Keeping your scales sanitized is essential, especially in hygienically sensitive industries like the meat industry. Many of these scales are located in areas that must adhere to strict sanitation policies, and therefore must be sure that product-contact and product non-contact surfaces are cleaned sufficiently.
The sanitization requirements for these scales are as follows:
Food-contact surfaces – 99.999% contamination reduction achieved in 30 seconds
Non-food contact surfaces – 99.9% contamination reduction achieved in 30 seconds
Disinfection, as opposed to sanitization, must destroy or irreversibly inactivate all contaminating organisms within a certain time frame (typically 10 minutes).
How can you make sure your scales are perfectly clean? Read on for 7 steps.
#1. Choosing the Right Scale
A clean scale begins with the right design. There are scales on the market that boast approval from the European Hygienic Engineering and Design Group (EHEDG) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF).
When choosing a scale for a hygienically sensitive environment, consider the following elements.
All surfaces should be accessible for cleaning and treatment, and should not promote or allow the growth of biofilms or bacteria.
The construction materials should be totally compatible with the product and the environment in which it will be used – no hollow areas or other collection points for water.
All areas should be easily accessible for inspection and maintenance.
The scale should perform in such a way that it does not encourage unsanitary conditions or bacterial growth.
Maintenance enclosures should be designed hygienically, ensuring that water and/or residue does not gather in or on the enclosure or interface.
#2. Adequate Surface Preparation
Before your surface can be sanitized, it must be cleaned! Remove any debris and rinse the surface(s) with water. Make sure any detergent residue has been rinsed well.
Bench Scale Platforms – Remove the platter and clean all parts underneath it, plus the feet.
Floor Scales – Look beneath the platter. It’s wise to choose a scale that can be cleaned easily under the platter. The ability to lift platters varies from one scale to another. Mobile floor scales are a good option, too.
Terminals – Control panel buttons should be cleaned in order to prevent the buildup of microbes or biofilm.
Checkweighers – It’s important to have an open construction for cleaning and visual inspection. You should be able to remove components without tools, and you want a high ground clearance.
#3. Using Detergents
After the preparatory cleaning, use the following procedures with detergents.
Cleaning with alkali detergents:
Daily – apply chlor-alkalic foam with low pressure
Weekly – Apply acid foam
Rinse after a predetermined contact time
Your detergent must be approved for cleaning with food-contact surfaces. The specific detergent you choose will depend on the equipment you’re using and what kind of contamination you’re dealing with. For organic soiling, choose alkalis. For calcium deposits and stainless steel, acids are a good option.
#4. Inspect Visually
One of the simplest but most important steps is to look at your scale. Does it look clean? If not, go back and repeat the process until you can visually confirm that the scale is clean.
The purpose of this step is to get rid of any microorganisms that have survived your previous efforts. Bacteria can be hard to eliminate completely, so disinfecting daily is essential. The contact time and pressure wash-down requirements will vary depending on the product, and they will be outlined in the supplier manual.
#6. Final Rinse
This is a vital step to remove all traces of cleaners, contaminants, and disinfection substances so that none of it will come into contact with food or other products.
#7. Verify the Procedure
After you have completed your sanitation process, you need to confirm that it has been effective. Visually assess your scale. If needed, perform microbiological tests using contact plates or swaps.
Contact Acme Scales!
We’ve been providing weighing applications since 1913, and we’ve aligned ourselves with the best suppliers in the world. Contact us today for more information on our scales and how you can get the exact scale your company needs!