Anett Winkler - Articles and news items

Ensuring water quality in food processing

Issue 1 2012  •  5 March 2012  •  Anett Winkler and Dirk Nikoleski, EHEDG Members

Water is used in food processing for many different purposes. Among other applications it is used in direct contact with the food or food contact surfaces (as an ingredient, steam, etc) or indirectly as a processing aid. Therefore, water quality used in a food manufacturing plant has to be managed not only with respect to product safety, but also in view of the capability of production processes (e.g. cooling, heating and cleaning). A further aspect is the safety of the personnel in the workplace (e.g. canteens, showers). This article summarises the main hazards and potential effective treatments to ensure an adequate water quality.

Water has been increasingly looked at as a valuable resource and its quality (and in this respect also safety) cannot be taken as granted. This has also been recognised by requiring the application of HACCP principles in the water usage. Potential physical, chemical and biological hazards introduced by water shall be adequately controlled, which necessitates water treatment when entering a food plant in many cases to ensure potable (drinking) water quality where needed. In case non-potable water is used, it shall be evaluated as part of the HACCP studies to ensure that it would not pose a risk for production, and has no negative effect on personnel.

For a comprehensive reading about hazards related to incoming water, reference is made to the WHO guidelines for drinking water quality.

Microbiological safety of chocolate confectionery products

Issue 4 2009  •  12 December 2009  •  Anett Winkler, Corporate Microbiology, Kraft Foods R&D

For many years, low moisture foods, such as chocolate, were regarded as microbiologically safe due to the inherent product characteristics. Water activity levels below 0.6 would prevent any microbial growth, whereas water activities below 0.85 would prevent proliferation of pathogenic / toxin formation by toxigenic microorganisms[1]. A water activity of >0.6 and <0.85 would potentially allow for xerophilic yeasts / moulds growth that are of importance in spoilage of those foods. In addition to the low water activity, other antimicrobial parts of the ingredients had been thought to contribute to the microbiological safety of those products[2].


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