Food Safety

Protein Problem Solver: Automated washing of totes, buggies and vats plays critical role

September 21, 2012
automated washer CEMHygiene mandates in food production and packaging facilities continue to be a critical focus of processors and regulators, yet some companies still cling to cumbersome and less-than-effective methods of washing and sanitizing containers used in the process stream.

In manual washing operations, including power-spraying, there is much room for human error. By automating the washing process, however, food processors are assured a complete cleaning and sanitizing of containers every time — while also saving on wasted labor and floor space, and improving production throughput.

“It’s important that our vats and buggies are cleaned and sanitized quickly and thoroughly,” explains Jeff Abrahamson, Quality Assurance Manager at Jack Link’s Beef Jerky.  “The vats are too big to be cleaned manually, so we needed a washing system that would clean and sanitize multiple vats and buggies automatically.”

Headquartered in Minong, Wis., Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is the No. 1 U.S. meat-snack brand, and the fastest-growing meat-snack manufacturer worldwide.     

In late 2011, plant management decided to upgrade a key internal production space in its New Glarus, Wis. facility.  A new, automated washing system was installed to improve efficiency and turnaround of large, 1,200-pound stainless vats and 600-pound buggies that contain raw meat prior to processing.

Abrahamson’s team collaborated with CM Process Solutions to spec and design the washing system, the stainless-steel vats, and also the racking system where meat is stored prior to processing.

“CM Process visited our facility to identify our needs and present us with options and solutions,” explains Abrahamson. “I looked at a few different brands during our selection process, but their equipment seemed to be the most efficient when it came to the time to wash, clean and sanitize the vats — and it was the easiest to use. We were able to customize the machine to make it most efficient for our space, since we are space-constrained in our facility.”

Abrahamson says the new system has allowed his operation to maximize throughput while saving on labor costs and ensuring proper food-quality and safety standards are exceeded.

Poultry Processing

DG Foods (Hazlehurst, Miss.) recently established a new poultry-processing facility that processes thousands of pounds of chicken each day.

“We needed an automated washing system to recycle the totes as part of our continuous processing operation,” says Bill Bryant, general manager of the Bastrop plant. “Without it, we would be unable to efficiently clean and properly sanitize the totes and lids and couldn’t re-use them in the processing operation.”

After researching suppliers, Bryant’s team contacted CM Process Solutions to review the system requirements and specifications.

“They did a very good job in recommending and configuring the system we eventually purchased,” says Bryant.  “It was exactly what we needed at a competitive price.”

For more information, contact Mark Corser at CM Process Solutions, 1269 Pomona Road, Corona, CA 92882; phone: (951) 808-4376; fax: (951) 808-8657; e-mail: or visit the Web site:

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