Contributed by *Gabriel Miller, Pi-FS, LLC
When specifying or designing food processing equipment, the first criteria is functionality for its purpose. But it is critical to remember that functionality includes cleaning and sanitizing. It is commonly thought that cleaning and sanitizing is the last step in the process, but it is not – it’s the first step.
We clean and then sanitize the cleaned equipment before we start processing. So, when defining the Functional Requirements, it is critical to determine in advance how the equipment will be cleaned and sanitized. Will it be Cleaned-inPlace (CIP), Cleaned-Out-of-Place (COP), or manually cleaned?
The removal of soil from product contact surfaces in their process position by circulating, spraying, or flowing chemical solutions and water rinses onto and over the surfaces to be cleaned. (Note: Components of the equipment, which are not designed to be cleaned-in-place, are removed from the equipment to be cleaned-out-of-place (COP) or manually cleaned.)
Cleaning Removal of soil when the equipment is partially or totally disassembled. Soil removal is effected by circulating chemical solutions and water rinses in a wash tank, which may be fitted with a circulating pump(s).
Removal of soil when the equipment is partially or totally disassembled. Soil removal is effected by chemical solutions and water rinses with the assistance of one or a combination of brushes, nonmetallic scouring pads and scrapers, and high or low pressure hoses, with cleaning aids manipulated by hand.
Unless equipment is designed to be completely CIPable, it is important to be aware that often equipment intended for CIP has components that must be removed for COP or manual cleaning, such as the personnel access ports and associated gaskets on silos and tanks. Usually, the access ports are opened during CIP to allow the tanks to adequately vent and prevent them from collapsing.
These cleaning processes all require the same factors— Time, Mechanical Action, Chemicals, and Temperature. They are just applied in a different manner.
In CIP cleaning, the mechanical action is provided by direct impingement of spray streams, cascading action of CIP solutions flowing down the vessel sidewalls, or turbulent flow through pipelines at a minimum flow rate of 5 feet per second (1.5 mps).
CIP cleaning allows for higher temperatures and chemical concentrations than manual or COP cleaning due to the reduced personnel safety hazard, and it also reduces the labor required for COP or manual cleaning.
The CIP system itself, is merely a tank or series of tanks with a pump, valving, heating system, and sensors, used to recirculate cleaning and sanitizing solutions through the process equipment. Depending on the soil (product residues) conditions and product criteria, the systems can be single-use (recirculate solution and discharge to drain) or re-use (save the wash solutions for subsequent CIP cycles). Wash and rinse solutions can also be recovered to be used for pre-rinsing in the next cycle, but sanitizing solutions are never re-used.
CIP cleaning parameters should be documented by a chart or data recorder and the chemical concentrations verified by periodic chemical titration.
The critical criteria for CIP cleaning is that the process equipment must be designed for CIP. This includes the individual piece of process equipment as well as the process piping. The 3-A symbol authorization lists equipment that is designed for CIP, COP, or a combination of CIP and COP cleaning. A good example of this is a simple Plug Valve. Plug Valves are very sanitary and easy to clean, but they are not CIPable.
Additionally, the 3-A Sanitary Practice 605-05 defines the requirements for the “Installation and CIP of Processing Equipment and Hygienic Pipelines”. This document provides details of the various types of CIP systems, typical CIP cleaning regimens, and installation requirements for the piping systems.
Manual cleaning is typically performed with a bucket of warm cleaning detergent and a dedicated brush (color coded) to manually clean parts in processing that cannot be easily removed for COP cleaning, such as personnel access covers and gaskets. Sometimes foaming detergents are used with high pressure spray hoses. The operator provides the mechanical action with the brush or spray hose, which can be quite effective, but it is generally not as efficient as other methods of cleaning due to the manual labor required.
COP cleaning is used for parts that are not designed for CIP cleaning, and that can be disassembled and removed from the process equipment. The COP tank is like an equipment ‘Jacuzzi’, recirculating hot wash solutions through jets in the sides or ends of the vat over and through the components for a defined time to provide the turbulence (mechanical action) necessary for cleaning.
COP tanks can be provided with automatic or semiautomatic controls, to dispense the detergents and control the temperature. The temperature and chemical concentration can be verified and documented on a chart recorder, and the solution can also be titrated to verify that it is correct.
It is extremely important that the components to be cleaned are not ‘nested’, which would prevent solution from contacting all the surfaces. Also, just laying a long pipe or hose in the bottom of a COP vat may not provide sufficient flow through the components to clean the inside. Additional fixtures may be provided to flow solution through the inside of pipes and hoses, especially pipes with elbows. Racks or baskets are recommended to hold parts in proper locations so they are not just dumped into the bottom of the COP vat, where they may not be reliably cleaned.
After COP cleaning, the COP tank can be refilled with sanitizer to sanitize the components if necessary. After removal from the COP tank, a clean rack or cart should be provided so the cleaned / sanitized parts are not placed on the floor or dirty surfaces where they would be re-contaminated.
A newer alternative to the conventional COP tank is a Cabinet Washer. These are used to wash components in much the same way as an industrial dish washer. The components are mounted on a rack that rolls inside the Cabinet Washer, much like a dishwasher rack, to hold the parts in the proper position for spray coverage and to prevent nesting. The Cabinet Washers can automatically control the wash cycle, and can record the wash time, conductivity, and temperature, much like a CIP system. Cabinet Washers use approximately 1/10th (or less) of the water, energy, and chemicals as a conventional COP tank, with a programmable cleaning cycle, including sanitizing.
After the wash / sanitize cycle is complete, the rack with cleaned components can be rolled back to the process area to put them back in operation without re-contaminating them.
Regardless of the method of cleaning – CIP, COP, or manual washing, all equipment should be inspected after washing to ensure that it is visibly clean, and that all water has drained from vessels. Inspection can be done with a variety of tools, including a flashlight, inspection mirror or borescope, and ATP or micro swabs. Too often, operators rely on the equipment to clean properly, and fail to inspect it to ensure that it cleaned properly until after a contamination occurs.
CIP, COP, and manual cleaning can all be effective ways to clean and sanitize food processing equipment, and each method serves a purpose although some methods are more efficient than others, depending on the application. But it is essential that the intended method of cleaning and sanitizing are determined during the design phase of every project, so equipment doesn’t show up in a plant, and the Sanitation crew has to figure out, “How are we going to clean that?”
Gabe Miller has 30 years of experience in cleaning and sanitizing equipment and is the owner of Process Innovation – Food Safety, LLC, providing sanitary design guidance, training, sanitation audits, and 3-A CCE Third Party Verification (TPV) inspections.
In early March, the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) approved new regulations of use for the word mark and the design mark used for the 3-A SSI Replacement Parts and System Component Qualification Certificate (RPSCQC) Program. The RPSCQC is beneficial to certificate holders and customers because it affirms that such parts or system components are compatible with the design criteria found in the relevant 3-A Sanitary Standard(s).
The new approval follows several rounds of review by the EUIPO examiner and revisions by 3-A SSI since the applications were filed in July 2021. With approval of the regulations, 3-A SSI expects to receive a European Union certificate of registration soon.
3-A SSI received similar certification marks for the 3-A Symbol and 3A word mark from the EUIPO in June 2020.
In essence, a EU certification mark relates to the guarantee of specific characteristics of certain goods and services. It indicates that the goods and services bearing the mark comply with a given standard set out in the regulations of use and controlled under the responsibility of the certification mark owner, irrespective of the identity of the undertaking that actually produces or provides the goods and services at issue and actually uses the certification mark.
Participation in the RPSCQC Program is open to manufacturers of replacement parts or system components and participation has grown significantly in recent years. The RPSCQC is often used use in sales or marketing information.
3-A SSI is now seeking registration of the same RPSCQC mark in the United Kingdom Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO). The applications had been delayed, pending final action on the EU regulations.
3-A SSI announced the recipients of the 3-A SSI 2022 Dr. Ron Schmidt Student Travel Award, a program intended to help motivated, career-oriented students to participate in the annual education program of 3-A SSI and gain comprehensive knowledge about hygienic design for food processing equipment and systems. Recipients will participate in the 3-A SSI education program, Design to Clean: Creating a Hygiene-focused Culture and related events on May 17-19, 2022 at the Hilton Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport-Mall of America in Bloomington, MN.
Recipients of the 2022 awards include:
Basim Alohali University of NebraskaLincoln
Shiyu Cai Cornell University
Leslie Cancio University of Nebraska/Lincoln
Kimiko Casuga Cal Poly/San Luis Obispo
Gurpreet Chaggar Purdue University
Bhaswati Chowdhury South Dakota State University
Emily Everhart University of Connecticut
Tingting Gu University of Florida
Sheetal Jha South Dakota State University
Ratul Kalita South Dakota State University
Sudheer Kira Illinois Institute of Technology
Xin Luo Rutgers University
Yadwinder Rana Cornell University
LaTaunya Tillman University of Florida
Zirui Ray Xiong Cornell University
The 3-A SSI program attracted the largest group of applicants in its history this year and the records of achievement showed a group of high character and dedication. According to 3-A SSI Chair Chris Hylkema (New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets), “The 3-A SSI program gives these future food industry professionals a great opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge about hygienic equipment design in the real world and network with a truly diverse group of industry leaders.”
Recipients of the 2022 awards demonstrated interest and commitment to food safety and quality as a student enrolled full-time in a food technology, food science, dairy science or other closely related program (undergraduate or graduate level) at a college or university in the U.S. or Canada. Award recipients were selected on the basis of a personal essay and a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or department head.
The 3-A SSI awards program was renamed this year in honor of Dr. Ronald H. Schmidt, Professor Emeritus, of Gainesville, FL, who passed away on October 12, 2020. His teaching career with the University of Florida Food Science and Human Nutrition Department spanned almost 40 years. Above all, Ron was passionate about engaging 3-A SSI to inspire the next generation of food industry professionals to learn about all aspects of hygienic equipment design and food safety. Through his leadership, the 3-A SSI travel award began in 2010 and today honors his legacy for those setting a professional course in a food-related career.