Sweet success for vegetable processor

May 2020

It’s a sweet thing when you can gain an extra day of productivity by changing your food contact sanitiser programme.

That’s what fruit and vegetable ingredient producer Cedenco Foods has achieved since they introduced our Terminex sanitiser at their Gisborne processing site.

Cedenco produces large tonnages of IQF (Individually Quick Frozen) whole kernel sweetcorn from January – April each year, some of which is destined for export markets, produced under the world leading FSSC22000 food safety quality standard.

Previously, Cedenco had used a well-known peracetic acid product to dose its belt spraying system in the post-blanching cooling tunnel and in the defrost water system for the freezers on its IQF line.

“This was used to control microbial build up and eliminate any possibility of Listeria in the product, explains Cedenco’s Technical Specialist Gary Lee.

“Once sweetcorn season has started, it becomes a high pressure 24/7 operation around here, explains Gary and any cleaning and sanitizing improvement that can save downtime is of great benefit, however this can’t be at the expense of product safety and quality.

“While the peracetic acid product worked OK, there were numerous downsides to using it,” says Gary.  These included the high cost-in-use of the product, the requirement of a special license to store and use it (being a Class 5.1 Oxidiser Dangerous Goods), the health and safety concerns of staff handling it, its pungent odour, and the fact that it cost us significant money in maintenance after every season in repairing corrosion to our equipment.

“Also, importantly, our main export market of Japan does not permit the use of peracetic acid on food”.

Hygiene Technologies approached Gary with the concept of utilising the unique Terminex chlorine dioxide product, as an alternative. Cedenco had previously investigated chlorine dioxide but it had only been available via companies that would lease a generator to manufacture it on demand.  The problem with these is that they were either too small to keep up with the volumes required, or would cost more ‘in-use’ than peracetic acid.

“The solution we came up with for Cedenco was to supply our Terminex pre-activated product in a 1 ton collapsible bag-in-box format,” explains Glen Senior from Hygiene Technologies.  The way this works means that it is a closed loop dispensing format, which is very safe to store, dispense and use, with the product not being exposed to the air or needing to be manually handled by staff at any time”.

The recommendation was to run this through an automatic monitoring and control dosing system specified and sourced by Hygiene Technologies, at a constant low dose of chlorine dioxide, for both the blancher spray and defrost water system.

This dose rate was further verified by site quality staff during processing, by a brilliantly simple and easy to use, portable electronic monitor.

Now that this year’s sweetcorn season has finished, the verdict is it “has proved a complete success from every aspect,” says Gary.

“Compared to the peracetic acid, Terminex has cost us significantly less at the end of the season, and has allowed us to run for a whole extra day before stopping to clean, because the micro levels stayed very low.  As you can appreciate, an extra days processing in a 24/7 production situation, is huge.

“Additionally, there have been no health and safety concerns or complaints from staff, and we no longer have to maintain a license to store and use this, as Terminex is not classified as  Dangerous Goods.

“The micro levels throughout the season have been maintained below world class standards and our engineers report that there is no corrosion evident in their post season inspection.  In summary, we are very happy with our decision to swap out to the Terminex system” sums up Gary.

Glen from Hygiene Technologies points out that this new bulk packaging format for Terminex has opened up a range of new possibilities for processors to cost effectively use this well proven product in larger-use applications such as sanitising and bio-fouling removal for CIP circuits, biocidal control and iron/manganese removal in smaller water systems, and direct food contact sanitising for produce etc.

To find out what possibilities this could have for your process, contact us now or call us on 0800 REAL CLEAN (0800 732 525).