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CIP and COP Fundamental to Food Safety

By Jaan Koel

A key part of safe food manufacturing is cleanliness, which is why solid cleaning-in-place (CIP) and cleaning-out-of-place (COP) systems are essential.

The difference between the two is basically inside, outside. CIP is a process that uses water rinses, hot caustic and/or acid recirculation, precise temperatures, and turbulence to clean soils and bacteria from the inside surfaces of food production equipment—such as pipes, mixing tanks, pumps, valves, storage vessels, and other equipment.

It basically involves connecting the production line to a stand-alone flushing system and pushing a button; no dismantling of equipment is needed. Further, it’s all computer controlled.

A COP system, on the other hand, consists of one or more rectangular tanks that use pumps, high pressure nozzles, caustics, acids, hot water, and plain old elbow grease to clean the outside surfaces of external parts, such as hoses, clamps, fittings, filling nozzles, trays, knives, conveyor belts, and other components that CIP can’t handle. Parts have to be removed and disassembled, cleaned, then put back, just like washing dishes in a sink or dishwasher.

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