How to clean meat processing equipment

Proper cleaning and sanitation of meat processing equipment is critical for food safety and quality control. As a food production professional, it is your responsibility to ensure all equipment is thoroughly cleaned according to proper procedures. This blog provides a comprehensive guide on cleaning various types of meat processing equipment.


Before beginning the cleaning process, be sure to remove any food debris, rinse down visible dirt, and disassemble equipment as needed. This pre-cleaning process will allow cleaning solutions to penetrate and act more effectively.

  • Remove loose debris with water, brushes, rubber spatulas and squeegees
  • Rinse equipment under pressure to remove clinging particles
  • Disassemble equipment as permitted to access all product contact surfaces

Cleaning Solutions

Use cleaning solutions designed specifically for food processing plants and equipment. Look for solutions that are USDA-approved and verify proper concentration levels.

  • Alkaline chlorinated cleaners effectively remove fats, oils and proteins
  • Acid cleaners help dissolve mineral deposits and prevent scaling
  • Foaming cleaners provide clinging action for vertical surfaces
  • Verify proper dilution rates for maximum efficacy

Wash Methods

Combine cleaning solutions with proper wash methods to achieve thorough sanitation. Methods may vary based on equipment type and manufacturer recommendations.

  • CIP (clean-in-place) systems use spray devices and fluid recirculation
  • COP (clean-out-of-place) for complete disassembly and manual washing
  • Pressure washing blasts away stubborn residue
  • Ultrasonic washers use cavitation bubbles to penetrate crevices
  • Agitate parts washer with pumps provide turbulence


After washing, rinse all equipment thoroughly with fresh water to remove cleaning agents. Verify that discharge water runs clear. Continue rinsing until chemical residuals are removed.

  • Rinse under pressure to flush out crevices
  • Test discharge water with pH strips to detect residuals
  • Use multi-stage rinsing for complete removal


Finish the cleaning process by sanitizing all surfaces, removing excess moisture, and properly reassembling equipment.

  • Apply USDA-approved sanitizers after cleaning
  • Allow all parts to fully air dry to prevent organism growth
  • Reassemble and lubricate moving parts as specified
  • Conduct visual inspection before re-starting production

Proper cleaning of meat processing equipment takes time but is essential for food safety. Follow these procedures closely and inspect cleaning effectiveness periodically to prevent contamination issues. Investing in the right cleaning solutions and equipment will make the job quicker and easier.

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