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Archived - Dairy Establishment Inspection Manual – Chapter 16 - Inspection Criteria - Equipment Tasks

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This chapter has been developed to assist the inspector in evaluating the array of equipment used in dairy establishments. It provides the specific guidelines that are unique to the specific equipment tasks and the general guidelines that are applicable to all pieces of dairy plant equipment. It is to be used in conjunction with the dairy establishment's Maintenance and Sanitation Programs to evaluate the equipment and components which may affect the safety of the product.

General Inspection Criteria for Dairy Plant Equipment:

There are two major requirements of sanitary equipment design. The equipment must:

  1. Be cleanable
  2. Protect the food from contamination

To determine if a piece of equipment is cleanable the inspector must give attention to 3 factors. These include construction material, accessibility to the product contact surfaces and the equipment design. The possibility of product contamination due to accumulation of food residues, microorganisms and other contaminants is greatly affected by these factors.

  1. Construction Material:

    Able to withstand repeated cleaning and sanitizing. Rubber and plastics have limited operational life because over time they become brittle and susceptible to cracking. These cracks become sites for microbial contamination. The porous nature of wood makes it unsuitable for use in dairy establishments. Microorganisms and soluble food particles are able to migrate into the wood where they may be protected from normal cleaning processes.

    Able to be effectively cleaned on a repeated basis.

    1. Product contact surfaces
      • stainless steel or corrosion resistant
      • inert, non-toxic, non-absorbent
      • easily cleaned and disinfected, impervious, smooth, free of imperfections
    2. Non product contact surfaces
      • corrosion resistant or painted
      • non-absorbent, durable, cleanable
      • smooth surfaces
  2. Equipment Design:

    The effectiveness of cleaning is dependent on the design. Inadequately rounded corners, sharp angles and dead ends are impediments to good cleaning. Other design features that have the potential for creating spots where food residues can accumulate are the locations of monitoring, control and recording devices. These include thermometer wells, pH probes and sampling ports.

    1. Facilitate cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance. Ideally the equipment should be easily dismantled to allow access to the product contact surfaces for manual cleaning and subsequent inspection. Enclosed equipment that can't be dismantled is cleaned by CIP (clean-in-place) methods. The use of CIP techniques may reduce the potential for human error that can be associated with manual cleaning.

      Product contact surfaces: self draining, no dead ends, free of impediments to product flow and sites where contamination may build up, in contact with circulating cleaning solutions, visible for inspection when assembled or readily disassembled, allows CIP where possible, adequate space within and around equipment.

    2. The ability of the piece of equipment to protect the food from contamination from outside or within the food equipment. Throughout the processing steps, it is necessary to protect the product from environmental and other contaminants. For example, condensate from overhead pipes may drip into an open vat. Covers should be installed over tanks, hoppers, flumes, conveyors, and other open equipment to prevent debris from entering the system. Closed systems are best but points where the food enters and exits the system are still vulnerable.
      • covers; close fitting, downward lip
      • protection from draining or dripping
      • no open gratings or stairs over processing equipment
    3. Specific Areas of Interest
      • Seams and joints
        • permanent welds; smooth; flush; resistant to stress
      • Seals and gaskets
        • removable or bonded
        • non toxic; non absorbent; non-extruding
      • CIP spray balls
        • designed to allow inspection and removal of debris
      • Conveyor belt
        • endless; no metal stitching or lacing
  3. Cleanliness
    • no residues; product, cleaners or others
    • no leaking lubricants
    • free of flaking material; paint and rust
    • sanitized prior to startup

Specific Inspection Criteria for Dairy Plant Equipment

Butter equipment tasks Churns (HS=2)

  1. Conventional Churns
    • specific areas to examine include door gasket, buttermilk valve, vent, cream inlet fitting
    • look for deep pitting or corrosion on interior of churn, cracks
  2. Continuous Churns
    • specific areas to examine include cream inlet and fittings, hollow interior of beater, screens used for buttermilk removal, buttermilk outlet, couplings of working augers, dosing ports for injection of salt slurry
    • look for dead ends, open seams, exposed threads or bolted joints on beaters, product accumulation in-between working and header plates, butter residue in chamber.

Large continuous churns have product contact components of such size, weight and complexity that complete disassembly is a major undertaking, therefore cleaning reliance is placed on CIP procedures which are recommended by the churn manufacturer. Verify the cleanliness of the equipment by checking areas that may be difficult to clean and that may cause contamination. Buttermilk Equipment (HS=3)

Buttermilk, the by-product of butter churning, may be sold for animal feed or receive further processing and be used for human consumption (e.g., buttermilk powder, blending with fluid milk for use in other products). Printers (HS=2)

Butter is wrapped in a continuous process using automatic printer-wrappers. There are various types of printers in use: pound, microprint and 25 kg. The butter is extruded through a die in the proper shape and cut off at the desired length. Reworker (HS=2)

This task assesses reworkers used in butter or cheese operations.

A reworker is used to prepare blocks of tempered butter for moulding and packaging in a print operation. Essentially it is an auger conveyor that makes the butter malleable as it travels to the print machine. It is important that the rework operation be carried out at the proper temperature to ensure good textural properties. Poor reworking that disrupts the butter emulsion will result in free water. These water droplets facilitate the activity of microorganisms and consequently the deterioration of butter.

Another example where reworkers are used would be during the processing of pasta filata type cheeses such as mozzarella cheese. Forewarmer (HS=3)

When the plant makes butter from cream which needs neutralizing, the term "forewarmer" is used to designate a coil type vat for warming the cream for neutralization. The cream is then pumped out to the HTST system or vats for batch pasteurization. When cream is neutralized and pasteurized in the same vat then evaluate under « Coil Vat »:

Cheese Equipment Tasks Cheese vats (HS=2)

This task assesses open and closed vats. Ricotta cheese "vats" are to be scored under this task. Curd knives (HS=2)

This task only assesses curd knives used with open vats. Curd knives for enclosed vats are rated with task Cheese Vats.

Cutting the cheese into uniform size cubes is important for proper cooking, salting and composition control. The knives used in open vats may be mechanically or manually operated. These knives are subject to a substantial amount of repair work due to their construction; the wires can be quite fragile. Drain tables (HS=2)

Typically the drain table is a long rectangle with a central drain trough, covered by perforated or slotted drain plates. Some drain tables have gasketed, liquid tight end doors. In use, the curd/whey mixture is run from the curd vat into the tank. Curd screens and sifters (HS=2)

Curd screens and curd sifters are used to remove curd particles from the whey. Due to the small holes in the screens, they are usually difficult to clean and must be carefully examined. Agitator carriages (HS=2)

This task refers to agitator carriages used for open cheese vats and drain tables. It also includes curd forkers.

Note: Agitators used within other pieces of equipment are evaluated with that particular equipment task. Curd mill (HS=2)

Most curd mills for cheddar cheese are rotary type, but Mozzarella cheese requires a dicer type unit that uses a plunger to force the curd through sturdy knives. Wash water tank and filter (HS=2)

Following the cooking process, the cheese curd is washed. Hoop filler (HS=2)

This task assesses the hoop filler that is used to direct cheese curd into cheese hoops. Cheese hoops and moulds (HS=2)

Note: Wooden cheese moulds (640's) are assessed under - Finished Product Storage. Hoop and rack washer (HS=3)

This task examines the method used to wash hoops and racks used in the manufacture of cheese. Cleaning can be accomplished in a variety of ways, ranging from soaking the hoops and racks in cleaning solutions to automatic washing equipment. This activity produces high moisture conditions which are optimal for microbial growth. This activity is to be carried out in a sanitary manner in an area away from manufacturing areas where the product is exposed to the atmosphere. If high pressure washing systems are used, aerosols are likely to form and pose microbiological risks. It is recommended that these systems be located outside of processing areas. If it is not possible to locate these pressure washer systems outside of processing areas they can be used in processing areas to wash hoops and racks provided appropriate precautions, deemed acceptable by the inspector, are taken to ensure control of aerosols and other airborne contaminants Presses (HS=4)

The press compresses the cheese after it has been placed in the hoops. This aids the expulsion of whey and the development of a compacted cheese. Because the pressing step may be done under a vacuum it also assists in cooling the curd. Press cloths (HS=2)

Press cloths are used in the pressing operation to aid in the development of a smooth rind. Traditional materials have been replaced with textured synthetic cloths; as well, finely perforated stainless steel moulds have eliminated the need for cloths. Moisture probes (HS=2)

This task is used in plants which are making cheese in large styles, such as barrels, 640 pound blocks, etc. It uses vacuum probe equipment to withdraw whey from the cheese. Chill tank (HS=2)

Moulded cheese must be cooled before it is placed in the brine tank. This task refers to the tank and the water used for cooling. Since chilling is a post pasteurization step, it is important that the water used be potable and the tank be in good condition. Molding equipment (HS=2)

The Pasta Filata category of cheeses includes such varieties as Mozzarella and Provolone. The curd produced in the manufacture of these cheeses is allowed to develop into a curd mass. This curd mass (plastic curds) is then kneaded and formed mechanically into moulds or shaped by hand. Although the curds can be manipulated by hand, the kneading process is generally done by machine.

Note: Hand molding is examined under task Hygiene and Health. Utensils used for hand molding are evaluated under task Supplementary Utensils. Vacuum chamber (HS=3)

The pressing time of cheese blocks can be reduced by using vacuum to remove air from the curd and give a more compact cheese. It is important that this process does not contaminate the cheese. In particular, the contamination of the outer surface of the cheese with anything that is liable to modify the development of the surface flora (inhibitors or activators) is to be prevented. Brine tanks (HS=3)

Brine tanks can be constructed from a variety of materials which include concrete, glazed ceramic, fibreglass (acceptable food contact surface) and plastic. When choosing a brine tank it is important to bear in mind the corrosive effect of salt and its impact on the external surfaces of the tank.

Note: Although the frequency of cleaning the brine tank is evaluated under this task, the frequency of changing the brine is evaluated un task Brine Control. Draining racks (HS=2)

Draining racks are used in the manufacture of specialty cheeses. These racks are product contact surfaces. Cutting equipment (HS=2,3)

The equipment used to cut blocks of cheese prior to packaging or for trimming before processing into process cheese are designed, operated and maintained so that they are not a source of contamination. Waxing tank (HS=3)

Varieties of cheese, such as Gouda, Danbo and Elbo may be coated with wax or plastic resins. Some cheese may be waxed over a bandage. The bandage must be dry so that the wax coat does not peel away. Waxes of different melting points are available. They range from 49°C to 82°C. The wax must be applied at the correct temperature. If the wax is applied at too high a temperature there is a chance that steam pockets may develop and the wax will not adhere to the cheese. These steam pockets may also negate the mould growth inhibition provided by waxing. If the wax is applied at too low temperatures, the wax will also not adhere to cheese. Cheese smokehouse (HS=3)

Smokehouses are used to impart a wood smoke flavour in the manufacture of cheese. They may be equipped with an indicating thermometer and recording chart.

Dry Products Equipment Tasks Surge tank (HS=2,3)

The surge tank refers to tanks such as those located between the evaporator and dryer or a holding tank prior to a fluid milk filling machine. Because the product in the vessel is pasteurized it is important that re-contamination of the product does not occur. Whey crystallizing tank (HS=2)

Sweet whey contains approximately 5% lactose. In the range of 7-10°C this lactose will crystallize out of the whey. This crystallization process is done prior to drying to reduce the level of hygroscopicity. This minimizes the caking and lumping in the final powder. For successful crystallization agitation and temperature need to be well controlled. High pressure pump (HS=2)

The high pressure pump is used to push the concentrated milk at high pressure into the spray dryer. This pump is not designed for CIP cleaning; however if a special procedure has been established and proven effective, this type of cleaning is satisfactory. Drying chamber (HS=2)

The drying chamber may be used for drying milks and by-products or cheese to make cheese powder. It will be necessary to enter some makes of dryers to inspect them. Special shoe covers and clean and appropriate clothing must be worn. Interior surfaces made of galvanized iron are unsatisfactory. Tile floors in the drying chamber are unsatisfactory.

Various cleaning procedures are acceptable, depending on the construction of the equipment.

Many drying chambers are of the cone or tube type, and they are cleaned daily by dry methods. The frequency of wet cleaning is determined by the condition of the dryer chamber. This cleaning must be thorough to prevent the build-up of caked powder.

Although the main drying chamber of some dryers is routinely wet cleaned, the collectors, coolers and conveying systems are wet cleaned less frequently. It is important to prevent vapours from penetrating into these dry areas during wet cleaning of the main chamber. This can be achieved with valves, shut off plates on ducts, or making a complete disconnect by using polyethylene liners over openings etc. Collectors (HS=3)

This task includes bag type filters, cyclone type collectors, and wet scrubbers.

Collectors are used in the drying systems to separate the powder from the air. They are basically two dry types: bag filters or various modifications of the centrifugal cyclone principle. Bag filters are usually employed as a secondary collector i.e. after the cyclone collector. Inspection is usually done by opening the drying systems inspection port or manhole and the condition of the bags is checked from the outside. It is not necessary to have bags removed for additional inspection. When the dryer is wet cleaned or when it is idle, it is imperative that the bag filters are protected against moisture pick-up.

Inspection ports or manholes on cyclone type collectors should be opened for inspection of interior surfaces. Some cyclone collectors are CIP cleaned. In this case check for proper cleaning of the interior surfaces.

In wet collectors or scrubbers, liquid milk or water scrubs the air from the cyclones by bubbling it through the liquid. The fines are removed from the air and the air is cooled prior to being exhausted. The scrubbing liquid is recirculated and periodically removed. The liquid containing the fines may be redried or disposed of. The conditions in a wet collector are ideal for microbial growth; thermophilic bacteria are a serious problem in the foam. Incorporation of these collected fines into the product going for drying is a satisfactory practice if the fines are properly collected and handled. Redryer (HS=2)

This task refers to equipment used to further dry partially dried product and equipment used for instantizing systems.

In these redryers heated air is used so it is important to evaluate the quality of air going into this dryer. Powder cooling system (HS=2)

Cooling of dry powder in most systems is accomplished by introducing the hot product into a stream of moving cold air. The mixture is then separated in cyclones and powder is discharged through an air lock device.

The air quality, the cooling equipment and moisture condensation does not pose contamination risk to the dried powders.

Since the cooling system handles only dried product, the related piping, cyclone, and fan usually do not require frequent cleaning. When the rest of the dryer system is wet washed, there should be segregation of the cooling components to protect them from water splashing and humid air.

In order to improve the efficiency of a powder cooling system, sometimes provision is made for water or mechanical refrigeration cooling of the air before the powder pickup point. Air drawn for cooling is to be properly filtered. Most of these cooling units are of fin and coil construction and are difficult to clean. The presence of accumulated powder in these units results in unpleasant odours and poor sanitation conditions.

Some dry powders are cooled with jacketed equipment. This is satisfactory when it is properly constructed and when operated so as to prevent moisture condensation on product contact surfaces. Storage bins (HS=2)

Frequent cleaning is usually not necessary if the storage bin is kept closed and in dry condition. Wet cleaning frequency will depend on actual need conditions.

A storage bin is usually equipped with a top vent to allow air escape and entrance during filling and emptying operations. Such vent openings are equipped with a suitable filter. This filter will prevent escape of product dust and filter air entering the bin. Usually the filters are sock type or cartridge units. Exhaust stack (HS=3)

Exhaust stacks are part of the spray drying systems from where dryer or cyclone air is exhausted to the atmosphere. Some dryers have two or more exhaust stacks. It is important that exhaust stacks have self-closing doors to prevent environmental contamination from entering the drying system. Cooling tower (HS=4)

Non-potable water is sometimes used in evaporators with open or closed condensers. Such water might be recirculated on cooling towers to cool it. Cooling towers are usually located on the roof and are often the cause of roof deterioration. Vacuum cleaner (HS=4)

Dry cleaning is applicable in situations in which the soil is dry and relatively fine and where wetting this soil could hydrate it to the point where microbial growth could occur. Dry milk powder plants use dry cleaning techniques in the drying and packaging areas of the plant. Brooms and hand sweepers which can be used for this purpose usually create dust problems and redistribution of the dust material. Vacuum cleaners are the best alternative for this purpose.

Special industrial vacuum cleaners are satisfactory, however, a central vacuum system is advantageous in that it allows for more convenient locations of vacuum outlets. With a central vacuum system, the central collector is to be outside of the processing areas and discharge to the exterior of the plant. Vibrating sifter and screen (HS=2)

This equipment is used to sift the milk powder to produce a finished product of the desired granule size. Like other parts of equipment within the drying process, routine dry cleaning (vacuuming) is satisfactory. Wet cleaning should be performed when needed. The inspection should determine the effectiveness of this dry cleaning to reduce the amount of residual powders that may become a contamination problem. This is of particular importance when drying hygroscopic products such as lactose or protein powders.

Stainless steel mesh is most commonly used for screening surfaces; others used include cotton, linen, silk or synthetic fibres. Hopper (HS=2,3)

This task refers to equipment with a hopper used to receive the product from storage bins, e.g. powder; it also applies to hoppers used in the manufacture of dairy products, e.g. process cheese. Hoppers need to be monitored to ensure they do not retain product for excessive periods of time due to the risk of microbiological contamination. Agglomerator (HS=2)

Reconstitution is the re-wetting of a dry powder usually with the original amount of water. If this state can be reached very quickly then the product is said to have instant properties. Particles of less than 100 um are very difficult to reconstitute. Improvement of wettability is achieved by the instantizing process. In the instantizing process the particles are agglomerated to granules of 1 to 3 mm. Sizing rolls (HS=2)

This equipment is used in the instantization process and is usually located after the redryer. Shaker table (HS=2)

This equipment is used after the redryers in the drying process to remove the "tailings" from the dried product.

Evaporated products equipment tasks Hotwell (HS=2)

Hotwells are tanks located upstream of the evaporator used for product preheating. Preheating reduces the microbial flora, increases the effectiveness of the evaporation process and stabilizes the proteins. Evaporator (HS=2,3)

Evaporators may be of different types: e.g. rising or falling film, or plate type. Evaporators usually have multiple effects; newly designed evaporators have multiple tubular passes instead of multiple effects.

Specific areas to examine include design (clean and free of open seams), cleanliness and condition; understanding product flow with special attention to the following:

  1. Tube chests or heating plates, if the evaporator is of the plate type
  2. Passages connecting tube chests and evaporating chambers
  3. Underside of distributing plates, baffles, vacuum separator devices
  4. Vapour ells (they should be cleaned all the way around to the point where they slope away from the milk zone in the evaporator). Because of their construction, they are best cleaned with spray balls
  5. Control valves for regulating product inlet and transfer to subsequent stages
  6. Dead ends in piping
  7. Air release valves, manhole gaskets and sight glass gaskets
  8. Non-product contact surfaces must be kept in good condition

Fluid milk products equipment tasks Case washing room (HS=4)

This task assesses the case conveyor, case stacker and unstacker and case washer. However, because it is evaluated within the fluid milk packaging section it is necessary to give consideration to other tasks such as ventilation, pest control, interior structure and personnel movement while evaluating this task. This area could pose a microbiological contamination risk because of the high humidity conditions. Returned cases are to be gathered in an area that is physically separated from the processing area to reduce the risk of contamination of the plant environment. Case condition and handling (HS=4)

Plastic cases are used in the transporting of fluid milk and other dairy products. In this task we are looking at the condition of these cases and the equipment used in conjunction with these tasks for the shipping of milk products.

Frozen products equipment tasks Liquid sugar tank (HS=3) Flavour tanks (HS=2)

This task covers tanks where flavours are added to frozen dairy products or yogurt. It includes the assessment of the outlet valve and agitator. Freezers (HS=2)

This task applies to both ice-cream and yogurt freezers. The freezer includes the barrels (there may be numerous ones in one freezer), blades, pressure dials, air intake freezer pump, and pipes.

Note: Air quality supplied to the freezer is assessed under task Air Quality. Mixing vat (HS=2)

In cases where all the components going into the ice cream mix have either been previously pasteurized or are microbiologically safe and the product is being hygienically handled, the mixing vats are to be rated under this task: Fruit feeders (HS=2)

Fruit feeders inject fruit and nuts into the finished ice cream as it is discharged from the freezing chamber and may also be used to add fruit to vat set style yogurts as they are packaged or into the yogurt cup during the filling operation.

Note: Fruits and nuts are post pasteurization ingredients and are therefore potential contaminants which are assessed under task Incoming Ingredients. Ripple pump and equipment (HS=2)

This task covers the ripple tank, positive pump, ripple tube and ripple head.

Note: Syrups are post pasteurization ingredients and are therefore potential contaminants which are assessed under task Incoming Ingredients. Novelty equipment (HS=2)

Novelty machines form, freeze and package items as a complete process. Due to their design, these machines are inherently difficult to clean properly. Most product contact surfaces (i.e. molds, extrusion nozzles) are designed to be cleaned out of place. Keeping the non product contact surfaces, such as the housing and drive units clean, can be much more difficult. For example, product may seep into the drive unit and the undercarriage as a result of the equipment jamming.

Generally, rotary and line types of equipment such as the Vitaline are used to make the stick novelties. The molds of stick novelties are submerged in a refrigerant (brine or glycol) and the product is added in a liquid or semi-liquid state. The sticks are inserted, the product is extracted and coatings, nuts, etc. may then be applied before packaging. Other machine types may have enclosed cooling medium systems.

Extrusion equipment includes a product extruder, cookie dispenser, nut dispenser, enrober (adds coating), wrapper and in some cases a stick inserter. For this type of novelty, cold-air hardening is employed.

Specific areas to examine include the following:

Process cheese equipment tasks Grinders / graters (HS=2,3)

Grinders/graters are used to convert cheeses into small pieces or filaments or even to a fine powder. This ground product may be used as an ingredient in other foods, made into a process cheese product or sold as a grated cheese. Grating the cheese also facilitates the heating process.

The grating process increases the exposed surface area of product and thus increases the likelihood of bacterial contamination. Proper maintenance is required to ensure that foreign matter is not incorporated in the grated cheese mass. Metal detecting devices should be incorporated with this equipment. The metal detector is evaluated under task Weigh tank (HS=3)

This task evaluates the containers or weigh scales used for weighing, measuring or metering liquid products used as ingredients. Premix equipment (HS=2,3)

May be used for the incorporation of herbs, nuts and other flavourings with cheese curd prior to moulding and pressing. As well, in process cheese manufacture they are used for the blending of batches of cheese prior to cooking. Extruder (HS=2)

An extruder is a piece of equipment used to shape products. Vacuum treatment equipment (HS=4)

The vacreation process is used to remove volatile substances that are responsible for unpleasant flavours and odours in milk based products. It is a steam distillation process where pressurized steam is mixed with, for example cream, and the condensed vapour plus volatiles are removed by flash evaporation under partial vacuum.

Raw receiving equipment tasks Milk metering system (HS=3):

This task accesses all major components of the system and includes the deaerator, air eliminator, the meter itself and the filters. Since these systems may be used for payment or claim purpose it is important that the system is mechanically in good condition. Type A or E (depending upon provincial requirements) systems are used for this purpose. The accuracy of the meter is directly related to the physical condition of the impeller (ebonite) and the gasket. Mechanical sampler (HS=3)

Samples for microbial and composition analysis are taken as the raw milk enters the plant. Sampling devices tend to be made up of small parts and thus may become plugged with milk. Cans (HS=3)

Stainless steel cans and plastic (20 L) pails are sometimes used within the establishment to move products and prepare starter culture. Can washer and steamer (HS=4)

In mechanical can washing, the can is usually passed over a succession of jets emitting water, cleaner solution, hot water, steam and air. Temperatures usually used for wash solutions range from 55 - 60°C and for final rinses are 88°C or higher.

Universal equipment tasks Indicating thermometer (HS=2,3)

This task covers thermometers used to monitor temperatures in hotwells, etc. Indicating thermometers used in critical processes such as HTST pasteurizer, Batch pasteurizer, APPS, starter vats and thermal processing will be evaluated under their respective tasks. Recording thermometer (HS=3)

This is the instrument which automatically records the temperature of the product on a chart thereby providing a record of the process. Storage tanks (HS=2,3)

This task evaluates storage tanks used to store raw product and pasteurized milk or milk products. They also include auxiliary equipment (e.g. agitators, spray balls, etc.).

Storage tanks are used to hold cooled milk that is received at the plant, as well as process milk based products such as ice cream mix. These tanks may be either horizontal or vertical. The latter, generally large silos, are located at the exterior of the establishment.

The walls of the tanks are insulated. Ideally, the temperature of the product should not increase more than 2 °C (4°F) in a 24 hour period. If the product is to be held more than one day, refrigeration on tank walls may be required.

Agitation in storage tanks prevents fat separation and in the case of refrigerated tanks, aids in temperature control. Agitation may be mechanical or by air. If air is used for agitation, task Air Quality is also evaluated. Pumps (HS=2,3)

The design is a critical factor with respect to ease of cleaning of a pump. Proper cleaning will aid in the prevention of contamination of milk based products that come in contact with the pump. Pipelines and valves (HS=2,3)

The focus of the pipeline and valve inspection is the ease of cleaning and the risk of contamination at product contact surfaces. This includes the interior of the pipes, the junctions between pipes and certain parts of the valve.

In many plants, the elimination of joints in the lines has resulted in long sections of pipelines which make inspection difficult. In these cases judge the acceptability of these pipelines based on plant conditions, cleaning effectiveness and microbiological results. Separator / clarifier (HS=2,3)

The separator/clarifier is a piece of auxiliary equipment that mechanically separates milk into fat and skim milk by centrifugation. Self cleaning separators also provide a clarifying function by regularly desludging the somatic cells, leucocytes and other inedible materials.

Note: If the separator is utilized in the HTST pasteurizer system its compliance requirements will be rated under HTST Separator/Clarifier tasks - .04 in Chapter 11. Homogenizer (HS=2,3)

This task assesses the homogenizer that is used only to homogenize the milk product.

Note: Homogenizers located within a HTST system are evaluated under Flow Control Device, tasks - .03 or Homogenizer, tasks - .04 (under HTST Pasteurization Tasks - Chapter 11). Packaging and sealing equipment (HS=2)

The packaging and sealing step of manufacture (e.g. in the case of retail cheese packaging or for fluid product packaging) is required to protect the product from contamination by dirt, foreign material, odours, insects, rodents, microorganisms. It also ensures the integrity of quality factors such as flavour and moisture content. There are two potential risks:

  1. Contamination that can be carried into or onto the food itself by the packaging and sealing process
  2. Contamination that might occur if the package or seal barrier is broken or compromised in some way

Packaging and/or sealing may be done by the equipment alone or by means of vacuum, heat, hot water or gas flushing. Fillers (HS=2)

This task refers to the automated filling of containers with milk or milk products (soft cheeses, ice cream, process cheese, and yogourt). Blender / Texturizer (HS=2)

This task includes blender covers, agitators, motor assemblies, and supply lines (may include steam supply).

Blenders are used in dairy establishments to blend dry ingredients such as milk powders and other dry ingredients to the fluid milk portion of milk based products (e.g. starter culture fermentation base). Industrial blenders, blender horn assemblies and tanks used to blend or mix dry ingredients are evaluated using this guideline. As well, this task covers similar equipment used to melt and/or texturize the product (e.g. for process cheese processing). Conveying equipment (HS=2,3,4)

This is the equipment that moves product from one unit of operation to another. The risk of product contamination is dependent on the type of conveying equipment involved. The types of equipment have different levels of product contact, and therefore fall into various health and safety categories. For example, air conveyors used to move salted curd to the hooping station have direct and intimate contact with the product while conveyors used for moving packaged product into storage areas have no contact with the product. Conveyor types include auger; belt, roller, chain; bucket elevators; pneumatic ("airveying"); carts. Salting equipment (HS=3)

This equipment is used to add salt to butter and cheese (including process cheese). There are various salt addition techniques, ranging from simple manual methods to automated equipment. Brine tanks that immerse cheese in a salt solution are evaluated under task Brine Tanks.

Note: Salt scoops will be evaluated under task - Supplementary Utensils Supplementary utensils (HS=2,3)

This task covers all the various small tools and equipment not included in the regular inspection tasks. Packaging tables (HS=2,3)

This task is a direct product contact surface and it must be well designed and kept clean to prevent contamination risks. Filters (HS=2,3)

This task refers to the filtration of dairy products such as cream, evaporated milk, and hot process cheese. These filters are used to remove foreign particles (e.g. gaskets, brush particles etc.). Cream filters are required when cream is transported from plant to plant or if the cream is vat pasteurized. If a closed HTST system is used it is desirable but not necessary to filter the cream prior to churning.

Note: Air filters are evaluated under task Air Quality. Scales (HS=4)

This task evaluates the scales used in the processing area as well as those used for bulk and retail sales. It does not include analytical balances in the laboratory. Other equipment (HS=2,3)

This task covers equipment that is not included in any of the other regular inspection tasks

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