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To achieve the required hygiene result it is vital that the surface to be disinfected is free of food soil or chemical residues as if these are present, it could prevent the disinfectant working as it should.
Disinfectants used in the food, beverage and food service sectors are designed to have low toxicity and taint profiles, working against the organisms of concern which are generally pathogens and food spoilage organisms.
It is crucial to follow the concentration and contact time recommended by the manufacturer, whilst ensuring an even coverage of the surface.
The following factors should be considered when choosing a disinfectant:
Disinfection is not applicable to all surfaces in a manufacturing environment and should only be used on those surfaces where the presence of significant numbers of microorganisms will have an adverse effect on the safety and quality of the product produced. If disinfection is deemed to be necessary, then the following areas should be considered:
In some cases, it may be necessary to rinse off disinfectant solutions. These are:
Hot water or steam can be used to achieve disinfection and is a good method of doing so. However, it is very difficult to achieve on large items of equipment in a manufacturing operation so in the vast majority of circumstances chemicals will be used for disinfection.
Previous thinking about thermal disinfection recommended using hot water at 82°C for 30 seconds. However, recent evidence has recommended that this is only achieved when using hot water at 90°C for a period of 60 seconds. This method of disinfection tends to be restricted to soak applications and CIP.
Steam disinfection of surfaces via a lance has had some success in certain environments but care should be taken as the steam can have an adverse effect on some plastics, paint and machinery and lubricants/grease. They also pose a safety hazard to untrained personnel and could cause condensation to form on other equipment or surfaces.
Spray disinfection is the most common method for applying disinfectant to surfaces. It is versatile, gives good coverage and is an economic means of applying disinfectant solution.
It can be carried out by using a variety of different applicators. The most common are: small trigger sprayers, pump-up sprayers, compressed air driven sprayers, via a high pressure washdown system using a high pressure injector or via a medium pressure system.
This is probably the most effective means of disinfection as the item to be disinfected is fully immersed in the disinfectant solution, giving good contact time to all surfaces. It is important that items are effectively rinsed as detergent residue or debris will inactivate the disinfectant.
This type of disinfection method is usually confined to small items.
The disinfectant solution can be made up by using a wall mounted plunger dosing unit or a proportioning unit such as a venturi or Dosatron.