Cleaning verification in CIP circuits

The verification of cleanliness in CIP circuits is necessary to optimize the resources used and ensure proper hygiene.

CIP circuits (Cleaning In Process) are part of the revolution that has led to the concept of hygienic design in the food industry.
Thanks to the CIP equipment we get a less expensive cleaning in terms of time and safer. This means that, to some extent, we can become unconcerned, since the circuit does the job for itself.
But this is not an excuse to overlook the subsequent verification process, which is necessary to optimize cleaning and disinfection in CIP circuits.

1. Previous step
Before starting the verification, it is important to create a team of people in charge of it, as well as assign responsibilities to each worker.
In addition, all the parts and areas to be cleaned, the chemicals used for this purpose, the frequency of cleaning …
On the other hand, the character of the surfaces is also studied to avoid damaging the chemicals used for cleaning and disinfection.

2. Pre-wash

Any CIP circuit works with an initial wash that serves to eliminate soluble debris or all those that can creep exerting greater pressure.
What we must verify at this point are aspects such as:

The temperature of the water, which must be hot enough to carry away the waste, but always exercising control over it, since CIP equipment can be damaged at very high temperatures.
The water flow and its power in the different parts of the circuit.
Water quality for later reuse.

3. Washing

At this point it is intended to eliminate insoluble waste by the performance of cleaning chemicals. We must control:

The concentration of the chemicals, which must be as indicated by the manufacturer. A higher dose of chemical will not provide us with a better cleaning, but may trigger the need to use more resources (cleaners and water for subsequent rinsing) and, therefore, a less effective process.
Water flow and temperature. These two factors are essential for the correct performance of cleaning chemicals, whether they are acidic, alkaline or neutral. Otherwise, abrasions can occur on surfaces.
The time of action is essential to ensure that the resources used meet the desired effect.

4. Disinfection

In disinfection, a post-wash step (with rinse included), other chemical agents intervene in order to eliminate any trace of germs.
In this case we will control that:

The disinfectant is suitable for use in environments that are in contact with food. Therefore, we must identify the HA Registry on the label (in this article we show you how).
The temperature and the rinse are adequate, considering again the flow and the time of action for this.
If we apply chlorinated products, we must ensure that the temperature and pH levels are adequate.

If final rinse is used, we will revisit all the indicators that refer to water.

5. Validation and waste tests

The final part of the verification of cleaning in CIP circuits consists of:

Visually inspect the circuit and check with evidence if chemical substances remain inside.
Document the entire process to correct errors, if any, in a faster and more reliable way.

As we mentioned at the beginning of the article, the verification of the cleanliness in the CIP circuits is another necessary step to guarantee the healthiness of the processed foods in these devices.
But, in addition, this validation can help us save costs by reducing the number of resources used and referring to time, cleaning and disinfection products and labor.