Silver and H2O2 – Agents for Food Hygiene
Microbial load in atmosphere, water, surfaces, equipment, pipelines and a high degree of contaminants in raw material – play a vital role in various processes of manufacture in the food industries. Various methods are employed for reducing the number of micro-organisms from food and food products by using both physical and chemical principles. However, success of such preservation methods is greatly influenced by effective, efficient and ecological plant sanitation procedures or methods practised by industries.
Cleaning, disinfection and hygienic operations are the most important and vital aspects for food industries. All these three operations are interlinked and inevitable, any change in these operations leads to poor quality with low shelf-life, and increases possibility of spread of epidemic diseases like gastroenteritis, typhoid, dysentery and food poisoning.
Food Hygiene: Cleaning
Food hygiene depends on water in several important ways. It is the solvent for application of cleaning agents and disinfectants, and the carrier for the removal of soils. Water may contain a variety of impurities from the environment including dissolved gases, inorganic salts, soluble organic substances and micro-organisms. Contaminated water is a common vehicle for the transmission of pathogenic micro-organisms to man – either directly or through food. Micro-flora of water includes food spoiling organisms, such as psychrophilic bacteria, which affects refrigerated foods. Treatment of water supplies to kill these harmful micro-organisms is a prerequisite for food hygiene.
Cleaning is a process that suspends or dissolves dirt, usually in water, from the object being cleaned. Its effectiveness can be enhanced by:
- 1. application of energy in some form such as
- 2. scrubbing, spraying or turbulent flow
- 3. use of chemical additives, known collectively
- 4. as cleaners or cleaning agents
Food Hygiene: Disinfectants
Disinfectants are chemicals that reduce micro-organisms including pathogens to an insignificant level. Disinfecting chemicals are very important to reduce microbial counts of water, atmosphere and equipments including pipelines and surfaces.
A wide range of chemicals, with moderate to strong germicidal action on micro-organisms, finds application in the food processing industry. These chemicals are:
- halogen and their deviates
- quaternary ammonium compounds
- phenol and its derivatives
- aldehydes and related compounds
- oxidising agents
- salts, acids and alkalies and many more