Focus On: Interim Cleaning Sequence

Blog | 13 October 2017

Here’s an insightful guide to Interim cleaning objectives from our Technical team.  We work with lots of our customers in the food processing sector ensuring they have the best products and technical know how to carry out successful interim cleans and here’s some of the ’Know How’ behind this.

The objectives of an interim cleaning must be clearly defined.  These may include:

  1. The removal of a hazard such as a pathogen or allergen.
  2. The removal of food soils likely to create brand protection issues, such as meat species (e.g. pork in a beef product) or meat residues (meat in vegetarian product).
  3. The removal of food soils that may cause organoleptic issues in subsequent products i.e. highly flavored or coloured ingredients.

The objectives of the clean will determine the design of the interim clean (e.g. rinsing only, detergent clean, detergent and disinfectant clean), whether it requires validation and how it is monitored and verified to demonstrate its effectiveness.  If interim cleaning programmes are not undertaken correctly, there may be risks to the product or to operatives. The major reasons for poor interim cleans are often: time constraints and untrained operatives.

For many interim cleans the monitor of success is visual cleanliness of the line.  If visually clean the use of ATP or protein based rapid hygiene test are useful to ensure a high level of cleaning has been achieved.  This may also be indicative of the likely removal of brand protection residues of hazards. The removal of brand protection issues and hazards should also be periodically verified by the use of appropriate test kits