In Episode 2, we discussed common allergen management controls food manufacturers can introduce to minimize risk and contamination. In this Episode, we’ll be honing in on the importance of allergen cleaning to remove allergen residues from shared equipment and utensils.
Here are some questions to consider when designing an allergen cleaning regime
Is the product soil easy or difficult to eradicate? Does processing alter the product in any way that it becomes more challenging to remove? How clean do you want your equipment to be after cleaning? Do you want it to remove all detectable allergenic residue or do you simply want your equipment to be visually clean? After having carried out a thorough risk assessment review throughout the entire manufacturing process, the next step is to choose the right methods to effectively carry out your allergen cleaning regime.
There are various valuable tools available when building an allergen cleaning regime:
1. Mechanical energy, which may include scrubbing, product or water turbulence and high-pressure water jets;
2. thermal energy, for example, warm water or hot CIP washes; and
3. chemical energy, the action of the cleaning chemical or detergent on food soils.
The extent to which each tool is used will depend on which option offers the most appropriate and practical cleaning method. For example, where it is not possible to use alkaline detergents, a lot of scrubbing may be needed. Likewise, in instances where wet cleaning may not be applied, because it can affect the quality, safety or stability of your product, dry cleaning methods must then be used. Once a cleaning regime has been designed it must be validated and verified and this brings us to Episode 4, where we’ll be taking a closer look at allergen cleaning validation and verification.
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