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Parents sue State Fair over E. coli illness
January 24, 2006
Herald Tribune (Fla)
Kristen Kridel
A lawsuit filed in the Hillsborough Circuit Court was cited as saying that two Charlotte County children on a family outing to the Florida State Fair last year caught a potentially fatal strain of E. coli bacteria from petting goats.
The father of Abigail Hayse, 6, and her brother, Bryce, 3, was cited as saying they have since recovered, although they could have health problems as they grow older.
State Fair officials say steps have been taken to avoid problems in the future. The next Florida State Fair is Feb. 9-20.
The children's parents filed suit last week against Agventure Farm Shows and the Florida State Fair Authority.
Father Jonathan Hayse, was quoted as saying Monday that, "For us, it was one of those things you read in the paper and say, 'Man, that's terrible.' You never expect it to happen to someone you know."
According to data from the Florida Department of Health, 26 people contracted E. coli in February and March from Agventure petting zoos at the Central Florida Fair in Orlando, the Strawberry Festival in Plant City and the State Fair in Tampa. Forty-two additional cases are considered suspect. That strain of E. coli was found in six animals provided by Agventure, data showed.
Lizz Harmon, Florida State Fair Authority public relations director, was cited as saying the State Fair has taken precautions and will add 16 hand-sanitizing stations and, for the first time, offer hand-washing stations operated by foot pedals. Fair guide books will include recommendations to wash hands frequently and numerous public announcements will be broadcast to remind people as well.
Harmon was quoted as saying, "Our thinking is if we keep reminding them, we will keep bringing it to the forefront."
The lawsuit claims that Agventure and the Florida State Fair Authority failed to exercise reasonable care to protect Abigail and Bryce, avoid exposing them to E. coli and give adequate warnings about potential dangers.
The defendants also failed to keep the fairgrounds in a reasonably safe and uncontaminated condition, conduct proper inspections and ensure animals being exhibited did not have E. coli, according to the lawsuit.
The Hayses' lawsuit requests damages in excess of $15,000. Thus far, the children's medical bills have cost about $25,000.

Ice cream recipe led to outbreak (UK)

Source of Article: outbreak of salmonella food poisoning affected 18 people
An East Sussex restaurant prosecuted for a salmonella outbreak "is a good business that made a mistake", environmental health officers said. Tim Albright from Lewes council said a recipe for a dessert at the Golden Palace, Seaford, had been changed. The original recipe that led to a food poisoning affecting 18 people in March 2005 involved ice cream dipped in raw egg being frozen and then deep fried. Magistrates fined the company ¡Ì15,000 on Monday and ordered it to pay costs. Mr Albright said the fine was for 10 separate offences under the General Food Regulations of 2004. Costs to the council amounted to ¡Ì5,279.
'Fundamental mistakes'
He said: "Unfortunately raw egg was not suitable for use in this dish, as the brief cooking time would not destroy any salmonella present in raw eggs." He added: "The defendants pleaded guilty and acknowledged fundamental mistakes were made by chefs that did not reflect the otherwise high standards of food preparation within the restaurant. "The Golden Palace restaurant has changed the recipe so that raw eggs are no longer used." And he said chefs at the restaurant had also taken training and food preparation advice from the council. "The restaurant is a good business that made a mistake that has now been rectified," Mr Albright said.

USDA Offers Food Safety Advice for Your Super Bowl Party

Susan Conley (301) 504-9605
Matt Baun (301) 504-0235

WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2006 - As millions of Americans mark Super Bowl Sunday with friends and family, making it the second highest day of food consumption in the United States after Thanksgiving, USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service is offering some practical food safety tips to help prevent foodborne illnesses.

"While football has the 'two-minute' warning, the world of food safety has the 'two-hour' rule," said USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety Dr. Richard Raymond. "One of the biggest food safety mistakes people tend to make during these types of gatherings is that they let perishable food items sit out for far too long."

Many Super Bowl parties will go on for several hours where the food will often be left at room temperature. Dr. Raymond noted that food that has been sitting out for more than two hours can easily allow bacteria to multiply and cause illness. In severe cases, foodborne illness can lead to hospitalization and even death. more information

Japan-US Beef
January 26, 2006
The Associated Press
Kozo Mizoguchi
TOKYO -- Japan's agriculture minister, Shoichi Nakagawa, was cited as telling parliament Thursday that the 700 tons of U.S. beef distributed in Japan after the country eased its import ban last month is safe and can be eaten with no worries.
Nakagawa was further cited as saying the meat was closely checked for banned material such as bone and brains when it entered the country.
Nakagawa said about 1,500 tons of U.S. beef has entered Japan since the easing of a two-year-old ban on Dec. 12. The ban was imposed in 2003 after the discovery of mad cow disease in an American herd.
Of those 1,500 tons, more than 700 tons have already been distributed to supermarkets, restaurants and other outlets, but Nakagawa said that meat posed no health risk.

Treatments for fruits and vegetables
January 27, 2006
[Federal Register: (Volume 71, Number 1]
[Page 4451-4464]
7 CFR Parts 301, 305, 318, and 319
[Docket No. 03-077-2]
AGENCY: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, USDA.
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: We are amending the regulations by revising the approved doses for irradiation treatment of imported fruits and vegetables. This rule will establish a new minimum generic dose of irradiation for most plant pests of the class Insecta, establish a new minimum generic dose for the fruit fly family, reduce the minimum dose of irradiation for some specific fruit fly species, add 10 pests to the list of pests for which irradiation is an approved treatment at less than the generic dose, and
provide for the use of irradiation as a treatment for cut flowers and foliage. These actions will allow the use of irradiation to neutralize more pests and to neutralize some pests at lower doses. Furthermore, we
are providing for the irradiation of fruits and vegetables moved interstate from Hawaii at the pest-specific irradiation doses that are now approved for imported fruits and vegetables. We are also providing for the use of irradiation to treat fruits and vegetables moved interstate from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These actions will allow irradiation to serve as an alternative to other approved
treatments for additional commodities moved interstate from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Finally, we are adding irradiation as a treatment for bananas from Hawaii and adding vapor-
heat treatment as an optional treatment for sweetpotatoes from Hawaii. These actions will provide an alternative to the currently approved treatments for those commodities while continuing to provide protection against the spread of plant pests from Hawaii into the continental United States.
EFFECTIVE DATE: February 27, 2006.
Manager, Commodity Import Analysis & Operations, PPQ, APHIS, 4700 River
Road Unit 133, Riverdale, MD 20737-1236; (301) 734-8758.

Meat and Poultry
Bioterrorism: Food Defense Verification at Meat and Poultry Facilities

Objective: To provide inspection program personnel guidance related to the random performance of Food Defense Verification procedures and for using a risk-based thought process in order to determine what activities to conduct when performing 08S procedures in order to verify food security.

You are a GS-9 Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) assigned to cover a ham processing establishment. The PBIS procedure schedule for today indicates that you should perform procedures 04A01 and 04B04. You are aware that the Homeland Security Threat condition is currently Yellow, so you are required to perform one of the Food Defense Verification procedures (08S03 -08S13) in place of one of the assigned 04 procedures. You decide to conduct the 04A01 verification activities and substitute 04B04 with one of the 08S procedures.

You know that FSIS Directive 5420.1 (Revision 2, dated 7/20/2005) indicates that you are to randomly perform the Food Defense Verification procedures. Random selection allows each procedure an equal opportunity of being selected. You are aware that there are many methods available, including the random number generator on the FSIS computer, which will ensure a random selection of the 08S procedure, but you have elected to utilize a method of selection that consists of drawing one numbered plastic chip from a coffee can. Each number (3-13) corresponds with an 08S procedure. Today you select chip number 11 which means you will conduct procedure 08S11, Water Systems. When you have determined which procedure will be conducted, you review FSIS Directive 5420.1, focusing on the criteria of procedure 08S11. You know you need to utilize a risk-based approach to consider the processing operation so that you can evaluate any potential threats which might be associated with the plants water system. more information


January 20, 2006
"We take this matter very seriously and we are conducting a thorough investigation.
"I have talked with Ambassador Kato and I expressed our regret and informed him of our actions. I also offered to provide in writing an outline of our actions and the results of our investigation into this matter. "Under U.S. regulations, the backbone, or vertebral column, that was exported to Japan is not a specified risk material because it was in beef under 30 months. However, our agreement with Japan is to export beef with no vertebral column and we have failed to meet the terms of that agreement.
"The processing plant that exported this product has been de-listed and therefore can no longer export beef to Japan. We will take the appropriate personnel action against the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service employee who conducted the inspection of the product in question and approved it to be shipped to Japan. "I am dispatching a team of USDA inspectors to Japan to work with Japanese inspectors to reexamine every shipment currently awaiting approval, to confirm compliance with the requirements of our export agreement with Japan. "I have directed that additional USDA inspectors be sent to every plant that is approved to export beef to review procedures and ensure compliance with our export agreements and I am requiring that two USDA inspectors review every shipment of U.S. beef for export to confirm that compliance. I have also ordered unannounced inspections at every plant approved for beef export. "These additional inspection requirements in the U.S. will be applied to all processing plants approved for beef export and all beef shipments designated for export from the U.S.

"I am also requiring that all USDA beef inspectors undergo additional training to make certain they are fully aware of all export agreement requirements. And, I have directed my staff to coordinate a meeting of representatives from all U.S. processing plants that export beef to review those requirements.

"While this is not a food safety issue, this is an unacceptable failure on our part to meet the requirements of our agreement with Japan. We take this matter seriously, recognizing the importance of our beef export market, and we are acting swiftly and firmly."

Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc. Issues Recall Due to Possible Health Risk
Marcy Toledo

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -- Chicago, IL -- January 25, 2006 -- Del Rey Tortilleria, Inc., Chicago, Illinois is recalling FLOUR TORTILLAS because government officials have associated consumption of the flour tortillas with a series of health symptoms among individuals who complained of stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches. These reported symptoms typically occurred very soon after consuming the flour tortillas and resolved within one day. There does not appear to be any long-term adverse health effects. The product was distributed nationwide through food distributors and grocery stores. The affected products are all sizes and types of FLOUR TORTILLAS with the brand name Del Ray and use-by date codes of March 06, 2006 or earlier. They may be labeled as White Flour Tortillas; Tortillas de Harina; Burritos 2, 3 and 4; or Fajita 8" size. Federal and State officials have determined an association between consumption of these flour tortillas with a series of food borne illness outbreaks, but a causative agent is still being investigated. Consumers who have eaten product subject to the recall and experience stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and headaches, should consult their health care provider.

Although the company is not certain that is products caused these symptoms, it is nevertheless recalling the product as a precaution while its investigation is continuing. The recall does not affect flour tortillas made on or after January 20, which will have use-by date codes of March 09, 2006 or later, or any other Del Rey Tortilleria products. Consumers should immediately return any product subject to the recall to the store where they purchased it for a full refund or replacement. Consumers with questions may contact the company by calling Marcy Toledo, General Manager, at 773-637-8900.

Researcher studies E. coli
January 24, 2006
John Trent
Foodborne pathogens such as E. coli (Escherichia coli) continue to pose a substantial health risk to Americans - the latest outbreak at a university in Wisconsin last week forced the hospitalization of several individuals. Yet Hussein Hussein, professor of veterinary medicine at the University of Nevada, Reno¡¯s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, believes he has found an answer to the problem.
Hussein, along with fellow co-investigators Mark Hall and Bill Kvasnicka of Nevada and Edward Atwill of UC-Davis, recently was awarded a grant of more than $500,000 from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to study an integrated approach to pre-harvest control of toxin-producing E. coli.
Hussein believes that microbial hazards associated with pre-harvest phases of beef production can be manipulated by diet.
¡°People in the beef industry over the past 10 years have focused on post-harvest methods, such as washing or sterilizing the meat after it has been produced,¡± Hussein said. ¡°Most of these methods have been less effective than people expected - we still have a problem with the outbreak of E. coli.
¡°My interest here is with the animal. The most meaningful way to attack this problem is through pre-harvest control. If we can improve our pre-harvest control, we will be able to substantially control the problem.¡±
Unlike previous studies, Hussein¡¯s work promises to be the first all-encompassing examination of all of the various toxin-producing E. coli. Previous studies have simply investigated the proliferation of the pathogen E. coli O157:H7. Hussein¡¯s work will look at all 60 pathogens of E. coli.
¡°We plan on playing with the diet of the animal, so that we can in a sense ¡®clean¡¯ the animal before slaughter,¡±
Hussein said of the study¡¯s method of mixing a variety of known forages and grains in the diet of the participating animals.
Hussein said that the two-year study will include two parts: a bi-state (California and Nevada) longitudinal epidemiological survey of the effects of dietary management on prevalence and fecal shedding of E. coli in beef and dairy cattle, as well as identifying the role of diet in ruminal (stomach of the cow) survival and proliferation of E. coli O157:H7 in vitro. The in vitro research aim will be accomplished through the use of Hussein¡¯s state-of-the-art, dual-flow continuous culture fermenter system in the College of Agriculture. The continuous culture system, considered the country¡¯s best such system, fully simulates the inner workings of a cow¡¯s multi-chambered stomach and will allow the researchers the luxury of studying the effectiveness of various forage and grain combinations.
Both live populations of cattle as well as the continuous culture fermenter system will serve as models for the researchers.
¡°The smaller scale will be the continuous culture, and the larger scale will be the cattle,¡± Hussein said. ¡°So what we find in the continuous culture testing, we will be able to apply to the large-scale, real- life situation of real cattle populations.¡±
Research results will be integrated into education and extension programs targeting production of safer beef and continuous education of beef producers and students on food safety.
¡°If we do our work correctly, we will have suggestions for all types of beef cattle ranchers,¡± Hussein said. ¡°Since we will be looking at different aspects of pathogenic E. coli, we will be able to make a certain set of suggestions to beef cattle ranchers in Nevada, and different suggestions to beef cattle ranchers in California, for example. And, needs for the midwest would be in turn different than California or Nevada.
¡°So in that sense, this is very much a national project.¡±

Typhoid fever linked to ancient plague of Athens
Mon Jan 23, 1:40 PM ET
Source of Article:

LONDON (Reuters) - Modern DNA analysis of ancient dental pulp suggests that typhoid fever was the cause of the plague which helped end the Golden Age in Athens, scientists said on Monday. The DNA collected from teeth from an ancient Greek burial site is similar to a modern organism that causes typhoid fever, an infection spread by contaminated food or water. "Studying the historical aspects of infectious disease can be a powerful tool for several disciplines to learn from," said Dr Manolis Papagrigorakis of Athens University, a co-author of the study. "We believe this report to be of outstanding importance for many scientific fields, since it sheds light on one of the most debated enigmas in medical history." Up to one third of Athenians are thought to have died from the plague that spread to Greece from Ethiopia, Egypt and Libya in 430-426 B.C. Several diseases including smallpox, bubonic plague, anthrax and measles have been suggested as the cause of the plague, one of whose most prominent victims was the Athenian Golden Age leader Pericles.

In research reported online by the International Journal of Infectious Diseases, the scientists described how they extracted DNA from a mass burial pit in a cemetery dating back to the time the plague struck Greece. Papagrigorakis and his team said the DNA sequences resembled Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi, the organism that causes typhoid fever.

State offers grocers guidelines for food safety
Source of Article:

With an eye on safety in the food chain, three state agencies and the Ohio Grocers Association rolled out a new guide for grocery stores Monday. The Retail Food Defense Preparedness Guide provides a self-assessment checklist for grocers to help determine potential problems in their food defense plan, said a release from the grocers group. The checklist includes questions such as if grocers maintain a log of those who have access to product storage areas in their stores. The guide is a joint effort between the Ohio Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Grocers Association. Also involved in the project are the Ohio Department of Health and the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Local health departments will distribute the guide to all retail food establishments in Ohio over the next several months, the release said. The guide is available online at

Food too old or stored improperly can be toxic
DR. TIM DIETRICK Jan 7, 2006
Source of Article:!flair!hg

Q. I recently heard that aflatoxin is dangerous for pets. Can you tell me more about it and how I can prevent it?
A. Aflatoxins are byproducts of cellular activity in some species of fungi that appear as mold on food. The fungi can thrive in grain-based foods and hot, humid climates. The primary source of contamination is improperly stored food that has become moldy. Not all molds contain aflatoxin, but any moldy dog food should be considered suspect and discarded. Many dog foods contain a grain such as wheat or corn.
Fortunately, dog food manufacturers take measures to keep contaminants out of the manufacturing process. Unfortunately, contaminants can creep in, as evidenced by the recent recall of some dog food found to contain aflatoxin. The more common causes of aflatoxin in dog food are improper storage at home and keeping the food too long. Stored properly in closed, dry containers, many dog foods last up to a month.
Discard any food on which mold is visible or that smells different from when it was first opened. It is a good idea to buy only enough dry food
to last a month. Owners of dogs that stay outdoors should pay close attention to food exposed to the elements and discard uneaten dry food promptly. Food dispensers and bowls need to be cleaned at least once a week. Aflatoxin causes liver damage in small doses and complete liver failure if enough is ingested. The damage is often irreversible, but fortunately, dogs can survive with up to 80 percent liver damage.
Signs of damage are loss of appetite, vomiting and jaundiced eyes and gums. Initial treatment involves hospitalization with intravenous fluids to support the liver. Dogs that respond well to initial therapy are sent home on diets aimed at decreasing the workload of the liver. Continued monitoring through blood tests is required. Fortunately, aflatoxin poisoning is not common in dogs and can be prevented by properly storing food and watching for mold.

Q. I have an 11-year-old dog that is not eating. His initial visit to the vet showed an elevated white count. He has not responded to antibiotics yet. Can you give me any advice?
A. One of the truisms of life is that dogs love to eat. Any lack of appetite can be considered a sign of illness. Unlike cats, dogs are not overly picky when it comes to their food.
On occasion, dogs will stop eating if their food smells bad to them. You can try a new bag or a different manufacturer.
If the loss of appetite persists for more than 24 hours, your pet should be evaluated by your veterinarian.
You mentioned your pet had an elevated white count. Elevated white counts can occur with infection and inflammation from tissue trauma. Most infections respond well to antibiotics, especially if the source of the infection can be identified. Some antibiotics can cause nausea and a subsequent loss of appetite. In such cases, simply changing the antibiotic may be helpful. If the loss of appetite -- known as anorexia -- persists for more than a few days, your pet may require hospitalization and further diagnostics to pinpoint the problem. Some infections, cancer and organ system failure can be difficult to treat. If appropriate, your veterinarian can prescribe specially formulated liquid diets. You may be able to eed your pet with a syringe to stimulate his appetite and maintain the required nutrition to help him recover.
Tim Dietrick is an emergency veterinarian at the Veterinary Emergency Center in Carytown.

Language barrier: Officials say that food safety training translates OK
Source of Article:

Some food service workers speak little or no English, but Tippecanoe County health officials have taken steps to overcome that.
Under state law, all regular restaurants must have at least one staff member certified in food handling. Food-safety training is offered in English, Spanish and Chinese. Ron Cripe, county health administrator, said that Tippecanoe County's health department was the first in Indiana to make the food code available in Spanish. It, and the Chinese version, were checked by interpreters to make sure they were consistent with the English copy. The department has used Purdue University professors for translation and interpretation, and it has consulted with the owners of Spanish and Chinese restaurants to ensure that translations and regulations are understood. Health department personnel work hard to be certain that regulations are understood, said Dr. Michael Bohlin, county health official. In dealing with the owner of City Buffet & Grill, a Lafayette buffet restaurant serving Chinese and American food, "We wanted to make sure there was no language barrier," he said. "We didn't want them just nodding their heads, but to understand." A language barrier was not an issue in the case of a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant recently ordered to close in White County. Of 10 Greater Lafayette restaurants with the most critical health code violations per inspection in 2004 and 2005, five were non-ethnic restaurants, with the possible exception of a pizza restaurant. The other five, including City Buffet & Grill, served Asian-style food, according to a Journal and Courier analysis of health department records.
-- By Kevin Cullen/Journal and Courier

Top Tips to Make Your CIP/COP Systems Work for You

This information from
By Richard F. Stier and Mike Cramer

Food processing equipment is either cleaned-in-place (CIP) and cleaned-out-of-place (COP). These cleaning methods offer processors an additional mechanism of process control in that each method CIP and COP systems enhance the ability of the sanitation crew to better clean and sanitize production equipment to a greater degree of food safety and quality assurance. CIP systems are extremely beneficial for aseptic and other processing operations in which interior surfaces of equipment such as tanks and pipes cannot be easily reached for cleaning, and COP methods are utilized for pieces of equipment and utensils that cannot be cleaned where they are used and must be disassembled, and for pieces of equipment that are complex and hard to clean.

With a greater emphasis on sanitary design in food plants, equipment manufacturers and industry have worked together to make many improvements to equipment and parts that make cleaning and sanitizing more effective. Even so, plant sanitation crews and quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) managers cannot rely solely on the fact that equipment is more cleanable today than in the past. Introducing or improving CIP and COP procedures, processes and systems in the food plant takes advantage of sanitary equipment design benefits, raising the level of assurance that when the production line starts up for a new run the process is in control from the get-go.

With this in mind, here are a few tips to best-practice approaches in using CIP and COP systems to their fullest potential as process control measures.

Inside Cleaning
CIP cleaning is utilized to clean the interior surfaces of pipelines and tanks of liquid and semi-liquid food and beverage processing equipment. This type of cleaning is generally done with large tanks, kettles or piping systems where there are smooth surfaces. CIP involves circulation of detergent through equipment by use of a spray ball or spray to create turbulence and thus remove soil. Chemical cleaning and sanitizing solution is circulated through a circuit of tanks and or lines to eliminate bacteria or chemical residues, which then flow back to a central reservoir so that the chemical solution can be reused. The system is run by computer, in a prescribed manner, to control the flow, mixing and diversion, temperature and time of the chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing. As with all cleaning methods, CIP systems utilize time, temperature and mechanical force to achieve maximum cleaning.

Automated CIP systems are most commonly used in processes in which liquid or flow-type material is being manufactured. This includes fluid products such as dairy, juice and beverages, as well as in operations using aseptic processing and packaging for low-acid or semi-fluid products such as liquid eggs, sauces, puddings, meal-replacement drinks, aseptic dairy and fruit, jam and marmalade, soups, ketchups and tomato-based products and salad dressings. Processors also are increasingly finding application for CIP systems in the manufacture of semi-solid foods, such as stews and spreadable cheese.

A majority of food manufacturing operations producing these types of products today have installed CIP systems throughout the plant because they are efficient, cost effective and provide effective cleaning of cracks and crevices to reduce the formation of biofilms and growth niches where pathogens and other bacteria can survive. A major advantage of CIP is that it requires less labor since dissassembly, manual brushing or scrubbing, rinsing, reassembly and final sanitizing steps are not required. CIP systems also pose little risk to workers, if the system is properly maintained and operated. Due to automation of the method, CIP is very effective at containing chemical costs, lowering labor costs, minimizing repair and maintenance to equipment, and allowing the reuse of cleaning solutions.

In general, a CIP operation involves the following steps:

Removal of any small equipment parts that must be manually cleaned, making sure that CIP and processing components are clearly segregated.

Cool temperature water (<80F) is used to pre-rinse the equipment lines and piping to remove gross soil and to minimize coagulation of proteins.

After the pre-rinse water is flushed from the lines, the appropriate cleaner solution or treatment is circulated for a requisite period of time to remove any soil, chemical or other residues. This step is followed by another water rinse.

The final step is application of a sanitizing agent or method just prior to operation of the equipment. In aseptic operations, this step will be programmed into the system. Sanitizing can be with a chemical rinse or by the circulation of hot water. Hot water is used at high temperatures for CIP of equipment lines on which low-acid products are produced, and acidified water is used in those operations producing acidified or acid-containing products.

Before plant engineers can begin to design a CIP system for an operation, they have to be able to evaluate the manufacturer¡¯s process thoroughly to determine what is going to work for each particular operation. Both the processor and suppliers need to understand the products being processed, the water chemistry involved and the operating parameters. There are several criteria the food processor should consider when installing, operating or improving upon existing CIP systems to assure that they are effective and in control:

Tip 1. Use vessels that are right for the process. The old adage, ¡°You can¡¯t sanitize a dirty surface,¡± applies to CIP processes and as such, vessels used should be of sanitary design. Tank sanitary design includes smooth and continuous welds, self-draining and internal surfaces that are round or tubular, not flat, with no ledges or recesses, to prevent accumulation of soil that cannot be removed. It is important that tanks are properly vented, are self-draining and that the floor of the vessel allows for fast flushing. Figure 1 aptly illustrates the the contamination that can occur when equipment components such as coupling is not of sanitary design.

Figure 1. Non-hygienic coupling creates a crevice, providing product residue and bacteria refuge from CIP cleaning fluids or sanitizing heat treatments.

If the only treatment materials that will be used in or flow through the system during CIP are rinse water and cleaning solution, a two-tank system will likely be adequate. If your process requires an additional function, such as an acid wash or retention of final rinse water, a three-tank or return pump system is warranted. Since CIP systems vary in application and sophistication, check with CIP equipment manufacturers to ensure that a system is right for your operation.

Also make sure that there are a sufficient number of tanks for the cleaning solutions used and that they can contain sufficient quantity, about 50 percent more solution, than required to avoid running out of solution. Similarly, check that the spray balls used to deliver the cleaning agents to the interior surfaces of the equipment are actually appropriate for the tanks in which they are employed. Spray balls are designed to work within specified conditions and parameters involving flow rate, pressure and shape of the tank(s) in the circuit. If the spray balls are tampered with, damaged or not maintained in good condition, the distribution of the cleaning and sanitizing chemicals will be ineffective.

Tip 2. Identify and use the right cleaning chemicals and sanitizing solutions. It is essential that the right cleaner be employed in CIP systems. The chemical solution or treatment used in the CIP system must be capable of reaching all surfaces, and the surfaces are ideally made of stainless steel, not softer metals. It is recommended that cleaning solution be changed approximately every 48 hours, where applicable.

Some common types of cleaners and sanitizers used in CIP systems include:

? Hypochlorites (potassium, sodium or calcium hypochlorite). These sanitzing agents are proven sanitizers for clean stainless steel food contact surfaces but the processor needs to maintain strict control of pH and concentration levels. Hypochlorites can be highly corrosive, and when improperly used, produces corrosive gas above 115F.

? Chlorine Gas. Like hypochlorites, chlorine gas is effective in CIP applications when used as a sanitizer for clean stainless food contact surfaces and requires tight pH and concentration control by the processor. It can also be highly corrosive to stainless steel, and when improperly used, produces corrosive gas above 115F.

? Peracetic Acid. Peracetic acid is a combination of hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid (vinegar) and a minute amount of stabilizer that form a strong oxidizing agent. These sanitizers are effective against all microorganisms, including spoilage organisms, pathogens and bacterial spores. Characterized by a strong odor such that you may want to use in well-ventilated areas, peracetic acid solutions are effective over a wide pH range and can be applied in cool or warm water in CIP systems or as sprays/washes in COP processes to all food contact surfaces in the plant.

? Chlorine Dioxide. If the production line is soiled with high organic loads, such as those found in poultry or fruit processing, chlorine dioxide is good to consider for use in the CIP system. This is because chlorine dioxide is effecive against all types of microorganisms even when organic matter is present on interior surfaces. However, preparation of this chemical should be automated because of its corrosiveness in acid solution.

? Acid Anionic (organic acids and anionic surfactant). The combination of an acid with surface-active agents produce a cleaning, rinsing and sanitizing solution that is ideal in CIP systems in which the removal or control of water hardness films or milkstone (such as in dairy processes) is critical. Acid-anionic surfactants are effective against most bacteria, and are odorless, relatively nontoxic and noncorrosive to stainless steel.

? Ozone. Approved by FDA for use on food contact surfaces, ozone-enriched water systems recirculate treated water through piping and equipment as a sanitizing treatment in CIP systems and processes. Ozone is also used in COP operations, applied as a direct ozonated water spray on food-contact and nonfood-contact surfaces, including equipment, walls, floors, drains, conveyors, tanks and other containers. Ozone-enriched water kills microbes as effectively as chlorine, and since it is generated on-site, its use eliminates the need for personnel to handle, mix and dispose of harsh chemicals for sanitation. Ozone readily reverts to oxygen, an end-product that leaves no residue on contact surfaces.

Tip 3. Use the correct flow rate. For any CIP system to be effective, flow through the system must be at a high enough volume to assure that the flow is turbulent, since the turbulence is the mechanical action by which the interior surfaces of the equipment and piping is essentially ¡°scrubbed.¡± This means the flow must be greater than 5 ft. per second. To achieve this flow rate, operators need to understand their specific processing system. To do this, make sure that pump sizes are sufficient for the size of the tank or length of pipes to be cleaned. The rule of thumb is that the pump can produce a flow rate four to five times the rate of the product flow.

For example, turbulent flow may be achieved in a one-inch pipe at a flow rate of 24 gallons per minute (gpm), whereas a four-inch pipe requires a flow rate of 180 gpm. The same holds true for tanks, ovens or other large vessels. To calculate proper flow in a tank, take the circumference in feet times two. This will give the user a minimum flow in gpm needed to clean the tank and sufficient volumes of cleaner flowing down the sides of the tank for turbulent flow.

Tip 4. Don¡¯t forget the connections. It is important that all connections in and to CIP systems are properly cleaned. As recommended in the 3-A Accepted Practices for Permanently Installed Sanitary Product Pipelines and Cleaning Systems, all connections between a cleaning solution circuit and product must have a complete physical separation or be separated by at least two automatic valves with a drainable opening (equal to the area of the largest pipeline opening) to atmosphere between the valves. It is a good idea to loosen line connections during the CIP process to allow for cleaning around the gasket.

In addition, avoid creating dead-ends ¡°or ¡°lively dead areas,¡± which create difficult-to-clean sections of pipe (Figure 2), and ensure that the CIP system does not operate with parallel cleaning circuits or variable pipe diameters since both may reduce solution flow rates below 5 ft. per second.

Figure 2. By reengineering the configuration of these pipes through which both product and CIP cleaning fluids or sanitizing steam flow, dead areas in which residues or bacteria can attach are eliminated. Courtesy of Huub Lelieveld

Tip 5. Monitor and verify. All too frequently, sanitation crew, managers and even process engineers rely too heavily on the fact that CIP systems or circuits are automated, believing that this automation translates into ¡°automatic¡± process control. However, the only way to really know if the CIP system is working effectively is to monitor and validate the system¡¯s components. Figure 3 shows why this is critical. In other words, although the CIP unit typically features a computer-controlled monitoring system, it is imperative that the mixing and metering of chemicals is monitored by routinely checking chemical concentrations, pH levels and monitoring pump and metering device performance. This can be accomplished by using rapid screening microbiological, chemical and environmental hygiene tests such as ATP bioluminescence swabs or devices near any openings to interior surfaces throughout the CIP cleaning shift. ATP can be used on exposed surfaces (fillers) or on rinse water to confirm the presence of organic material. These verification tests can also be applied to the CIP system connections such as gaskets, which should be checked regularly to verify the effectiveness of the cleaning program.

Figure 3. Example of a heat exchanger opened for inspection after CIP cleaning. Courtesy of Huub Lelieveld

The water used in CIP processes must be continously monitored and verified. For example, monitoring and testing water chemistry is imperative because CIP spray balls may be compromised due to water hardness or turbidity. Hard water can precipitate on surfaces and clog holes, compromising flow and coverage. At the end of the day, if the water used in the cleaning process is not clean, the system cannot effectively clean (to a microbiological level) the equipment, pipes and tanks. Processors can and should do chemical tests on rinse water to ensure that residual cleaner and/or sanitizer is properly removed.

Similarly, water and cleaning solutions must be monitored for temperature to achieve process control. In CIP operations, the temperature of the solution is commonly measured, monitored and recorded via in-system computer controls. To verify that temperatures recorded are accurate, line personnel can use integrated software-driven data loggers and similar portable devices to randomly check solution temperatures during the CIP process.

Out of Place But In Control
No matter how advanced and automated the CIP system is, there is always a need to clean the parts of production equipment not exposed to the cleaning process. There are pieces of equipment that simply cannot be cleaned where they are used, including piping, fittings, gaskets, valves or valve parts, filler parts and surfaces such as guides or shields, tank vents, tray pack, grinders, pumps, and product handling utensils such as knives. To properly clean and sanitize these units or parts, COP is employed to clean tear-down parts of processing and packaging equipment that require disassembly for proper cleaning (Figure 4). Because COP is essentially the systematic manual cleaning and sanitizing of production equipment that must be dissassembled in many cases, specific attention must be paid to cleaning underneath and around gaskets, o-rings, samll pipes and other small surface cavities, gaps or other niches and harborage points in which potentially harmful residue and bacteria may accumulate.

Figure 4. Removal of inner sprockets and framework during a COP operation allows crew to manually clean both sides of a conveyor chain, and the chain itself placed in a COP tank for higher concentration and contact time to ensure that there are no niches in any of the links. Courtesy of Kraft Foods

Cleaning knives or spoons that are used in a plant¡¯s dishwasher would be considered a COP operation. In food plants, a common use of the COP cleaning method involves pieces of equipment that are small, complex and otherwise hard to clean. They are dissembled, rinsed and then cleaned and sanitized. COP may occur in a sink with a worker scrubbing to clean, or in tanks specially designed for COP (Figure 5). In these tanks, detergent and agitation are used to clean the equipment in question. Sanitizing may be done using hot water or chemical sanitizers. Small items, such as valves, sanitary fittings and such, can be placed in cages and cleaned with larger items. Options include doing a rinse, hot water wash with detergent, rinse and soak in sanitizer. Operators can also sanitize COP items by raising the second rinse temperature and holding for 15 minutes at >180F.

Figure 5. Example of COP tank used for small parts. Courtesy of Mike Cramer

The basic steps in a COP operation include:
Dry cleaning to remove dust, soil and other debris from the equipment to be cleaned and the area in which COP tasks will take place.
A pre-rinse of the equipment and area on racks or in COP tanks.
Soap and scrub the equipment and equipment components in COP tanks or vessels.
Post-rinse parts to remove residual detergent or cleaning chemicals.
Conduct pre-operational procedures and sanitize any equipment components that are not accessible once reassembled. Reassemble the equipment.
Sanitize the reassembled equipment with a sanitizing agent or heat treatment.

Although the following tips for effective COP may seem obvious, they are well worth review:
Tip 1. Conduct COP tasks in order. It is important to understand that sanitation is a sequence of steps that build from the successful completion of the previous steps. In particular, COP practices, which involve multiple individuals working in the same area, multiple small parts to be cleaned and multiple sanitation steps for each item to be cleaned, are ineffective when steps are not taken in sequence. For example, it is not difficult to understand that the level of cross-contamination risk is raised if personnel are not all working at the same step at the same time. If one individual in that area is doing a final rinse while another person is doing a pre-rinse and the equipment is adjacent to each other, there is a risk of overspray from the unsanitized surface to the sanitary one.

Tip 2. Consider using basket or tote washers. Another COP system that is of great value is comprised of basket or totes washers. Companies, such as those in the fresh-cut industry, who use a large number of small containers in their process operations should look at these units. The container is simply loaded onto the system and it passes through the unit where it is rinsed, washed and rinsed. The cleaned containers should then be stacked so that they will not become recontaminated. These washers may also be used for steel trays, pots or totes used in meat operations. A washer like this is usually much more effective than having an employee individually clean each and every tote, basket or pot.

Tote washers, in particular, are usually desinged to filter debris and reuse water, which can translate into reductions of water and chemical usage.

Tip 3. Use a tank rather than a rack. Parts removed for cleaning are either placed on a rack for cleaning or placed in a COP circulation tank and cleaned using a heated chemical solution and agitation. There are advantages to using a tank versus a rack, including:

Parts may be cleaned all at once rather than individually which can be a time saver.

The ideal vat or tank is stainless steel and sufficient size to fully submerge all parts, and will have smooth welds and no dead spots so that it will not be a source of contamination itself.

After dry cleaning major soil off the parts, they are placed in the tank and water is added to the tank that is either hot (125-130F) or will have steam injected to achieve that temperature.

Once the cleaning chemical is added, turbulence will be created, either from steam or mechanical means to aid in loosening soil.

When parts are clean, rinse thoroughly with clear potable water, inspect and sanitize. Parts may either be reassembled or stored on a rack until ready for use. One caution: Many COP operations are carried out by staff on production floors. They will literally work on the floor or on temporary tables. While the equipment and componenets may get clean, control is questionable.

Tip 4. Make sure the mechanical action tools used in COP tasks do not contribute to potential contamination. Since COP requires manual washing, or scrubbing, by staff for adequate soil removal and cleaning, the tools used take on critical significance. Make sure that cleaning brushes are rugged, made of non-absorbent material with bristles that are resistant to retaining soils and that dry quickly. Hand brushes and floor brushes should be color-coded to ensure that those designated for use on food contact surfaces are not used on non-food contact surfaces. The same goes for buckets, pails, utensils and other cleaning tools that are portable. These tools should undergo specific cleaning and sanitizing, as well, either with chemicals in a dedicated wash-and-rinse sink unit or via heat treatment.

Work with the Experts
In general, the key to success in any endeavor can be summed up as follows: The easier it is to do something, the more likely it will be done and done right. With regard to increasing the effectiveness of the food plant¡¯s CIP and COP systems, the processor that understands the products being processed, the water chemistry involved, and the operating parameters will enhance the plant¡¯s ability to simplify the cleaning and sanitizing process. Communicating this knowledge to and working with CIP and COP equipment suppliers and chemical solutions and treatment suppliers to set up systems and procedures that mesh with these considerations will help ensure that your regimen is easy to perform, monitor and verify that this aspect of the process is in control.

Richard F. Stier is a consulting food scientist with international experience in food safety (HACCP), food plant sanitation, quality systems, process optimization, GMP compliance and food microbiology. He can be reached at
Michael M. Cramer is Director, Quality Assurance with Windsor Foods Co., headquartered in Houston. He can be reached at