Optimised Water Reduction Through Steam Sanitation Technology

The extended drought and climate variability has focused the need to continue to drive down water consumption at red meat processing plants. The use of 82°C water for organoleptic sanitation contributes greatly to plant operating costs. Cleaning equipment with pressurised steam enables impact temperatures >100°C. This study aims to investigate the use of steam sanitation of viscera tray surfaces as a way of optimising water reduction. Food contact grade steam was generated via Simon’s electric steam boiler VS300 with a steam capacity of 47.7kg/h and VS610 with a steam capacity of 159.1kg/h. Both boilers had a maximum design pressure of 750kPa. The initial study comprised of three 1/8-CD3 (one-piece nozzle to use with steam) nozzles ranging in size (0.5, 1.0 and 2.0) attached to a bar, connected to the boilers. Using triangular spray pattern calculations, the required amount of nozzles needed to adequately cover each tray was calculated for both small stock and beef. This trial was run on the small stock evisceration table where the maximum tray width and depth was 600mm and 100mm respectively. A minimum distance of 120mm from nozzle release to tray surface was achieved. The secondary study incorporated a steam bath and tunnel. Pipes were connected from the boilers and attached to a coil which would be super-heated from the steam and therefore boil the water in the bath. The steam bath sat 140mm below tray surface. Current conditions (82?C water sanitation) were found to perform sanitising methods to satisfactory organoleptic standards. All three designs of the steam injection bars used in the first study produced steam at a temperature of approximately 30°C at the distance of 120mm. Further research into steam physics and trial performance indicated that the aforementioned steam injection design lacks the ability to produce steam at the required pressure, ensuring that at a distance of 120mm the mandatory temperature of 82°C was met. Microbiological post sampling and the visual assessments were unable to be conducted. At this time, due to the operational facilities available, the design of the initial study was unable to produce steam at the desired pressure, and therefore temperature, which would enable the trays to be sanitised.