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Controlling Listeria Monoctyogenes in Fresh Cut Operations:

White Paper by Duke Diercks

Recent outbreaks of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes have drawn attention to the severity of lesteriosis in humans, and the risk of  L. monocytogenes in all foods.  The  risk is highest in refrigerated and ready-to-eat foods because L. monocytogenes is one of the few foodborne pathogens capable of multiplying at refrigerated temperatures.[1]

In Fresh-cut operations, the risk  is highest between the primary trimming and chopping step and the packaging step.  Common sites for this type of cross-contamination are:

  • Slicers, dicers, shredders, and  blenders
  • Conveyors
  • Holding containers such as bins, tubs or baskets
  • Collators used to assemble and arrange product before packaging
  • Filling or packaging equipment

This does not include other areas for controlling listeria such as floors, drains, walls, trolleys and forklifts.

In many facilities now effective sanitation includes the time consuming and labor intensive steps of:

  • dry cleaning
  • pre-rinsing equipment
  • foaming and scrubbing
  • cleaning walls, floors and drains
  • rinsing
  • visually inspecting of equipment
  • sanitizing
  • drying

However, the most reliable method of sanitizing equipment is with heat.  Heat may be applied using hot water or steam.

Using super heated steam has been cited as the most effective means of controlling the listeria bacteria.

This important information was cited in a study by the University of  California at Davis. 

AmeriVap System’s Xtreme steam line of industrial steam cleaners provide the solution for delivering super-heated dry steam vapor to food packaging facilities. From the 9kw up to the 80kw steam generating unit, Xtreme Steam units generate very low moisture (5%) steam at 212 degrees at the point of contact and up to 150 psi. 

With available attachments, AmeriVap's Xtreme steam will clean and sanitize anything from drains to highly sensitive control panels and robotics.  And, with the available Houdini conveyor belt cleaning attachment, either continuous flat, or mesh type conveyor belts will be cleaned and sanitized without shutting down the production line.

In addition, water and wastewater usage will diminish radically.  This is especially important for wastewater management and compliance with Wal-mart’s Supplier Sustainability Initiative.

Since every facility is unique and has unique demands, contact AmeriVap Systems for more information and opportunities for green cleaning that is the most effective cited by experts.

[1] Suslow, Trevor, Harris, Linda.  Guidelines for Controlling Listeria Monocytogenes in Small to Medium Scale Packing and Fresh-cut Operations.  University of California, Davis.

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