Cleaning of bottles and cases with emerging technologies process intensification

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General information

In several food industries, bottles and cases are used when packaging the final products. Bottles and cases are in direct contact with the food, therefore they must be sufficiently cleaned before being used. The cleaning process removes possible food residues, dirt and odors from the packaging containers, while it minimizes their microbiological load, according to hygiene and health regulations. The cleaning takes place in relatively high temperatures using hot water. The cleaning of bottles and cases consumes large quantities of water and produces a high amount of waste water but with a low organic load. In this section it is also included the packaging cleaning in general.

(European Commission 2006)

Further Information: Cleaning of bottles and cases in food industry

Description of technology, techniques and methods

High Pressure Processing (HPP)

The technology in combination with active packaging can enable cleaning levels below the detection level, making optimization opportunities for especially critical cleaning.

(Stratakos et al. 2015)

Further Information: HPP


The application of plasma for surface cleaning has relevant applications for packaging cleaning and for post-harvest. “In-package DBD plasma is a novel and innovative approach for the decontamination of foods with potential industrial application. This paper assesses the suitability of PLA as food packaging material for cold plasma treatment. It characterizes the effect of DBD plasma on the packaging material when used for in-package decontamination of food. The work described in this research offers a promising alternative to classical methods used in fruit and vegetable industries where in-package DBD plasma can serve as an effective decontamination process and avoids any post-process recontamination or hazards from the package itself.”

(Pankaj et al. 2014)

Further Information: plasma


Nanotechnology enables a diversification in the packaging sector which relies strongly in the use of petroleum derived, whereas it is raising environmental and economic concerns. This diversification can be done through the use of biodegradable, bio-based food-packaging materials able to preserve and ensure the shelf life of food (Anthierens, et al. 2012). Active packaging are materials that extend the shelf life, to maintain or improve the conditions of food. Active packaging relies on release system often based on antioxidants or antimicrobials sustained delivery providing the effect on the food surface where most of the spoilage occurs, avoiding the standard extra amount of preservative that need to be added to food.

(Anthierens, et al. 2012)

Further Information: nanotechnology

Changes in the process

Energy saving potentials

Plasma treatment may enable energy savings due to a more effective use of energy to specifically fulfill the cleaning function in a potential shorter time.

Changes in the energy distribution system

Change of thermal cleaning processes for electrical base ones.


  • Anthierens T., Billiet L., Devlieghere F., Du Prez F. (2012) 'Poly(butylene adipate) functionalized with quaternary phosphonium groups as potential antimicrobial packaging material', Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 15(), pp. 81–85.
  • Pankaj, S., Bueno-Ferrer, C., Misra, N., O´Neill L., Jiménez, A., Bourke, P., Cullen, P. (2014) 'Characterization of polylactic acid films for food packaging as affected by dielectric barrier discharge atmospheric plasma', Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 21(January), pp. 107-113.
  • Stratakos, A., Delgado-Pando, G., Linton, M., Patterson, M., Koidis, A. (2015) 'Synergism between high-pressure processing and active packaging against Listeria monocytogenes in ready-to-eat chicken breast', Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 27(February), pp. 41-47.