In our production facility that processes fish and packages it using a vertical form fill seal bagging system, we had an issue with our cleansing protocols and the bagging machines. Animal food products can be a source for a lot of contaminants. Salmonella has been in the news a lot when it comes to fresh produce, so we absolutely did not want any such concerns with our fish packaging plant.
We have new machines that can take the harsh washdown procedures we use on our machines. We actually learned about them from another plant that packages fresh poultry. They have an extremely tough washing protocol for cleansing the machines due to poultry being known to harbor pathogens such as salmonella.
A washdown procedure gets rid of any debris and germs. When it comes to food products derived from animal sources, the proteins can stick to surfaces easily, and this requires a harsher washing protocol to make sure that surfaces are sufficiently sanitized so that production can continue. Now that we have the new bagging machines that can take the washing protocol without any issues, we no longer have the delays in production due to needing to be careful with how we clean the baggers so as to not damage them.
Using machines to clean machines is more cost effective than doing it by hand. It can take a lot of man hours to hand clean a large machine. Plus, machine cleansing using machines is more thorough and reliable. However, all of the machines on your production line need to be able to handle such cleaning without damage or breaking down. What we needed was waterproofing standards that would prevent water intrusion from washing the machines. The machines also need to not react or corrode when exposed to cleansers used in the food industry on machinery. Now we have good baggers that hold up like the rest of our production line equipment.