If you are in the business of preparing, boxing and/or bottling food, you know how very important your food conveyor belts are. You also know that you need to keep these conveyors clean and sterile, or your plant could face steep fines and even be shut down for code violations. Here are three different types of food conveyor belts and how to clean them.
Pop-Apart Conveyor Systems
Some food conveyor manufacturers have created systems that require no nuts and bolts. The systems quickly pop apart and pop back together so that your cleaning crew can remove one piece at a time, clean it, sanitize it and put it back before moving to the next part. If you have this type of system, the manufacturer recommends that you either A) completely disassemble one section at a time, clean all the parts, sanitize all the parts and put it the conveyor section back together or B) you remove one or two parts at a time, clean the parts, sanitize the parts and then put the parts back. Given that this type of system is quick to assemble and disassemble, your cleaning crew will be able to clean it much faster.
Antimicrobial Conveyor Systems
This type of conveyor system requires far less cleaning and sanitizing. If your plant has an anti-microbial conveyor system, then all you really need to do is wipe down the belts with a mild detergent and hot water, followed by a USDA-approved sanitizing chemical. The manufacturers of this type of conveyor system will include additional cleaning instructions that will help the antimicrobial properties of the system remain intact.
Standard Food Conveyor Systems
One standard food conveyor manufacturer advises that these systems should be cleaned using "clean in place spray bars", which can be activated at the flip of a switch after food production for the day is complete. The spray bars are most helpful and efficient, and cut back on the number of extra hours your plant's workers would otherwise have to stay behind to clean the equipment for the next shift or the next production time. They also eliminate the need to shut down the plant for a day or two while all of the equipment is disassembled and/or washed entirely by hand.
You may also utilize special types of pressure washers. These pressure washers are designed to be used only in food manufacturing and packaging industries. These are not your typical outdoor, residential use pressure washers, and the two are not interchangeable. The pressure, temperature and cleaning solutions are all vastly different for food industry washers, and with good reason--they follow FDA and USDA guidelines.