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Anyone have experience using salt as a purge between allergens?


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ads78

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 02:32 PM

Hi All

 

I was wondering if anyone has any experience of using salt as a purge in between allergens. Allergens are powder/ whole form so a dry method is required. I have a business whom are using this method but could do with some reference material to justify it!

 

Thanks!



GMO

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 03:24 PM

Never heard of it to be honest.  Are they validating it?

 

I suppose if a manufacturer were making a seasoning they may use this method.  What I'd want to see from them though is this:

 

A positive control test of the product containing allergens

Positive control swabs in key places when "dirty" (which should show the presence of allergen)

Testing of the last salt through on the purge, probably in triplicate to show absence of the allergen

"Clean" swabs in the same location to show absence of the allergen

 

Because it's atypical as well, they'd need to make sure they validated the purge time, flow etc and they measure this when purging.  I'd also recommend some of those quick verification tests (like pregnancy tests) you can use to make sure the purge is effective each time.  They're not as good as ELISA etc but would show up a gross issue.

If they have pipework they're purging as well, in the validation they need to be breaking into it to check for visual signs of any "hang up" points.  Gut feel is that this is pretty likely in dry delivery systems.

 

I have to admit it would make me nervous too.  I suppose because it might not take much for the flow of salt to be disrupted by a blockage etc.

 

Depending on what it is though there are other dry methods, e.g. alcohol based cleaning agents or wipes (quick evaporation).  How many allergens do they process?  Sadly this would probably be a case for "may contain" labelling (which I hate because my son has food allergies and if he avoided everything with "may contain nuts" he'd not eat.)



JPO

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Posted 27 June 2016 - 09:04 PM

I've tried it with salt and with sugar in the past in a reasonably simple dry blending operation (ribbon blender, centerless auger to transfer, hopper, centerless auger to filler) and we couldn't get a "clean" test result using Hygenia Allersnap quick testing swabs.

 

it's a reasonably good way to clear out gross contamination of color or flavors (or caked on fats) to make washout easier, but even 2 full blender loads of material pushed through the system, I was still getting very solid positives.

 

Then, there's the issue of what do you do with the stuff you used to "scrub" the inside of the system?  I used to save it and use it I the same product later. We made a few products that used a LOT of red 40, and the scrub factor really helped reduce cleanup mess. 



GMO

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 07:31 AM

I hadn't realised until talking about this with someone yesterday that the salt would be reused.

 

It's making me go back and look at spice blends etc to reassess risk.



JPO

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Posted 29 June 2016 - 01:30 PM

I hadn't realised until talking about this with someone yesterday that the salt would be reused.

 

It's making me go back and look at spice blends etc to reassess risk.

Salt and sugar are reasonably cheap, but thousands and thousands of pounds of salt and sugar start to add up pretty quick.

 

We always used our salt as an exact to exact "rework" (even though it's not really rework) when we blended the next series of products.  If the sugar was used to scrub out after red fruit punch 12345, we used that sugar as the ingredient the next time we made red fruit punch 12345. 

 

Worked fine as a way to get the plated on color off the augers, tube walls, and sides of the blenders, but didn't do that great a job in cleaning the system as a means to remove allergens per my testing.



Mmmm_food

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Posted 30 June 2016 - 07:27 AM

In a previous workplace we would used salt or sugar to flush the system between dry mixes. It should be fine but definitely needs to be validated. We sent the products produced immediately after the allergen-containing product and salt flush for lab testing to validate and also justified the salt/sugar flush using the VITAL tool (allergenbureau.net/vital/).






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