The processing of fresh-cut produce is a highly regulated industry which requires implementing a strict set of procedures to ensure food safety. Ineffective sanitization monitoring leads to incorrect dosing of chemicals. Overdosing is both expensive and inefficient for companies and can lead to the development disinfection by-products. Underdosing can allow bacteria to breed in the water and increases the risk of cross-contamination.
Any company not following strict procedures would be at risk of nonconformance, and in the worst case may be putting end-consumers at risk with contaminated produce. Take a look at our article Why It Is Important To Get Fresh Produce Washing Right for more information on why it is important to accurately monitor disinfectant levels.
Below we have outlined five potential mistakes to be avoided in fresh produce sanitization.
Chemical dosing systems will feed in a defined amount of sanitizer for your wash line. Measurement probes are often provided with the dosing system to measure the levels of sanitiser is being dosed. However, these measurement systems are prone to drift over time and may not be providing an accurate picture. External validation of the system should always to be performed to ensure that sufficient levels of sanitizer are in the wash water.
Operating at the wrong pH level can reduce the effectiveness of your sanitizer. Chlorine in particular is pH sensitive and is known for its potential to form toxic chlorine gas at a low pH. Measuring and monitoring pH will allow you to more effectively choose a sanitizer and employ safe disinfection practices.
Several tests require a waiting time for colour to develop before being tested, or alternatively can require test samples to be tested within a set time window so that the sample doesn’t change or develop. If the correct test times and procedures are not followed, then the results recorded may be incorrect. Dosing decisions based on incorrect measurements could be ineffective, leading to disinfection levels that are too high or too low.
It is still common practice in the industry to record all sanitizer checks on paper. This leaves companies with a risk of error and can leave gaps in their auditing process. Paper records can become lost or damaged and are prone to human error if the results have been incorrectly reported by the operator. To ensure compliance to an audit, and to ensure that your produce has been correctly dosed, all sanitizer measurements should be digitally recorded so they cannot be lost, edited, or damaged.
If an instrument is stored away whilst wet this may lead to water damaging the electronics of the instrument, or if the sample holder becomes scratched or stained the accuracy of results may be affected, particularly for a colorimetric test. By following the correct maintenance and cleaning procedures, you can be more confident in the quality of your method, and thus the accuracy of your results. Click here to take a look at our service and maintenance FAQs to help you get the most out of your Palintest instrument.
Kemio has specifically been designed to support effective sanitization procedures in food processing. Kemio technology offers significant advantages compared to alternative techniques for sanitizer control in food and beverage. Unlike traditional methods, Kemio has minimal user input which reduces potential operator errors and variation in results.
10th May 2021
Read our case study on ALZ Agro who use Kemio™ to monitor disinfection in fresh produce wash water.
27th April 2021
Read our guide about the validation of fresh produce wash water sanitisers.