In addition to a number of industry standards, the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) of 2010 includes soft drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages in its regulated products. By 2018, processors are required to have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan or Hazard Analysis and Risk-based Preventive Controls (HARPC) plan in place, in place to protect consumers against food-borne illness.
While facilities vary, in general, filtration is recommended at the following stages of beverage processing:
- Incoming source water: Pre-filtration of municipal or spring water to remove sediment, particulates and larger microorganisms through a 25 micron filter; produces industrial water suitable for equipment and container cleaning.
- Intermediate processing: Depth filtration through a 10 micron filter to remove smaller particulates and impurities shed during resin or carbon activation steps; especially to preserve integrity of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes.
- Initial bacterial reduction: Sterile-grade filtration through a 5 to 1 micron filter to remove majority of microorganisms potentially present in the water or in containers.
- Final sterile filtration: Critical filtering through a 0.2 micron filter just prior to packaging; using a sterile-grade membrane filter to capture last surviving microorganisms.
- In storage: Tank vent filters on stored product in holding tanks; to prevent the ingression of airborne contaminants while equalizing tank pressure as volume changes.
Working with an experienced filtration partner can help you design a system that is both compliant and cost-effective.
These complimentary resources from Donaldson provide a head start: