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Pre-op equipment cleanliness standards

Sanitation Pre-op cleaning pre op pre operation inspection

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#1 TonyM

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 09:35 PM

I am curious to hear what others standards/limits are for equipment cleanliness. We recently lost our 2 man cleaning crew and have brought in some new people that are still figuring everything out. We make a low risk food that is practically bulletproof due to pH and thermal processing. Every morning we do ATP swabs, and Im frequently getting positive results. Very low, but positive results. Actual lab results for TPC have pretty much always been <10, so it hasnt been too much of a concern for me. 

 

We make a cornmeal based product and it is everything but impossible to get every trace of it off the equipment. Due to the process, the product bakes on to the walls of our steam-jacket kettles so bad that only high levels of caustic soda or hours of scrubbing will get it off. During pre-ops Ive been okay with a few grains of corn here and there as long as its reasonable, but I am fairly strict when it comes to the food contact surfaces. 

 

Ever since we had to replace the cleaning crew, Ive been finding residual food on contact surfaces where the product burns on the worst. Im talking burned on so bad that even trying to chisel it off does practically nothing. It took a good 20 minutes to get an area the size of a bowl to the size of quarter. We have lost a LOT of time getting production started in the AM while we try to get the equipment cleaned.

 

I need to write a standard to release the line to be sanitized. As Im trying to write something up, I figured see if anyone here has any sort of spec/standard. What is a reasonable spec for direct contact surfaces of a low-risk product line that is inspected then sanitized immediately prior to commencing production. Also, what are your ATP limits for SS surfaces? 

 

Im thinking something like no more than XX loose corn grains within kettles and no single objects burnt on to the equipment larger than 5mm in diameter. No more than 1 such object between ~3-5mm in each kettle. Max 2 objects up to ~3mm.

 

Thank you in advance for any feedback!

 



#2 RMAV

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Posted 02 October 2015 - 09:58 PM

Process needs to change - cleaning, production or both.  If the production side cannot change due to equipment or whatever (e.g., adding tank scrapers to the agitation), then you'll need to get creative on the cleaning side.  Off the top of my head, I would fill your tank with a cleaning solution recommended by your chemical supplier, heat and agitate it long enough to remove the soils or make it loose enough to use a long brush or doodlebug-type tool to remove it.

 

I think you're right on the food contact surfaces, they must get clean.



#3 Charles.C

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Posted 03 October 2015 - 03:29 AM

Hi Tony,

 

You asked about surface cleanliness standards. It’s a large, and considerably debated topic.

As you noted, there are probably 2 particularly popular approaches –  use of ATP and micro. data.

 

As starters for the above, I suggest you have a look at the 2 short threads below. There are many other discussions here comparing aspects like validation  and sensitivity/product limitations, both with respect to these 2 methods  and also other techniques, eg “Protein” measurements –

 

http://www.ifsqn.com...p-swab-results/

http://www.ifsqn.com...ces/#entry60958

 

In the daily context of yr OP, the obvious practical limitation is time. The associated constraint is Validation.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 TonyM

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 05:48 PM

Thank you for the replies. Im blown away by reading about some of the RLU readings mentioned in those other posts and a study you had attached to the first one. I generally get 0-5 RLU when I do my ATP swabs. I get concerned when I get anything over 5. Maybe the meters everyone else is using are way more sensitive than my Hygiena SystemSure. 

 

What I meant by a cleanliness standard was more of a visual standard I could write up to go along with our ATP standards. Like I said, its practically impossible to get rid of every grain of corn from the equipment. I need to come up with a written specification for how many grains can be present before the equipment needs to be recleaned. Maybe 5 grains throughout all contact surfaces of each kettle? Originally I was hoping to allow these larger pieces we find that even high concentrations of CIP cant remove. It took me scrubbing the hell out of a quarter size piece of burnt product for a good 10-15 minutes before it was entirely removed. I try to tell myself that its only 15 minutes but thats a 15 minute delay for 5 people, so its actually 1.25 hrs lost for the company. What Ive realized though is that the answer is to put that extra 15 minutes on the clean-up crew. I just need to come back in at 10pm or so to show them >.<

 

Anyways, for ATP Ive been sticking with the pre-set pass/caution/fail limits that the meter came with. Unfortunately I havent yet set an actual program in the meter for trending but we do record all locations and results on our pre-op records. My next step will be to go back through the last year or so of data and compile it on a spreadsheet to determine actual trends and set my ATP standards by that. 



#5 mgourley

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 05:59 PM

Every ATP luminometer has different RLU "settings". So I would not read much into the numbers. It all depends on the unit you have.

 

I define measurements for cleaning like this:

 

"Equipment cleaned by the dry cleaning method will be deemed acceptable if there is no presence of heavy flour, dough or other debris on the equipment after the cleaning process is complete. Organoleptic methods will be used to verify cleaning."

 

"Mixers, dough troughs and ingredient containers/scoops will be acceptably clean if there is no visible soil on food contact surfaces and pH test strips show a neutral pH. Organoleptic methods will be used to verify cleaning."

 

For those items I do ATP swabbing on, they have to meet organoleptic methods as well as the ATP limits.

 

Marshall



#6 RMAV

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:21 PM

It's important to note that different ATP systems (swabs and meter) operate differently with different ranges.  An RLU of a 1000 or less may be acceptable using the ATP system I have but if I change to your ATP system, an RLU of 1000 may be 200 times higher than acceptable.

 

Setting the pass/fail is not necessarily an easy task.  Hopefully your ATP sales rep may have access to the expertise that can help you. 



#7 Charles.C

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:21 PM

Hi Marshall,

 

Thks for post.

 

Do you find it possible to make any practical correlation between visual and ATP pass/fail level ? ie setting a routine cleaning procedure + "view" which will pass ATP ?

 

i guess this is the OP's ideal hope but i doubt that it is feasible unless for some highly analysed situation.

 

Not sure what you mean by OLQ ? (wud include visual of course). Colour ?

 

@Tony - As per Marshall's post, if you study some of the instrument attachments in one sub-linked post, you will see different brands  have very different levels. Reason is electronics system in unit.

And yes, i appreciate yr practical difficulty. This is maybe one reason why some people consider micro. the Gold standard to assess the relevance/value of ATP. ATP is temptingly quick but needs a baseline.

 

PS - posted before seeing previous post


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 RMAV

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Posted 06 October 2015 - 06:23 PM

I missed mgourley's response before I hit post...



#9 jayakrish

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 05:15 AM

Hi

 

I can suggest two things: 1. You can have two cookers - so that one can be cleaned thoroughly when the other is in process OR  2. you can switch over to a better HTST technology - may be through an extrusion process where you may be able to solve the problem.

 

Krishnan R

Indi



#10 mgourley

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:26 AM

Hi Marshall,

 

Thks for post.

 

Do you find it possible to make any practical correlation between visual and ATP pass/fail level ? ie setting a routine cleaning procedure + "view" which will pass ATP ?

 

i guess this is the OP's ideal hope but i doubt that it is feasible unless for some highly analysed situation.

 

Not sure what you mean by OLQ ? (wud include visual of course). Colour ?

 

@Tony - As per Marshall's post, if you study some of the instrument attachments in one sub-linked post, you will see different brands  have very different levels. Reason is electronics system in unit.

And yes, i appreciate yr practical difficulty. This is maybe one reason why some people consider micro. the Gold standard to assess the relevance/value of ATP. ATP is temptingly quick but needs a baseline.

 

PS - posted before seeing previous post

Charles,

 

No, not really. 

I can have a perfectly clean, shiny stainless steel mixer bowl, that still fails ATP swabbing.

Generally it's the case that there is some biofilm buildup in the area that I swabbed.

 

That needs to be removed and then ATP passes with flying colors.

 

I like the term "organoleptic". During training, I state that you could certainly lick the piece of equipment to determine it's cleanliness. This usually gets a chuckle from the attendees. 

 

Marshall



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