Hygiene begins with floor-care, especially in the food segment, as everything that spills, falls down on the floor or the nearest surface… everything that is not required is thrown down or lands on the floor… While this is true of any kitchen or food serving/servicing area, it can equally be messy with food processing shopfloors unless good practices are adhered to.
Various technologies and solutions are at the disposal of the food processing and food handling segments where floor maintenance is concerned. In a discussion with a few of the top food processing units, many challenges other than floor care came to the fore.
Challenges in Dairy
Floor cleaning is taken care by vacuums and scrubbers at dairy units. However, cleaning the interior surface of pipelines, vessels, filters, process equipment and associated things without dismantling remains a huge challenge. Rajendra Gupta, Production Manager- The Surat District Co-operative Milk Union Ltd comments, “We are having 150KL milk silos as high as a twostorey buildings. While the side walls restrict air inflow potential, chimney/ stack affect the natural ventilation, we face challenges while cleaning the inner surfaces of these silos and presently, we are able to clean only 50% of the entire surface.” The efficiency of cleaning these surfaces are mostly influenced by factors like character of contamination, micro topography of surfaces, straightness of passage ways, speed of application and related speed of penetration.
“We are using stochastic model with spray balls at the roof and have deployed suitable chemicals with auto-dosing systems.”
Challenges in Tea Processing
While the floors at a tea processing unit is taken care by vacuums and scrubbers, the issues are varied but arising from a single factor – dust. Tea processors, who have been visiting Clean India Shows too, are looking for upgraded solutions to curb dust in the processing and packaging areas.
Floating dust to settled dust in the packaging area not only poses a health hazard but also gets challenging in retaining the quality of packaging. Dust extraction and dust collection are suggested solution but it has to probably be customised from case to case. Umesh Khachar, GM Factory Operations-Gujarat Tea Processors & Packers Ltd (Wagh Bakri Group), says, “We are having scrubber machines, vacuum machines and other necessary equipment & tools to maintain the entire plant. At the shopfloor hardly any chemicals are used, however our major concern remains dust collection and filtration during packaging process.”
Challenges in flour mills
Flour mills, the most perishable and high risk ingredient in food processing, can get contaminated leading to infestation and thereby rejection of the consignment. Utmost care is taken right from the receiving of the raw material to the packaging. Dust levels are equally high in such units and requires constant floor cleaning. A famous flour mill from the South shared the biggest challenge of reaching right to the bottom of the mill and cleaning to standards.
“We faced a big problem of probably some residue of the previous batch that may have settled at the bottom of the mill, leading to food pest which were not noticed until infestation levels. We required machines with facilities to reach right to the bottom for cleaning, said a mill manager.”
In the forthcoming issue of Clean India Journal, we will address the various solutions for cleaning in food industry including various floorcare solutions.