Assessment of Alternatives to Cleaners and Sanitizers in the Brewing Industry

Breweries need to both clean and sanitize their vats between batches. Chemicals are used to remove the residue left behind in each step of the brewing process as well as sanitize in preparation for the next batch, leading to potential human exposure to, and environmental release of, harmful chemicals.

Many traditional cleaners and sanitizers may potentially incur more risk to the worker than necessary, which ultimately hurts return on investment in an industry where many small producers have a narrow profit margin. Most of the chemicals used require tremendous amounts of heat and are often applied without a secondary rinse for convenience. Much of the equipment can be sensitive to acidic chemicals, or chlorine-based cleaners, so additional consideration of compatibility must be made based on the particular equipment used in each setup.

Because breweries are regulated under the Food Safety Modernization Act, and are classified as Food Plants, certain requirements for Food Safety Plans may apply. These requirements are mainly related to food safety but could require a facility to prepare a sanitation schedule thereby bringing consideration to what chemicals are used for sanitation and leaving space for alternatives.

The laboratory at TURI completed an evaluation of common cleaning and sanitizing chemicals and potential alternatives. Cleaners and sanitizers were tested based on their ability to remove soils accrued in the primary brewing and fermentation processes, as well as to ensure sanitization of the tanks between uses.

This document has been prepared to:

  1. Provide background information about the use of traditional cleaners and sanitizers in the brewing process
  2. Provide technical, financial, environmental, health and safety, and basic regulatory information on alternatives to the traditional cleaners and sanitizers
  3. Assist breweries in the process of identifying which alternative(s) offer the best fit for their facility

Information about traditional cleaners and sanitizers is provided in Section II of this report, and the alternatives in Section III, with a comparison of the alternatives in Section IV.aluations

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