Food production hygiene standards

Alexandra Lachner reports on the stringent hygiene standards at a white sausage factory in Bavaria.

White sausage has been part of the WOLF group’s range of products since 1925 and today it produces 13 million of them a year. These boiled sausages made from fresh pork, bacon, pigskin, onions, parsley and seasonings are enjoyed both in Germany and all over the world.

“To ensure our customers everywhere are satisfied and can consume our products with confidence, cleaning and disinfection procedures are crucial in supporting our hygiene barrier concept,” explains Bernhard Oeller, WOLF’s pso director. This means those responsible for hygiene check the daily deep cleaning process meticulously.

During production intermediate cleaning is carried out which involves manual cleaning of the cutters, tables and filling area with single-use cloths and disinfecting them with alcohol. Two eight-hour production shifts are then followed by a single shift reserved solely for cleaning.

Cleaning and disinfection are always completed in separate stages, since only a process of deep cleaning can guarantee the subsequent disinfection stage will achieve the necessary level of pathogen reduction or removal of allergens and animal matter. Before this work begins, the plant is stripped down and the machines are partially dismantled. Larger product residues are removed.

During the pre-rinse stage, water soluble and lightly attached impurities can be rinsed off from top to bottom in the direction of the outlets. Larger debris is then removed from the inlets and gulley inserts.

“We can then apply cleaning foam to the previously cleaned surfaces with the help of medium pressure hygiene systems,” says Oeller. At 25 bar pressure aerosol formation is reduced which protects against recontamination. “This procedure is also less damaging to the machinery, safer to use and needs less water than high pressure cleaning.” At the end of this treatment stage, the active cleaning agents have penetrated into the dirt so it can be rinsed away with drinking water.

A particular challenge is also  presented by the fact the plant has to be cleaned at relatively low temperatures. “We are dealing with both fat and protein”, explains Oeller. “If we cleaned at too high a temperature the protein would solidify and stick. But if the water is too cold, the fat would not dissolve”. This is why it is important to use a cleaning foam which can completely dissolve both fat and protein residues – in accordance with the type and amount of residue, the condition and size of the work surfaces and the treatment time available.

When the cleaning process has been completed, the plant is lathered with disinfectant. “The effectiveness of this product is rigorously tested”, says Oeller. It must reduce the bacterial flora in compliance with the established criteria. And it must not cause any health hazards or impair the quality of our foodstuffs.” The information supplied by the manufacturer regarding concentration, treatment time and temperature is key to the proper use of the product. Since WOLF complies with these standards, the company is certified to IFS and QS. And its share of the boiled sausage market rose by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2017.

This content was originally published here.

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