|Automated washing ensures food-transfer buggies and bins are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in support of stringent food-safety standards.|
Under FSMA, food processors are required not only to identify known and potential hazards, but also to prevent the occurrence of them. Thus conventional methods of cleaning and sanitizing are being re-evaluated, as manual washing operations, including power spraying, cannot uniformly eliminate contaminants and pathogens.
In the case of GoldCoast Salads, a Naples, Fla.-based producer of high-quality seafood spreads, the goal was to acquire an automated washing system that would improve productivity and efficiency while maintaining maximum food safety.
Founded in 2001, GoldCoast Salads is a highly successful family-owned business that produces a premium product. As part of an expansion into a new processing facility, GoldCoast Salads has installed a customized washing tunnel that will further ensure that its food buggies will be cleaned and sanitized.
“[Manual] washing is a very tough job that is still widespread throughout the industry, and our employees have worked very hard to maintain our high standards of food safety,” explains Adam Radno, director of operations, GoldCoast Salads. “Not only does the new [automated] system completely wash and sanitize, but it helps prevent contaminants or bacteria from reaching the food-processing area.”
Furthermore, Radno says, as food safety is critical throughout the industry, it is even more critical for GoldCoast Salads, since its products are RTE (ready-to-eat), and there are no post-production safety measures such as post-pasteurization. CM Process Solutions (Corona, Calif.), a manufacturer of hygiene and food-processing equipment that services large and small food companies, supplied GoldCoast Salads’ new tunnel washing system — a system that allows the company to maintain its stringent safety standards.
“The engineers at CM Process worked closely with us, to ensure that each system feature we wanted could be included. In the end, we chose the ET75 Tunnel Washing System,” says Radno. “But while it was a highly customized system, the cost was in no way exorbitant.”
GoldCoast Salads’ new tunnel washing system automatically lifts and mounts each buggy in an inverted position, to enable the most thorough washing of internal surfaces. Both 400-lb. and 600-lb. buggies are handled by the system. After the wash process is completed, the buggy is automatically unloaded and delivered to floor level, allowing the operator to remove it.
In the main wash chamber, each buggy is washed by a “traveling” jet system. The jets make 30-35 passes on the stationary buggy, spraying backward and forward, to ensure that all surfaces are thoroughly cleaned, thus assuring compliance to FSMA standards.