This informal CPD article, Managing Biofilms in Food and Beverage Production is brought to you Diversey, specialists in providing smart, technology-driven, sustainable solutions for cleaning and hygiene. Such sustainable solutions help to increase productivity, food safety and infection prevention, ultimately enhancing Diversey customers’ end user experience.
The presence of Biofilms in food and beverage processing facilities poses significant risks to food safety. As well as causing spoilage, they also harbour and protect some of the main food pathogen bacterias (Listeria, Salmonella and E. Coli). To ensure products are being made in the safest possible environment, a preventative approach to Biofilms should be taken. However, if Biofilms are detected on an equipment’s surface or in a pipe, it is important to decontaminate the area.
Cleaning and Disinfection
Effective, verified, and validated cleaning is critical. All phases of the cleaning process need to be followed at the recommended frequency to prevent the formation of Biofilms. It is important to verify that hidden and enclosed food contact surfaces have been cleaned correctly and also be acutely aware that using high-pressure cleaning equipment carries the risk of distributing Biofilms to other areas of the factory.
Good Hygienic Design and Maintenance
The EHEDG (European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group) recommends that all production equipment is designed and installed in such a way that it is cleanable. Download their Hygienic Design guide here (item number 8). It is also important to monitor the surrounding production environment and facilities to make sure they are in good order and well maintained. Welding, rust, cracked seals, and hard to reach places are all hotspots for Biofilms and should be regularly inspected.
The appropriate detection method will be determined by the type of product that is being produced and the area within the factory that is suspected to contain Biofilm. These include:
- Sampling and analysis
- Sensors and detectors
Removal Methods of Biofilms
When the presence of Biofilms is confirmed, there are two methods to use in an attempt to remove it and these are:
- Physical treatment
- Chemical treatment
It is important to note that, if the right approach is not taken, it is extremely difficult to remove Biofilm, as research cited in Corcoran et al1 (Nesse et al. and Russo et al.) indicates: