This article from Issue 13 of the Analytix Reporter shares an overview on the different methods and instrumentation available for disinfection control and hygiene monitoring in food and beverage (F&B) manufacturing. It also provides a closer look at some of the common disinfectants to be monitored.
An Overview of Disinfection Control
Disinfection is the process of cleaning using compounds that either eliminate bacteria and other disease-causing organisms or reduce them to levels not harmful to health. Disinfection control is a key process in food manufacturing and comprises several steps: ensuring the correct concentrations of disinfecting reagents are used, checking that disinfection has been completed sufficiently, and testing that it has been accomplished without leaving any contaminating residues. Disinfection control makes use of the chemical reactions caused by disinfectants to determine their absence or presence, or more precisely their concentration.
It is important to note that, in contrast, hygiene monitoring is a related and sometimes overlapping process that is generally preventative. Hygiene monitoring also involves ensuring that cleaning procedures have been implemented adequately and that no contaminating residues remain, but additionally can involve allergen monitoring and prevention of microbial growth.
Both of these processes are critical in the food and beverage industry where preventing food-borne illnesses is a key objective in maintaining safe manufacturing. Here, we focus on disinfection control and how to navigate the numerous options in its methods and instrumentation.
Considerations in Choosing Disinfectant
One of the primary concerns in selecting a disinfectant is to maintain the quality of the final manufactured product. As such, a disinfectant in the food and beverage industry must not be toxic or leave toxic residues. It should also be fast-acting in order to minimize disruption to the manufacturing process. Additionally, it should not leave any odor or taste residue that could affect the end product. In order to facilitate the removal of any residues, it is for instance helpful if a disinfectant has good solubility so that it may be rinsed away after disinfection is complete.
The compatibility of the disinfectant with the equipment and methods used in manufacturing is also important. For example, it should work well on the type/material of the surface being disinfected without damaging the equipment. It should also be compatible in terms of other physical factors such as temperature and pH, remaining effective under the conditions it is used in.
Finally, the method of disinfection control required for a given disinfectant can also affect which disinfectant is chosen.
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