Product Hold and Release Program

Hold and release is a process used to prevent products and materials that may not meet specifications from being used until investigations are completed.

In this video lecture, Shimmi Sebastian (Process Engineer) at PMG Engineering introduces the Hold and Release Program along with its importance in industry, its application, categories and many more components.

HTST Pasteurization

Pasteurization is the widely accepted heat treatment methods in food processing industry. Understanding the process, components, and operation forms the foundation of designing and operating a food processing factory.

In this video lecture, Shimmi Sebastian (Process Engineer) at PMG Engineering introduces the heat exchanger along with the basics on heat transfer process, principle, and components involved in Heat Exchanger.

Sterilization and Laboratory Equipment

Sterilization is one of the most important food processing steps, that enables extended shelf life of food products. It is imperative to understand and execute the process step correctly, otherwise, it may create a major food safety risk by spoilage of food by microorganisms. In this video lecture, Shimmi Sebastian (Process Engineer) at PMG Engineering defines Sterilization and its importance, while differentiating it from Sanitization or Disinfection. She further talks about the various methods and typical equipment used for Sterilization in the food industry.

Need for Training & Education in Food Facility

The recent era has seen various food-borne-related disease breakout that has threaten the public health in the global level. For anyone involved in the processing or handling of food products, it is necessary to have Food Safety Training. And this is not mandatory from a performance and competency viewpoint but rather it is a legal complaint. Reason is simple, no unskilled or untrained person should handle food products. Risk in the involvement of unskilled handlers is hygiene and quality issues. A person having no to low knowledge of handling process will make low quality, an unhygienic product which can cause serious health issues to consumers. The good practices from training, prevent customers from suffering food poisoning and allergic reaction, minimize food waste and make food premises a pleasant and safe place to work.

It also needs to be kept in mind that there is no direct link between training, knowledge, and practice. It is important that management supports the training of their employees and the provided training is relevant to what everyday job role. The commercial advantage to any manufacturing firm from having skilled and trained employees is competitive and profitable approach, high-performance standard and production of safe and legally complained food product.

Role of Management  

Any food handling business looking for success needs to give equal importance to food safety training as given to production. Management needs to understand that failure in food safety leads to cost money, damage reputation, and threaten long-term health of the business. Initiating and providing workers with food safety training is an effective way of letting them know about the food safety duties, which helps in ensuring that food reaching customers are safe. An organization having trained workers and making them aware of this fact to their prospective customers, make them feel confident about the foods they eat. Employers need to understand the positive and necessary value of safety training programs and hire trained workers or providing training to hired workers.

Practically it is very important to decide the length and area of training to get a better results, as some might require more intense training, while a short brief to some might work depending on the engagement of employees to food manufacturing.

How Food Safety Training Helps!

  1. Reduction in Food Waste– Production of quality product consistently, proves foods suitable for consumption. Training teaches proper handling of food products with minimum waste, saving time and money of manufacturer.
  2. Boosting Efficiency- When staff knows nothing of hygienic handling of food there will be haphazard in the processing of food. Chaos will always lead to errors. Training to workers helps understand and improve work activities among themselves, as a result, efficiency is maintained.  
  3. Faithful Customer– When an organization works on building good hygienic practices in the facility, the superior quality of the product itself opens the market and consumers tend to trust it.
  4. Legal Compliance– Law related to food safety requires that all handlers have sound knowledge of food safety-related issues and how to combat the situation. How processing, storage, cleaning techniques, handling, etc. in the facility help reaching the required food safety.
  5. Limiting cross-contamination– It is highly possible that cases of cross-contamination can be observed if the workers are not made aware of the issues related to cross-contamination. Providing training shall help workers to avoid such incidents.   

Responsibility of Food Safety Supervisor

Food Safety Supervisor is responsible for ensuring total compliance with all codes and standards of food safety. Keeping up with safety plans up to date and ensuring workers are keeping records. Planning is an important part of supervision. Identifying and performing checks for safety breaches in an organization, and properly training all employees on food safety standards are also involved in the job description.

It is important to link and associate training, area of training, duration, and practice of food safety in plant after training. This shall help and provide understanding to inconsistency on the effectiveness of training on food handlers. Food safety training courses should focus on the area of work and needs of employees. It is an important step in increasing understanding of the role of different food safety training components in determining the effectiveness of training on food handlers’ knowledge and behavior.

Cheese Processing and Manufacturing

Cheese is a widely consumed dairy product having history dating back from early 8000BC and still an important part of modern cuisine. Food industry has seen various changes in the cheese manufacturing as rise in demand from consumer suiting personal taste. Cheese falls under acidic milk product as its production include milk acidification and adding enzymes, which are responsible for milk coagulation. The solid curd received are then treated further like removal of liquid whey and are mould pressed to get the desired shape. In case there is no additives added during the production of cheese apart from coagulating agents, then that is natural cheese. Naturally occurring cheese are when prepared by treating with unfermented dairy product, flavoring agents, coloring agents, and other stabilizing & emulsifying ingredients, they are processed or prepared cheese.

Type of Cheese

Cheese are categorized in various groups depending on the texture, method of preparation, fermentation period, aging and various other parameters. Broadly they are categorized into-

Natural Cheese- Cheese, which are naturally occurring and have no additives apart from coagulating agent.

Cooked pressed Cheese- Group of hard and semi hard cheese. They are made using thermophilic lactic fermentation started hence named cooked. The temperature given is more than 45 Deg. C

Stretched curd cheese- Hot curd is mechanically stretched for various texture and to obtain required cheese form.

Processed Cheese- Natural cheese are processed to get the additional flavor, color and desired texture and was invented in Switzerland in early 1900’s.

Hard Cheese– These cheese are aged longer and has lower moisture content which makes them more harder in texture.

Some other generally known cheese and their description is in below table-

#

Cheese Type

Origin

Strength

Texture

Appearance

1

Gorgonzola

Italy

Sharp, strong

Creamy to crumbly

Pale yellow, white skin

2

Gouda

Netherland

Mild to strong

Semi hard to hard

Light to dark yellow

3

Gruyere

Switzerland

Medium to strong

Hard, firm, dense

Cream to orange

4

Mozzarella

Italy

Mild

Soft, chewy

Creamy White

5

Parmesan  

Italy

Medium to strong

Hard, Crumbly, granular

Pale Yellow

6

Ricotta

Italy

Mild, Slightly Sweet

Soft, creamy

Curd, white/light cream color

7

Roquefort

France

Strong, Tangy

Semi- Hard, Crumbly

White with large blue veins

8

Cream Cheese

United Kingdom

Mild, slightly sweet

Soft & Creamy

White Spread

9

Cottage Cheese

United States

Mild

Moist & Creamy

White Curd

10

Cheddar

England

Mild to pungent

Soft & smooth to crumbly

Pale white to orange

    

Parameters that can affect the cheese quality

  • Type of milk used for Cheese production
  • Temperature of renneting & subsequent cooking of the curd in the whey.
  • Treatment of curd after separation from the whey.
  • Degree of souring & fineness of cutting.
  • Time, temperature & relative Humidity of curing.
  • Milling & salting of the curd before placing it in the hoop or mould.
  • The pressure Applied to the cheese.
  • Special treatment such as pricking or stabbing the cheese, bathing in brine & surface treatment to produce.

Steps of Manufacturing

All cheese, irrespective of country of origin & methods of manufacture, possess certain characteristics in common. Below stated five stages are common in all type of cheese making. Sourcing, ripening, Clotting/coagulating by rennet or similar enzyme preparation,  Cutting of curd & release the whey, Matting the curd and Maturing/curing of cheese

Manufacturing steps in deep involves-

  1. Receiving – Only high grade milk can yield high grade cheese. The quality of finished cheese depends upon the quality of milk,
  2. Filtration & Clarification– Object being to remove any visible dirt in the milk so as to improve aesthetic quality of the cheese made.
  3. Standardization – Standardization of milk is main step in cheese making. In this step the SNF /Fat Ratio is adjusted i.e. 0.68-0.70. The main object for standardization of milk in cheese making regulate the fat in the dry matter & produce the maximum amount of cheese per kg of fat in the cheese.
  4. Pasteurization

The usual temperature time employed for pasteurization of cheese milk is:

  1. LTLT (Low Temperature & Long Time i.e 63°C for 30 Minutes)
  2. HTST (High Temperature & Short Time i.e. 71°C for 15 Seconds)
  3. Addition of Calcium Chloride – Excessive heat treatment cause the precipitation of a part of the calcium salt in milk, this results in slower renneting action & weaker curd , which can be corrected by addition 0.01-0.03 %calcium chloride to the milk.

  1. Addition of Starter – Starter is the heart of cheese. A bad starter give low quality of cheese. The usual time to add the starter added is to the extent of 0.5 to 1% of the milk at the 30-31°C .
  2. Addition of rennet – Rennet is added when it has been determined the acid is developing at the desired rate. When the acidity of milk has raised 0.02% rennet added of the milk at 30°C Temperature. After 25 to 30 minutes after addition of rennet start cutting of curd.
  3. Coagulation -The first signs of coagulation are bubbles of air that stir into the milk surface take longer break & flakes of curd when spatula dipped into the milk & withdrawn.
  4. Cutting -Cutting of firm coagulum into cubes of a specific size and this cutting can be in two way horizontal & vertical cutting by wire mesh.

  1. Cooking -This refers to the heating of curd cubes it begins within 15 minutes of cutting.
  2. Drainage of whey -This step involves the removal of whey from the curd.
  3. Cheddaring -This step is a combined operation of packing, turning, re-pilling the curd cubes.
  4. Salting – This step involves the salting of cheese cubes pieces. Salt in cheese enhances flavor, body & texture and then sent to cheese storage section at control temperature & RH room.

Any deviation in the processing parameter shall result in completely different texture and totally new form of cheese.

Zoning and Air handling – An Introduction

Zoning and Air Handling is a key pillar to achieve Hygienic Engineering in a Food Factory. It is extremely important to understand the basic concepts before the design of food processing units. In this video lecture, Shimmi Sebastian (Process Engineer at PMG) will discuss the fundamentals of Zoning and Air Handling.

Carbon Dioxide Processing and Milk

Thermal treatment of food product is always related to high impact on their nutritional and organoleptic values and a times are not desirable specially in case of thermally sensitive food products. Most general practice in dairy industry is having high temperature short time (HTST) pasteurization practice where the liquid milk is subjected to high temperature having range of 70-78 Deg. C, which although reduce microbial load in milk but the milk is in risk of losing thermally sensitive nutrients and enzyme, off flavor development due to overheating and other changes in organoleptic factors.

High pressure carbon dioxide, also known as HPCD is an emerging technology being used for thermally sensitive food product. A type of pasteurization that can be an alternative to thermal pasteurization in food industry. This technique is considered as an alternate to pasteurization as this process has been known for bactericidal effect.

Solubility of Carbon Dioxide-

The amount of carbon dioxide in any solution is known as the concentration of carbon dioxide. There is always saturation level, i.e., the maximum amount of carbon dioxide that can be dissolved in any liquid, present which is exploited during processing. Carbonation is the term given to the process of addition of carbon dioxide in liquid.

During the milking stage, milk already consists of certain percentage of CO2 ~5 millimole but with time, the concentration drops as it equilibrate with the atmospheric CO2. The solubility of CO2 in milk is controlled by temperature and product viscosity. The more the temperature, less the diffusion of CO2 in milk but increase in viscosity helps in diffusing more gas in higher temperature product. With slight infusion of CO2, freezing point of milk can be brought down but is reversible until the infusion is moderate.

How Microbes react to HPCD-

What makes the CO2 to be antimicrobial? Well, the acidification property and solvent properties helps in attaining the goal, and maximum effect can be attained in the supercritical state. The liquid form of CO2 has greater solubility and can penetrate through the microbes and disrupts the cells. The acidifying property when is doubled with pressure the bactericidal effect. Depending on applying temperature and pressure, impact on microorganism can be altered

  1. At low pressure and low temperature carbon dioxide can inhibit the growth of pathogenic microbes and alters the pH of the medium which infers double attach to the growth of microbes.
  2. At high pressure and moderate temperature, carbon dioxide tends to attack the microorganism and inactivates by destroying its cells.

Parameter influencing –

The process parameters such as temperature, pressure, time of exposure and agitation affects the overall shelf life of product in case of carbon dioxide processing.

  1. Temperature- Higher temperature facilitates the higher diffusion and penetration of carbon dioxide in the microorganism cells leading to more lethal effect on present microorganisms. But the optimal range is to be kept in mind while providing heat to the product as the higher temperature leads to less solubility of carbon dioxide in product. From past research it has been evident that temperature range of about 20- 45 Deg. C is optimal for carbon dioxide treatment.
  2. Pressure- When pressure is increased it has been noted that less exposure time is required for the deactivation of microorganism. Also fast depressurization also helps in the cause.
  3. Agitation- In case of no agitation, only the periphery microorganism shall come in contact with the carbon dioxide present in product hence, constant agitation facilitates the contact of carbon dioxide and microorganism hence high chances that the all microorganism in product is deactivated.

There has been almost hundreds of bacteria identified in the raw milk. All have different characteristics, and each have differently impacted when subjected to various processing conditions. The product composition also have important role to play on the shelf life and treatment effects. The statement is backup with various previous and ongoing studies. Addition of certain amount of starch didn’t affected the bactericidal effect of CO2 while presence of whey protein affects negatively on the efficiency of carbon dioxide processing. Also lower water content also reduces efficiency of CO2 treatment as it act as a protective barrier for microbial cells. Salt also affects the kill efficiency- Lower salt reduces the potency while higher salt concentration facilitates the kill efficiency of carbon dioxide processing.

To conclude, listing some of the attributes that can benefit the commercializing of carbon dioxide processing of food products.

  1. Low fat content
  2. High Water activity
  3. Low to moderate sugar content
  4. Alcohol and protein content
  5. Low pH and
  6. Low viscosity

Skimmed liquid milk fits precisely in this category and thick dairy products are hard to treat with the carbo dioxide pasteurization technique.

All studies till date conducted, including product shelf life, effect on food product, and others are of laboratory level which is the holding back point for this technology. Need of the time is to carry out extensive research on the utilization in commercial level so that the benefits can be fully commercialized.

Site Selection Criteria – For Food Factory

How important can a site or location of construction be for factory? Well answer is yes. When technically looking – there is need to follow certain criteria required for site selection and it positively helps the manufacturing unit in various ways. Selection of suitable site for constructing a new manufacturing unit can be quite complicated due to factors such as location, climatic condition, soil type, utility availability, manpower availability and ease of constructability.

Selection Criteria for food facility

For selection parameter, certain parameter or factors might be more important than others but all major and minor points need to be kept in mind for selection. Below are the few points that shall help understanding the selection criteria.

Local Geography- Geographical area is important as different area abides to different government regulations, which can be strict at one and flexible at another, hence having knowledge and updated data shall help. If the process involves of high-water usage and draining, it is important to check the drainage facility of the local area and related laws and if they it fits in the requirements.

Daily Operations- It includes raw material incoming and finished goods outgoing from the facility. It is required to lay down few questions before constructing the facility at certain area- the most important being the source of raw material and the targeted market for finished goods. Does that require access to interstate or other country movement and what sort of transportation mode is, also to be defined, whether it will be road, rail, air, or water.

Utility and water availability and cost- Having your utility matrix ready at time of site selection helps. During site selection one just need to check the if the area will be able to suffice the needs of electricity, water and others and its availability. One should focus on reducing the cost incurred on getting utilities to facility.

Distance to Resources- Developing and having strategic matrix for minimizing the transportation cost, by being at the hub of supply chain and raw material supply source.

Environmental Issue-

  1. It is crucial to understand the nearby area for any environmental issues. 1. There should be no garbage dump area in the nearby vicinity of facility as t shall attract rodents, pest, and flies to the facility.
  2. Other Industry- In case the location has nearby industry, it shall be important to understand their chemical discharge, effluent discharge, and quality of air. Reason being chemical or effluent if consist of hazardous material, might contaminate the soil and water of the area that will indirectly affect the quality of the product being processed in your facility. Pollutant air being released will also affect the finished good product quality.

Labor cost and quality- Technology has profoundly emerged with using fully automatic plant with less human intervention for constant quality product, but still there are many factories that are depend on skillful workers for processing. Having skillful workers in the vicinity area of facility would add on the purpose.

In Food industry the supply uncertainty of raw material is extremely high, as they are dependent on factors such as season and site of production hence the best proposed location is always where risk can be reduced and mitigate risk.

Air Dryer

Air Dryers are complementary equipment to air compressors in manufacturing units. Compressed air is used in direct contact with food products in many processes, e.g. fluidization, conveying, cooling, etc., and therefore, the quality of compressed air becomes critical to food safety. By limiting the moisture content of compressed air, Air Dryers prevent high-risk microbial contamination. In this video, Shivam Singh (Mechanical Engineer at PMG) talks about the working principles, components, types, and other aspects of Air Dryers.