Nipping danger in the bud | Complete monitoring and documentation of the microbiological status of an evaporative cooler plant as well as the obligation to register the plant and report when legionella concentration exceeds the limit is prescribed by law in some European countries. The microbiological status is continually documented by online monitoring of biofilm formation. In this way, formation and a growth trend of biofilms in the plant can be recognised and measures taken to immediately combat them, should there be a risk that the limit values will be exceeded.

The use of robotic systems in the brewing and beverage industry is well established and has been for some time now. Above all, they are employed for efficiently filling production orders and palletizing. Cleaning filling lines, however, still occurs semi-automatically by means of static nozzle systems installed in the filling line or even completely by hand, but this could change in the near future.

Various methods for disinfection of equipment coming into contact with product are used in the beverage industry. In some instances, hydrogen peroxide is used but the success of sterilisation has to be validated using biological indicators such as Bacillus spores. These are very suitable as they have substantial resistance to chemical and physical environmental impacts. However, resistance may vary considerably. This contribution provides a critical evaluation of the reasons and describes potential approaches in order to standardise validation processes, using spores of Bacillus subtilis SA 22 as an example.

Shelf life of filled products nowadays requires compliance within the framework of an ambitious common goal of quality assurance. However, the only way to achieve this is to adhere to a comprehensive hygiene programme in unit operations. But this is just one side of the coin as, on the other side, hygiene is often not accorded due attention in some operations following the motto: “everything has gone well so far”.

Brewers are said to be world champions in cleaning. However, when taking a closer look at some breweries, it is readily obvious that this isn’t always the case. Cleaning and disinfection is a core process in beer brewing. Brewers will recognise the consequences of deficient cleaning at the latest when first complaints about hazy or spoiled beers come in. But what’s the secret of a good cleaning and disinfection routine?

Biofilms or organic materials remaining after cleaning can be detected using swabs and suitable nutrient media, as well as with the ATP measurement method [1, 2]. In order to visually check the efficiency of the installed internal cleaning system also “just-in-time”, a conventional retention or spray shadow test has been carried out for some years during commissioning, acceptance testing and revalidations, in addition to microbiological swab sampling. The composition of the media applied has been continuously developed further since their first use in 2002 (table 1) [3, 4, 5, 6]. In the context of a doctoral thesis, a new test medium [8] has now been developed, one that cannot be utilised by beverage-spoilage micro-organisms.

Using examples from commercial operations, technologies are described here which make it possible to achieve a significant cost reduction in industrial hygiene, while simultaneously assuring product quality.

With its new method of sterilizing preforms in advance, KHS now eliminates the need for classic upstream PET bottle sterilizing and rinsing. The significantly smaller area of the preform to be sterilized compared to that of the PET bottle surface reduces the required amount of sterilant considerably. This contributes not only to saving the cost of investment in a rinser but also saves rinse water.

Ozone, a highly reactive compound, is used both for cleaning as well as for disinfection in various areas of water treatment or food production. The following article deals with current processes used in ozone generation and their technical applicability.

Tank hygiene is critical to producing products of consistently high quality. Choosing the right tank cleaning technology contributes to higher quality, fewer disruptions, higher yield and greater profitability. Switching to dynamic rotary jet head technology can prove to be a worthwhile investment. Most breweries want to achieve the highest level of tank hygiene using the lowest possible amount of energy and cleaning fluids. To do so, it is important to understand the pros and cons of static spray ball technology and rotary jet head technology, which are described in this article.

The GEA Group enlarges its segment for mechanical equipment in the business unit Flow Components by acquisition of the British company Breconcherry Ltd., manufacturer of tank washing equipment and cleaning in place (CIP) systems, located in Ledbury, UK.

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