There are many benefits from the introduction of an ozone plant in cheese processing and maturing rooms

Hygiene in the processing of milk is essential to ensure high quality products or even certified organic.

Due to its hyper-oxidizing and disinfectant characteristics, ozone has a powerful bactericidal, fungicidal, viral inactivant, acaricide and pesticide effect and due to its flexibility of use is increasingly used in the dairy industry-cheese approved by the Ministry of Health, for various practical applications in dairies:

  • removal of milk and bio-film residues (which generate bacteria) from the work surfaces;
  • treatment of processing water and water for cheese production, as well as for the disinfection of cows’ udders;
  • disinfection of milk containment tanks;
  • environmental disinfection of cheese-processing premises;
  • disinfection of cheese maturing cells;
  • disinfectant washing of storage rooms for the renewal of forms;
  • sanitation and environmental sanitisation.

Returning to oxygen after a short period of life, ozone offers numerous advantages over conventional disinfection systems, because it does not release secondary chemicals as happens with the use of products such as chlorine, alcohol, ammonia, etc.

The company protea Srl, together with Coldiretti Cuneo and Agenzia 4°, has been involved both in the research and analysis of the above mentioned problems, and as a supplier of technical solutions also applied to dairies and zootechnics, to confirm some of the scientific data already declared by the various International Organizations, with a view also and above all to improving the quality of the product.

CASE STUDY

The work carried out in the maturing rooms and annexed rooms, had as a first approach the objective of improving the «rich» working areas of bacteria, molds and ammonia dispersed in the air. In order to solve these problems, suitable plants have been developed for the environmental treatment that, by introducing ozone into the gaseous state at controlled concentrations according to the parameters established by the Ministry of Health and the HACCP manual, they have significantly improved environmental conditions. The results obtained were decisive:

  • elimination of 70% of ammonia dispersed in air;
  • elimination/inactivation of 95% of environmental molds and spores.

Another very delicate aspect addressed, concerned the «treatment» in the presence of maturing products, where the most important problems in the production and commercial phase are represented by the weight loss of the cheeses due to the aggression of the cheese mites.

Protea Srl has carried out a careful evaluation to carefully adapt the ozone plants capable of eliminating the «bad» organic agents while preserving the «good» organic part. The effects that are being achieved to date are:

  • improvement of product surface, less affected;
  • maintenance of the weight of the product and consequent protection of its commercial value;
  • healthy environment for operators’ work.

As can be seen from the images on the workplace, the differences between the before and after treatment are already explanatory to the naked eye. The shape within an environment which is not treated with ozone and without the implementation of the procedures used is evidently corroded by the action of mites, with relative weight loss. On the other hand, we note the integrity of the cheese in the same state of ripening once the ozone treatment procedures have been implemented (photos 1 and 2). Once the shapes have been moved from their usual position, it is seen that the surface of support in the first case (without ozone procedures) is covered by a layer of dust, mites and cheese, in the second case (with use of ozone and its application procedures) is cleaned from sediments and residues, greatly limiting product waste (photos 3 and 4). After about two years of installation, according to the intervention procedures of the company, it is noted that the results obtained and obtainable are not limited in time but persist and maintain high levels of environmental remediation and a clear and consistent maintenance of the weight of the product.

CONCLUSION

It is therefore confirmed that a suitable ozone plant, if supported by suitable procedures of use and use, is an exceptional aid, also for organic production, for:

  • curing cells from mites, insects, moulds and parasites (whose formation is favored by the humidity of the environment);
  • Elimination in the maturing cells of any ammonium smell and its transmission to ripening cheeses (resulting in improved cheese quality);
  • Control of air quality and the transmission of infections in workplaces, cheese preparation, dairy products and so on;
  • Sanitising of surfaces and equipment even where it is difficult to arrive by conventional methods (saving both in terms of the amount of water used and in terms of the use of chemicals);
  • Sterilization of government water for mozzarella and other dairy products;
  • Washing and disinfection of yoghurt jars before packaging.

It is important to note, however, given the large variety of cheeses and the different methods of processing, maturing and storage, how it is necessary to define the procedures to be followed for a suitable use on a case-by-case basis, also in anticipation of changes in production processes and/or processed products, over time.

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