean the equipment. Larger scale operations utilize clean-in-place systems that circulate, rinse, wash, and sanitize solutions through assembled process equipment. Critical Control Points (CCP) typically include flow rate, temperature, contact time, and chemical solution strength.
In automated systems, governmental compliance was usually verified with electromechanical recorders documenting the CCP values. These recorders are now routinely replaced with secured electronic data storage systems. The systems must be compliant with FDA regulation 21 CFR Part 11, which defines criteria under which electronic records and electronic signatures are deemed trustworthy.
Biosecurity has become an increasing focus over the last several years. This includes traceability requirements for incoming ingredients and outgoing products to help better manage effective responses to natural or man-made food safety events.
New technologies include “green” approaches to sanitation such as Electrochemical Activation, which use significantly less water, chemicals, utilities, and time with no toxic byproducts. The plummeting cost of data storage compared to even a few years ago allows for “moment-to-moment” recording of all sensor and device states in the processing system. Associated analytics provide deep insight into the behavior of such systems yielding ever increasing efficiency and security of operations.
McCarthy is president and chief executive officer of TriCore, Inc., a systems integration firm headquartered in Racine, Wis. Reach him at email@example.com.