Filling Line Hygiene and Aseptic Packaging requires specialist equipment, and aseptic technique in a

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  • Filling Line Hygiene and Aseptic Packaging

    Marilyn Seedhouse Holchem Laboratories

  • Statistical Probability • Hygiene is a risky business! • The best we can do in aseptic packaging is

    reduce the risks as much as possible by making sure we clean and disinfect everything that touches the product very thoroughly and effectively, and at a regular frequency, thus reducing the risk of microbial contamination to the minimum.

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  • Statistical Probability • If this is not carried out very effectively and

    frequently enough, you will be gambling with your product quality, hygiene and well being in the market place.

  • Microbiology • Fascinating subject, but unfortunately is often little

    understood • Once understood, and trained in this subject, it is

    infinitely interesting (it was for me!) • Dealing with ways to eliminate microbiological risk

    will help you to make a more successful business • Because any increase in understanding and actions

    you take as a result will add to your potential success

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  • Product Microbiological Stabilisation

    • Filtration and Pasteurisation • “Sterile” Filtration • Preservatives • Most “bottle conditioned” beers are first

    sterile filtered, and then pure yeast is added back.

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  • Containers • Bottles • Cans • PET • PETainers • Mini Casks • Casks • Kegs

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  • Filters • When cleaning filters, it is important to have some

    advice from the filter supplier about compatibility of the filter material with detergents and disinfectants.

    • It is a good idea to facilitate the opportunity to let them talk to each other in your interest, to ensure filter life and reliable hygiene standards.

    • Your chemical supplier will also need to take into account your product ranges types of equipment and water hardness in order to give you the best protocols.

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  • Filter Integrity • When cleaning and disinfecting cartridge

    filters, it is advisable to carry out integrity testing as per the manufacturers advice in order to ensure the filter is intact, and not damaged.

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  • Microorganisms • There are many microorganisms which can spoil our

    beautiful beers, the types of organisms and what effect they might have on the beer quality is really interesting from a scientific point of view. In a former life, as a brewing microbiologist, I saw the devastating impact of the growth of the various microbes, the hazes, lumps, slimes, gas pressures and unpleasant odours!

    • We want to avoid these infections of course, for the sake of quality, economics , and for the art!

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  • Hygiene Conscience and Consequence

    • We must be forever mindful, and never complacent about hygiene.

    • We know we must wash our hands for example, do we all do this as often as we know we should?

    • It only takes one yeast or bacterium to become millions in a very short time

    • Do it Properly!! (quote from my dear Mother!)

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  • Verification of Process • Whatever method is used to first

    microbiologically stabilise the beer, this must be verified.

    • Pasteurisation time/temperature • Filter integrity and hygiene • Preservative concentration

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  • Packaging Containers • The containers that are to be used to fill with the

    product must be free from microbiological infection, and foreign bodies.

    • Bottles, Cans Mini Casks or Petainers (not previously used) are rinsed with clean, chlorine dioxide treated water, or Peracetic Acid solution. These solutions should not be re-used, as they are both strongly oxidising, and hence the concentration will be depleted by any organic material. A one shot use is a more reliable.

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  • Packaging Containers • For Cask and Kegs cleaning and disinfection is

    usually via a washing programme via a machine designed with a CIP programme

    • This is a more established protocol, so we will concentrate more on the “small pack” containers in this instance

    • Please ask questions on this type of packaging if this is your particular interest

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  • Filler • The filling machinery is very complex, with lots

    of places for bugs to reside on the inside and outside of the machine

    • We must clean and disinfect the inside and the outside of this machinery, and the peripheral areas

    • Microorganisms will also be residing in the air and areas around the filling machinery

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  • Cleaning and Disinfection • To ensure the highest probability of the lowest

    number of microorganisms being left in or on the machinery, we need to clean and disinfect, effectively, and in that order.

    • We can’t disinfect efficiently unless the surfaces are free from product, soiling and scale.

    • A strict adherence to a cleaning regime we know will be effective should be carried out at regular intervals

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  • CIP of Filler • A typical regime will be ;- • Rinse away product with clean water • Circulate caustic (preferably with EDTA) to remove

    and prevent beer stone. Chilled beer will deposit beer stone on the internal surfaces over time, and thus provide shelter for microorganisms. 20 mins. circulation at 1% wt/vol NaOH (Sodium Hydroxide) warm or hot will be better, but cold is acceptable if the time is long enough.

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  • CIP of Filler • Time, Temperature, Energy and Concentration

    are the parameters that balanced correctly together will ensure the best CIP performance

    • This will be a function of the ratio of the parameters together

    • Less of one parameter can be compensated for by an increase of one or more of the other parameters

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  • CIP of Filler • All detergent must be rinsed away before applying

    the disinfectant rinse. Any remaining detergent may disable the disinfectant.

    • We can only disinfect a clean surface! • The disinfectant must have the correct concentration

    for the correct time. • With Peracetic Acid, or Chlorine Dioxide treated

    water, there is no need to rinse off after the disinfectant circulation, just rinse to drain.

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  • Steam • To raise the temperature of the filler and

    pipework will also kill microorganisms • Clean all areas of the machine and rinse

    thoroughly before steaming • Check with the manufacture about materials of

    construction vs high temperature, seal material etc.

    • Open valves to ensure the steam reaches all areas • Steam for 30mins minimum

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  • Practicalities and Probabilities • After CIP after a daily production, it might be more

    practical, prudent and on the right side of managing probability to carry out the disinfectant rinse next morning immediately prior to production.

    • Or, have a disinfectant stage immediately after CIP and another disinfectant rinse immediately prior to production.

    • Just drain, no need to rinse off Chlorine Dioxide treated water or Peracetic Acid

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  • Validation • Some cleaning processes are automated, but

    some may not be. • When the CIP programme records can be

    recorded this will be validation of the clean provided that it has been proven to be effective previously.

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  • On The Outside • Again, statistical probability dictates that, where

    there is beer, there will be more beer spoilage microorganisms, so the outside of the filling machinery is also an important consideration for hygiene

    • The outside surfaces of the filler are a very important consideration for aseptic packaging.

    • The areas to be cleaned are complex, so a foam clean is a good option, rinse then disinfect.

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  • Foam Units

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  • Foam Units • Some units work on compressed air, some are

    electrical, and the simple one is pumped up physically.

    • The units working on compressed air are pressure vessels, and should be checked and maintained accordingly

    • On some fillers, there may be an integral automatic foam unit with foam and disinfectant spray nozzles positioned around the filler

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