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Production Line Cleanliness, Disinfection Imply Strength

By Tony Sarraf - Ecolab
Vice President and Market Head Latam North


By Tony Sarraf | Vicepresident and General Manager LAN - Tue, 02/28/2023 - 09:00

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The food industry needs to pay special attention to hygiene, disinfection, and water-saving technologies in its production lines. These elements must be ensured to guarantee the safety of workers, products, and processes to strengthen the reputation of a brand from all possible angles and circumstances and to deliver to consumers safe food made to the highest quality standards.

It is crucial to ensure proper hygiene in all production areas, including manufacturing, transportation and food service. Firstly, think about machinery, equipment, and surface cleaning and disinfection. It should be a no-brainer. It can be achieved through technology that reduces water consumption once it is applied in a consistent fashion and as prescribed by those who are not only involved in its development but also committed to preventing foodborne germs and illnesses around the world.

Secondly, concentrate on ensuring disinfection of the food production line. For each of the activities involved in this stage, there are specific solutions needed because cleaning and disinfection are complementary processes that serve different purposes. Both require the completion of several tasks on a fixed timeframe and schedule. Failure to complete these may result in a loss of productivity and the first traces of harmful pathogens.

Poor hygiene on production lines that results in subpar products can have a tremendous effect on a brand's reputation, loss of vendors, suppliers, and ultimately customers. If hygiene is not properly maintained, dirt, germs, and bacteria can spread. It can lead to infections and, in the worst cases, disease. The latter is (or should be) a particular concern for all companies involved in food and other consumer products. Consumers do not want products made and procured in environments that are known to be dirty. They   avoid (at all costs) products made in a place with poor hygiene standards, period.

Another crucial factor that must be taken into account is that by not having maximum hygiene and disinfection best practices, the safety and well-being of associates can be put at risk. It can affect productivity and morale if hygiene and disinfection are seen as low priorities for management, which in turn can impact brand reputation and trigger a brain drain. Let's not forget that associates must be put first among a company’s priorities and be seen as the primary source of creativity and the first line of defense against competitors. 

Poor standards of hygiene will ultimately reflect on the financial positioning of a company or business, such as can be seen across the global economy. Think about out-of-pocket money spent on medicine, medical consultations, and all that money not being made (or earned) due to the absence of associates at work. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, up to US$110 billion is lost every year in productivity and medical expenses resulting from food in low and middle-income countries.  

Today, many companies consider cleanliness, hygiene, and disinfection technology on their production lines a key element and at the forefront of food safety, compliance with quality standards, protection of workers' health, and, ultimately, great food products. It is, therefore, crucial for companies to understand and grasp all solutions available in the market and to choose those that ensure the highest levels of cleanliness, hygiene, and disinfection, supported by certified experts, and that protect the environment.

In terms of sustainability, it is necessary that all these solutions enable less water consumption and savings. This can be achieved through the installation of water treatment systems, the optimization of wastewater management as well as recycling of water across several food manufacturing processes. This will ensure product quality, reduce costs and improve productivity as well as enable the continuity of businesses that factor in the protection of the environment, something customers, investors, and people of all kinds value greatly. 

For proper cleaning, the selection of cutting-edge technology solutions is recommended. These must be designed for a specific function within production lines and work teams. Having the right technology is crucial to eliminate pathogens like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other particles that can cause diseases and contaminate food.

In general terms, everything that is used in the plant to achieve safety and the safety of the consumer must meet the following characteristics: be effective, safe, and protect the environment. For general cleaning, a bactericidal detergent is recommended. This helps remove organic waste, such as grease, oil, and dirt, from work equipment. For disinfection, a specific disinfectant is recommended for machinery, according to the nature of what is produced, the type of facilities, and even the local weather and geographical location.

It is also recommended to take into account external agents; that is, the use of solutions for science-based pest control. They will help prevent the infestation of insects, such as mosquitoes or other types of pests, or eliminate insects already present in the facilities.

For many across the globe and those certainly leading a segment of the food business, it is essential that production lines, facilities, and machinery be kept clean to avoid damage to a brand's reputation, and to protect associates and the lifeblood of the company’s  continuity: clients and the environment. Poor hygiene can lead to quality and safety issues, which can negatively affect customer satisfaction and the environment. 

Photo by:   Tony Sarraf

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