WASHING AND STEAM
STERILISING OF BOTTLES
IN SMALL FOOD PROCESSING
It is essential that all glass containers used for foods are clean
and in good condition. Many small food processors face
additional problems as they often rely, at least in part, on
recycled bottles or jars. The following suggest some possible
solutions to overcome bottle treatment problems.
All glass, whether new or recycled, must be treated as dirty and
considered unsuitable for packaging unless cleaned. Recycled
containers must be treated with great suspicion as they could
have been used for storing unpleasant materials. It is
recommended that all recycled containers are rigorously
inspected and rejected if there is any doubt as to their previous
Bottles should be washed, if possible, outside the general
production unit as glass splinters from the inevitable breakages
should be kept as remote from production as possible.
If labels need to be removed, overnight soaking in plastic tubs
full of water will prove useful.
Figure 1: Rotating brushes
with treated steel or bronze
Washing can be carried out in a large concrete sink lined with
rubber (e.g. car mats) to reduce breakages. The actual
cleaning can be done with nylon bottle brushes and detergent.
Rotating brushes with treated steel or bronze bristles are
available and are comparatively cheap, see Figure 1.
A very good small machine, Figure 2, incorporates both a
rotating brush and pump. By rotating the handle the brush
revolves and water is pumped through its head, finally draining
away through a tube to the drain.
The total removal of detergent bubbles can be very tiresome,
involving repeated filling and emptying. A simple multi-head
spray system will solve this problem,
see Figure 3.
Figure 2: A small machine
Once clean, washed glassware
should pass as soon as possible to
the packing area. It should be kept
inverted in boxes to prevent dust
and foreign bodies falling in through
Figure 3: A simple multi-head spray system
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