Cleaning Food Tankers – a Job for Professionals in the Dairy Farming Industry

milk tankers
Scratch below the surface, and cleaning milk tankers to a professional standard is, perhaps, not as straightforward as one might expect (© ENFIT)

When it comes to dairy farming, it is not just the production of the milk itself that requires high levels of hygiene – proper cleaning, for example of food tankers, is also essential during storage and transportation.

For years, International Tank Cleaning Association ENFIT e.V. has been highlighting how important it is to clean transportation tanks and food tankers correctly. This is particularly the case for foodstuffs in powder form, but also very important for liquid foodstuffs such as milk. Every day in Europe, an almost inconceivable 250,000 tons of these kinds of products are shipped out using over eight million transport containers. Admittedly, some of these are on journeys within their companies, but many are also across long distances.

Milk Production and Hygienic Transportation

In dairy farming, it is not unusual for a food tanker to drive to Italy from distances as far as southern Germany, but sometimes even from the center and, in extreme cases, even from the north, through the Brenner Pass. Anyone who has ever traveled by car to Italy will know the distances involved, and how far it is to then continue to drive on to Naples after reaching the border. Add the outside temperatures into equation, and one can begin to get a feel for the situation…

Professional Quality for Dairy Farming

Faced with such extreme conditions, maximum food hygiene is of the utmost importance – after all, it’s the only way the milk in the food tanker will be suitable for further processing after the long journey. Karsten Hill, manager of tank logistics and the tank cleaning system at Wustermark-based Schulze Liquid Food Services GmbH (a subsidiary of the Nagel Group) sums up the situation: “If an entire tanker is being cleaned and disinfected for less than EUR 100 in the industry, high quality should not be expected.” According to Hill, it is not possible to clean a milk tanker to a high professional standard, for less than EUR 200 – contrary to this, milk is still considered to be a product that is easy to clean within the transport industry. ENFIT’s 2008 guidelines provide a basis for the standard process involved here; these were developed by a group of industry hygienists and cleaning and disinfection experts in collaboration with cleaning system operators and logistics specialists.

Commissioning a professional service provider to do the job does, however, mean you are provided with a complete service including a protocol of the cleaning duration, the different cleaning temperatures, the cleaning product concentrations and the exposure time which all provide a guarantee that all the pipes, all hoses used to add and drain products, all valves and pumps, and all filter systems were properly cleaned and disinfected in all cases. Process automatization is, of course, also playing an increasingly important role here. The icing on the cake is that the results of the cleaning process are verified to professional standards e.g. Clean-Card or ATP testing, or pH value or conductivity measurement, or visual inspections – all of which you will be able to learn more about first hand from exhibitors at drinktec.

From Food Tankers to Food Hygiene

At the exhibition, visitors from the dairy industry will have the chance to meet notable manufacturers of containers, tanks, and cleaning product suppliers, and also learn from the experts what exactly they need to consider when cleaning transport containers. Our recommendation: The services available on the drinktec app are a new and simple way of finding the companies right for you.

Focus Day: Milk on September 15 will cover many different topics relating to milk production and liquid foodstuffs. An extensive program will be put on during the event, which will be aimed at anyone with an interest in milk.

Roland Sossna

The trained dairy expert, agricultural engineer and freelance journalist Roland Sossna is part of the editorial staff of the trade magazine molkerei-industrie (dairy industry) and IDM International Dairy Magazine. He regularly presents outstanding innovations from the dairy industry on the blog.