Sanitary Strainers in Food Manufacturing

The sanitary strainer plays an important role in the production of many popular foods. As the summer picnic and barbecue season kicks off, let’s look at how sanitary strainers help keep it safe and improve quality.

The humble marshmallow

Marshmallows are a simple, uncomplicated food made by combining only a few ingredients. A solution is formed by dissolving sugar and corn syrup in water and boiling it. Egg whites and gelatin is mixed with the sugar solution, then heated in a cook kettle to about 240 degrees Fahrenheit. The resulting mixture then passes through strainers, screens and metal detectors to remove any extraneous matter. Consider that the next time you chow down on a gooey s’more.

Please pass the ketchup

Ketchup is one of the most popular food condiments in the United States, with more than 10 billion ounces purchased annually. Before slathering it on your hamburger or hot dog, know that it has gone through at least two sets of sanitary strainers – and possibly more depending on the producer!

During ketchup’s pulping phase, tomatoes are pumped into pulping machines which separate seeds, skins, and stems from the pulp. The pulp and juice are then filtered through sanitary strainers and sent on to the next step in becoming ketchup. After it has been cooked, the ketchup mixture passes through a finishing machine that removes excess fiber and particles through another set of sanitary strainers. This creates the smooth consistency we expect and enjoy on our food.

Speaking of hot dogs

Did you know that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans consume seven billion hot dogs? To create hot dogs, meat is cut into small pieces and placed in a stainless steel, bladed mixing container which reduces the size of the meat pieces even further. Other ingredients, flavorings and ice chips are blended in the container until a fine batter is produced. This makes further processing through a sanitary strainer for quality control much easier.

Why sanitary strainers?

By now you understand how sanitary strainers are used by the food manufacturing industry to remove impurities from their products. Strainers are typically of wire mesh, perforated or wedge wire media and manufactured from stainless steel (316L), as well as other exotic alloys, in many sizes and shapes. These screens are produced under stringent controls to provide an adequate and accurate straining material. Sanitary strainers are found across several industries processing a wide range of products.

Types of strainers

Strainers are broken down into three main filtering categories:

  • Coarse straining – for large particles
  • Medium straining – for particles 75 to 1905 microns
  • Filtration – for particles down to 5 microns

Polishing strainers to a very low surface roughness provides excellent throughput. This makes them easy to clean which helps maintain product safety and prevents bacterial contamination.

Picking the best sanitary strainer

Here are a few factors to consider when picking a sanitary strainer:

  • For which industry is the strainer being used?
  • What is the size of the line and process flow rate?
  • What percentage of solids must be captured?
  • What is the particulate size requiring removal?
  • What are the characteristics of the product being filtered (viscosity, temperature, density, etc.)?

The right strainer will perfectly maintain product integrity without compromising safety, quality or cost.

Sanitary strainers in review

To summarize two key points about strainers:

  • Sanitary strainers are an essential component to ensure product purity in the food industry
  • Strainers are customizable depending on a variety of factors including application, size of production line, size of particulates requiring removal, flow rate and product characteristics

SaniClean Strainers, a Newark Wire brand, manufactures a complete line of 3A certified sanitary strainers, assemblies, replacement parts, and filter media suitable for a wide range of applications and capacities. SaniClean Strainers are ruggedly built to withstand the most demanding production cycles. They are easy to clean and integrate into new or existing piping configurations. Contact them today for your next filtration project.