Clean room food processing methods

  • US 8,216,510 B2
  • Filed: 04/30/2010
  • Issued: 07/10/2012
  • Est. Priority Date: 04/06/2004
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A method for reducing contamination by an undesirable micro-organism within a food processing facility that processes a food product, comprising:

  • receiving a pre-cooked food product into the facility and holding the product in a designated semi-secure storage area of the food processing facility;

    transporting selected portions of food product from the designated semi-secure storage area to an at least semi-secure treatment area and applying a post-reception lethality treatment directly to the food product;

    transporting the treated portions of food product from the treatment area to a secure food product delivery area;

    transporting the treated portions of the food product from the delivery area into selected ones of a plurality of secure area food processing rooms through positive pressure gradient openings therein, each food processing room comprising a single food processing line of series-associated food processing elements comprising at least one food processing device and at least one food packaging device, each food processing room maintained at a first substantially sterile level of cleanliness which substantially prevents the presence and growth of pathogenic microorganisms including Listeria, said food processing rooms each being individually atmospherically and structurally isolated from each other to effectively prevent any contamination in any one such food processing room or series-associated food processing elements therein from contaminating food products processed in any other of such plurality of food processing rooms and series-associated food processing elements therein, whereby each such single-line food processing room effectively comprises a separate food processing facility;

    processing the food product portions in those selected isolated food processing rooms;

    packaging the processed food product into closed packages in those selected isolated food processing rooms such that any micro-organisms outside of the packages will be unable to migrate into the interior of the packages as long as the packages remain closed; and

    transporting the closed packages out of those selected food processing rooms to a semi-secure packaged food receiving area through negative pressure gradient openings.

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