Tag Archives: food processing

“Eek-osystems”: Biofilm Considerations for the Food Industry

Have you ever missed one or two of your normal tooth-brushing sessions, and found your tongue traversing over a disconcertingly slimy layer coating your chompers?   Well, welcome to the disturbing and quite fascinating world of biofilms.  These hearty amalgams of microbiological activity provide both protection for microorganisms, as well as headaches for not only those avoiding plaque build-up, but most importantly for this blog, the food industry (allowing harborage and protection for bacteria and fungi).

Biofilms can form on a variety of surfaces in food processing environments, including stainless steel.  A supercell of harborage, “Biofilms are complex microbial ecosystems formed by one or more species immersed in an extracellular matrix of different compositions depending on the type of food manufacturing environment and the colonizing species” (Geaile, et al).   The “matrix” formed creates a powerful source of protection and fuel for the continued life and shear tenacity of these “eek-osystems”  to affect, disrupt, and harm products.     

Though biofilms are capable of creating a lot of hassle when it comes to cleaning, spoilage concerns, etc., Gaile, et al, in  “Biofilms in the Food Industry: Health Aspects and Control Methods” note:  “Of particular importance to the food industry is that some biofilm-forming species in food factory environments are human pathogens.”  With biofilms aiding and abetting pathogens, the cost of not waging an effective sanitation onslaught, may create food safety issues of serious proportions.   This is even further complicated by the fact that, “Mixed biofilms show higher resistance to disinfectants such as quaternary ammonium compounds and other biocides” (Gealie, et al.).   This means traditional cleaning protocols may not be enough to counter the threat biofilms pose to public health.

Here at Nelson-Jameson, we continue to work with our supplier-partners to take on the threat of biofilms in the food industry.   Our hope is that through a multi-pronged approach, we can help address this serious concern for our customers.  Here are just a few of the ways we are taking on the challenges of biofilms currently:

  1. Providing effective and efficient cleaning solutions, like hygienic brushes and squeegees from Remco and Carlisle, to cleaning chemical options from Hydrite, Kersia, and Best Sanitizers.  
  2.  Formulating and offering the best enzymatic cleaning solutions with Realzyme.
  3. Offering the best in testing solutions, including 3M Petrifilm and ATP testing equipment, as well as offering sampling collection/sample integrity products from Whirl-Pak and QualiTru.   

Though continuing to be a tough challenge for the food industry, biofilms will squarely be in the crosshairs of our team and our supplier partners.  Together, across the industry, we can seek out effective solutions, and build tailored programs to take on the challenge and the tenacity of biofilms in the production environment.   For an excellent resource on biofilms please be sure to consult the Gealie et al. article referenced above, here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5949339/.

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Foam Alone: Mixed in New Quark

While whipping up a quick dinner recently, I decided to use my handy-dandy microwave to get the rice cooking portion of the meal done. Just below, the thrilling smells of cooking vegetables and fish wafted up as I did my best not to burn what was in the pan in front of me on the stove.  Feeling good about my culinary self momentarily, I casually glanced up at the microwave.  Torrents of foam cascaded out of the vessel I had put the rice in…in the end, I had cooked rice and a significant starchy mess to clean up. When on top of a freshly poured beer, a healthy level of foam can bring me great joy; in this instance, it brought me back to Earth in terms of thinking about my talents in the kitchen.  

Now, take that unfortunate incident and think about a food processing facility producing your favorite products. Foam happens in many food industry applications and processes…consider the mess, the waste, and the headache that foam could cause at an industrial level. To decrease waste, increase efficiency and yield, and keep processors focused on the food and not cleaning up huge messes, the food industry (among others) utilizes antifoams and defoamers to keep this pesky presence in check.  

The two products differ, but have similar goals in the food processing environment. For instance, Nelson-Jameson offers Magrabar® food grade antifoams from Munzing that are formulated/added directly to the food product/mixture. Antifoams should be added as a preventative measure, “prior to foam formation at a location and time as close to the foaming problem as possible.” Defoamers, instead, are ideal to take care of existing foam “before tanks or containers overflow.” In the end, these products are here to help food processors: fill containers to capacity, improve pumping and mixing (can be used with CIP processes), prevent product losses, and help to improve safety and housekeeping. 

Whether you are processing potatoes, dairy products, juices, etc., and you are having issues with foam that are hampering getting safe, quality food out of the door, check in with our Product Specialists to learn more about antifoam and defoamer applications in the food industry. In the meantime, I’m going to try heading back into the kitchen to recover my sense of culinary self-worth, but perhaps with a rice cooker in tow.  

 

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Midwest Food Processors Association

The MWFPA annual convention/trade show provides attendees with unparalleled opportunities to network with a cross-section of key industry players while providing access to critical information about trends and developments in the food manufacturing industry.

For more information: http://www.mwfpa.org/events

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Process Expo 2019


PROCESS EXPO is the largest trade show in North America dedicated exclusively to the global food and beverage industry. Spanning the entire spectrum of the food and beverage industry, tens of thousands of professionals come to this biennial event in search of the latest innovations in food processing and packaging technology for their business.

For more information: http://www.myprocessexpo.com/
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Your Safe, Quality Food is our Business

Nelson-Jameson takes food safety very seriously, and we know that you do too. That is why we offer a wealth of products and solutions that can help your facility reduce the risk of foodborne illness and contamination. From Color-Coding and Metal Detectable to Hand Hygiene and Environmental Testing – we have many programs available to help ensure your processing facilities are compliant, providing safe, quality food to all.

To talk to one of our food safety experts about these programs or to receive an informational flyer featuring these programs, give us a call at 800-826-8302 or visit our website today!

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