Baking & Snack - June 2018 - 125
Bakers should consider the environmental impact of their sanitation strategies.
Earth Day is an annual event to increase general community awareness of environmental challenges the
The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and I remember it quite well. It was a beautiful spring day on
my college campus in Pennsylvania, and there was a
large display of rusty chemical drums and explanations
of the risks of lead in gasoline, gas-guzzling cars, polluted water and industrial pollution of the air and water.
With the general population and industry working as
advocates, the environment is much cleaner today. But
there are still concerns and more we can do, especially
There are some small and large steps that bakers can
take to mitigate our impact on the planet, starting with
water. Reducing the amount of water used for cleaning
equipment and infrastructure does not only help to conserve it but also may reduce microbial contamination.
In addition to reducing water, we must also consider
what we allow to go down the drain. These byproducts
of sanitation increase the Biological Oxidation Demand
(BOD) of a plant's wastewater discharge and the hydraulic load.
Some of the bakeries I have visited during the past few
years are transitioning to more dry cleaning than wet.
In doing so, they are seeing a reduction of the environmental Listeria and other microbial indicators. In some
cases, when less water was used for equipment cleaning,
there was also a reduction in mold count and consumer
complaints for moldy products. I have been quoted numerous times when I say, "Dry is good, dry and dryer is
better, while dry, dryer and dryer yet is best."
To avoid "water brooming," dry pick-up tools like
scrappers, shovels and brooms will reduce not only the
amount of water used but also the number of solids going to the drain and effluents. Teams need to be trained
on these methods. The sanitation lead should also explain the reasons to use less water and do more dry
cleaning. There may be numerous reasons, and sanitors
might relate more to one than another.
Some equipment in a plant may have been wet
cleaned for years without anyone ever questioning the
rationale. It may be possible to dry clean equipment
some of the time and wet clean it only periodically. For
example, we worked with bakeries wet cleaning their
ambient spiral on a weekly basis even though the type of
soil did not justify a full washdown weekly. After questioning the rationale, the bakeries began dry cleaning
weekly and wet cleaning monthly. They saw a reduction
in the cleaning time, water usage and mold complaints.
It took some effort to explain the reasons and coach the
sanitors, but it paid off.
Water is one of the resources we can protect while improving quality and food safety. Let's start today.
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