Food safety is always top of mind for any food production facility, no matter the product or process. Proper sanitation is one component among many of a robust food safety program, and one key area of concern involves product transportation and reusable container washing. As consumers, we rarely think about all of the processes ingredients go through to make our food. But food processing engineers think about little else!
There are many ways to move raw ingredients or finished products around a production floor. Items might be conveyed, loaded on carts, sent through tubes or chutes, or in the case of fresh berries, loaded into reusable containers (often called lugs). Fresh blueberries, either machine picked or hand picked, are placed into these lugs. The lugs are then emptied either manually or automatically, and the lugs themselves are then cleaned. [Watch a video of automated lug dumping here!] It is important with any product, but especially fresh and direct-to-consumer foods, that they be free from pests and contamination. The main area for potential exposure is in or on the containers transporting them. But how are these crates properly cleaned?
MANUAL VS. AUTOMATED
Some operations utilize manual labor for reusable container washing. While initially the easiest and seemingly most cost-effective solution, even small to medium-sized operations will often end up paying much more in labor and risk costs over time. The initial investment in automated equipment may appear high at first, but costs are usually recouped within a few years. Added benefits also include much higher rates of consistency and repeatability, leading to higher risk mitigation. Given the shortage of available workers and rising labor costs, it is becoming increasingly attractive to make this investment. Here is a video of our Lug Washer in action:
The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) has outlined guidelines for the proper washing and sanitation of all reusable containers:
- Air dry
Their guidelines state “…that a company use only the best inline RPC wash machine technology available and uses industry accepted processes and procedures in both environmental and finished product sanitation.”
Here at Innotech, we design and manufacture industry-leading washing equipment for containers of all shapes and sizes. These built-to-order machines can include options such as infeed / outfeed conveyors, sanitation, air drying, and more.
Get in touch with our team so we can explore your application and offer an optimal cleaning solution.
Hello, I speak in regards of B&W Growers LLC. based in Florida, USA.
We’re interested in buying a tote washing machine. Would you send me the info on them?