Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Simple Rules for Bottling Plants

1.       Segregation – The filling area should under a positive air pressure, to avoid inflow of contaminated air.  HEPA filters should be used to filter the air and these should be checked regularly to avoid blockage.  Either the filler should be treated in this way or the whole bottling plant should be under positive pressure if the filler is not enclosed.  Entry into the area must be limited to essential personnel wearing appropriate protective clothing.  Aseptic filling requires very high standards of hygiene and preferably should be run automatically and remotely from human participation.  When this is not possible, the operator should be specially trained to work in an aseptic environment.

2.       Process lines – The distance between the filler and capper should be as short as possible and likewise the distance between the blow moulding unit and the filler, although in the latter case this is not always possible.  Companies filling glass bottles must have a “glass breakage policy” to detail actions taken when glass breakage occurs.  If conveyor lubricants are used, these must be of the H1 grade (approved for indirect food contact).

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Hygienic Design and Location of Bottling plants

1.       Site – avoid locations that could create problems in the future, e.g., nearby chemical works, rivers that may flood, farming environments.  The latter are a significant risk if animals are close by.  Transport of contaminants on footwear into the plant can be a big issue and there is a higher risk of pest infestation, both from flying insects and rodents.  Many bottling plants are located on farmland where the spring source originates.

2.       Building – the building must be fit for purpose and approved for food production.  It is unwise to use converted barns and the building should be purpose built.  A high-risk area should be defined within the building where product in open bottles is present.  The bottling plant should be sealed off from the external environment and no external doors should open directly to the outside.  Windows should be non-opening preferably or, at least , fitted with insect grills.  Glass should be strengthened and shatter-proof, this applies to windows, doors and lighting.  Drains should be fitted with traps and kept clear of blockage.  Toilets and canteen areas should not open directly into the plant area.  A hygiene and cleaning schedule needs to be created for the whole building based on the risk analysis highlighted by the HACCP programme.  External areas should be policed for excessive rubbish accumulation and encroachment of vegetation.