Focus On: removal of fat and food oils

Blog | 22 May 2017

When considering how to clean a food processing plant a number of questions have to be asked that will ensure the correct detergent is chosen.  One of the first things to do is to confirm the type of soiling.  At a molecular level soiling is simply a number of chemical types that have come together in the wrong place.  Normally these chemicals derive from the ingredients of foodstuffs being prepared.  When confirming the correct detergent to use, the water chemistry is equally important, using a soft water detergent in a hard water area, or using the detergent at too low a concentration will always cause problems.

Detergents used to remove soiling are complex mixtures of components that deliver or one or more properties and choosing the wrong one will result in a surface that is not cleaned, or worse a soil that has been converted into something more substantive.

We are going to examine various types of soiling with Dr. Jim Taylour, Holchem’s Head of Products, Research and Development in the forthcoming weeks.  This week it’s the turn of fats and food oils.

“If wet cleaning is taking place, oils can generally be removed from surfaces by simply emulsification and often a neutral detergent combining wetting and emulsifying properties will be sufficient.  If hand cleaning a neutral detergent is the logical choice”.

“With fats we have to deal with a solid and the use of warm water with a neutral detergent will often bring about sufficient softening.  If large areas are being foamed then normally an alkaline or weakly caustic detergent is best.  Occasionally in areas of poor drainage, or on equipment that is moisture sensitive impregnated wipes are or more suitable, typically the solvent will be an alcohol such as Ethanol or Isopropanol. “

Look out for our next blog in the ‘Focus On..' series where we will examine the area of complex carbohydrates.