15 Sanitation recommendations are included in this document: proper drainage, minimal use of high-pressure water during operations and
other means of reducing moisture in processing areas.
At a recent industry meeting, Kornacki outlined several methods as an alternative
to or in conjunction with traditional wet sanitation. All these methods contribute
to water conservation efforts, reduce moisture in the plant and can aid in reduction
of biofilm development. There are several types of blast cleaning, in which some
type of medium (soda, sand, plastic beads or dry ice) is accelerated in a pressurized
airstream to strike a surface to be cleaned and lift
during traditional cleanup operations,
which in many industries are the lead-
ing contributors to water usage. Anyone
who has witnessed a third-shift wet
sanitation cycle has experienced the
sauna created when hundreds of gallons
of hot water are poured onto equip-
ment and surfaces to return operational
areas to clean and sanitary conditions.
Extremely hot, high-pressure water has
always been the main tool to remove
lipids and melt fat. Unfortunately, what
often happens is that water is overused
during these cleaning operations. It
doesn’t take a trained sanitor to tell you
that moving food particles around with
a high-pressure hose is much easier than
sweeping or removing by hand. It takes
constant training and careful management to ensure that overusing water
doesn’t become standard practice.
Using less water is undeniably good
for the environment and translates to
a real cost savings over time—a real
“win-win” situation. There’s actually a
third win in this scenario. Sanitation
expert Dr. Jeffrey Kornacki has long
maintained that utilizing less water
during sanitation can actually improve
the microflora of an establishment by
eliminating wet niches that are ideal for
biofilm development. Biofilms develop
when bacteria congregate, secreting
polysaccharides, proteins and glycoproteins to improve adherence to surfaces.
Moisture is a key component. As this
film develops, it also acts as a protective barrier to external stresses (heat and
sanitizers) and gives the bacteria access
to nutrients and an opportunity for genetic exchange.
14 A fully formed biofilm
is extremely hard to remove, and many
sanitation strategies stress the importance of prevention.
Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a
quality assurance manager quicker than
those two letters “LM.” Listeria monocytogenes biofilms are commonly found in
manufacturing environments that host
wet conditions. Increased concerns over
domestic Listeria outbreaks over the last
decade have triggered the U.S. Food and
Drug Administration to release guidance on reducing this pathogen in food
(continued on page 64)
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