Thursday, March 28, 2019

Case Studies: Protein Powder Facilities

Chlorine dioxide gas (CD) is the most effective method of decontamination available. It has been used in the food industry for many years for the decontamination of facilities, tanks, rooms, laboratories, piping systems, duct work, spiral freezers, cargo trailers, tented pieces of equipment, and so much more. Below are a couple examples of projects ClorDiSys completed in protein powder facilities.

Protein Powder Refining and Packaging Facility
This 300,000 cubic feet facility consisted of a small packaging room, a mixing room, and a dryer room. The dryer room was 70 feet in height and consisted of various processing equipment with access platforms. Even after thorough cleaning and liquid decontamination, a persistent salmonella problem could not be eradicated. ClorDiSys was able to fumigate the facility utilizing gaseous chlorine dioxide and eliminate the organisms while providing sporicidal kill of Biological Indicators (BI) placed throughout the facility.

Protein Powder Grinding, Drying, and Packaging Facility
This seven room, 200,000 cubic feet facility consisted of packaging rooms, grinding room, mixing room, and a dryer room. The rooms consisted of various processing equipment. There was also an adjacent control room and office area that were also decontaminated to ensure a thorough treatment. ClorDiSys was able to fumigate the facility utilizing gaseous chlorine dioxide and eliminate the organisms while providing sporicidal kill of Biological Indicators (BI) placed throughout the facility.

The decontamination cycle employed by ClorDiSys involves many checks and safety factors to ensure that a thorough level of kill took place. Biological Indicators, also known as BIs or spore strips, are used as a test of the process efficacy.  The BIs used by ClorDiSys consist of a paper substrate impregnated with more than a million bacterial spores wrapped within Tyvek, because this particular organism is known to be of high resistance.  BIs are placed within the area being decontaminated, usually in hard-to-reach areas or hot spots, to confirm the decontamination’s success. 

You can read more case studies from a variety of industries in our Decontamination Services brochure.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Lyophilizer Sterilization

Lyophilizer and freeze dryer are synonymous names for the same equipment. A lyophilizer (lyo) executes a water removal process typically used to preserve perishable materials, to extend shelf life or make the material more convenient for transport. It is usually decontaminated on a periodic basis and after each production batch. The standard process is to decontaminate by using steam to raise the temperature and hold it there until 6-log kill is attained. After the proper sterilization time is reached, the lyophilizer is then left to cool before product is brought in for another cycle. Because of the large thermal mass, this can take many hours. Lyophilizers also need to pull deep vacuums to perform the drying function. Heating and cooling with steam causes thermal expansion and contraction which compromises the tight tolerances required to keep the lyo sealed enough to reach deep vacuum levels. To mitigate these concerns and provide a faster sterilization cycle, chlorine dioxide gas can be used to decontaminate the components.

  • Quicker cycles with Chlorine Dioxide Gas than Steam or Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide
    • 1.5 to 3 hours depending on desired level of kill and sensitivity of components versus 24 hours for steam or 8 to 12 hours for VPHP.

  • Less stress on the lyophilizer with Chlorine Dioxide Gas than Steam 
    • No thermal stresses with CD gas as there are with steam, because there are no heating and cooling requirements.
  • No cycle development required for Chlorine Dioxide Gas
    • CD: 1 mg/liter for 2 hours or 5 mg/liter for 30 minutes of exposure. 
    • VPHP: Cycle parameters must be developed for every specific application. If ambient temperatures change, the cycle parameters most likely need to be changed.

To learn more, read our Application Note about this specific use.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Confused Flour Beetle Fumigation

The confused flour beetle is perhaps the most frequently intercepted pest of stored products. Adults and larvae feed on all cereal products, groundnuts, cacao, spices, dried figs and dates, palm kernels, various nuts, oil seeds, and cotton seed. Adults live for one to two years, are capable of flight in warmer conditions, and have been known to produce quinones, which at high population densities tend to trigger dispersion. Because they are such a common concern in flour mills and food processing plants with limited control options, experiments were conducted exposing confused flour beetles to gaseous chlorine dioxide.

The confused flour beetles were exposed to chlorine dioxide at different concentrations and at different lengths to see the effect of the gas on the survivability of the beetles. They were monitored for nine to ten days after exposure. While chlorine dioxide gas is not approved for pest fumigation, preliminary studies indicate that a dosage of 3000 ppm-hours is effective at eliminating all confused flour beetles upon completion.

Learn more about the efficacy and food industry applications at an upcoming workshop or visit us at booth #433 at the Food Safety Summit in May.