+27 011 608 3345

Water Treatment in the Food and Beverage Industry

While the liquid we draw from our taps must comply with agreed standards of purity, the levels required by some industries are often much higher. For example, the food and beverage industry needs water treatment procedures to guarantee both product quality and their customer’s safety. While the municipal supply is perfectly safe to drink, it does contain traces of chlorine that could affect the taste of a product or interact with other additives that may be used in their preparation.

Food and Beverage Water Treatment

Achieving the level of purity required by the F&B industry will invariably require several procedures. For example, process water might require some preliminary clarification. Fine filtration techniques might then follow this process to remove microscopic particles and even selected molecules present in the solution. Synthetic membranes are frequently the filtration medium of choice for food and beverage water treatments.

However, before calling on more advanced technologies, it may be necessary to add a softening agent to remove the soluble magnesium and calcium salts responsible for hardness in some areas. Failure to employ softening techniques could lead to scale formation on vats, boilers and other utensils that could eventually damage such equipment and contaminate products.

Undoubtedly, reverse osmosis (RO) is the single most significant advance in filtration technology to date. Wherever exceptional purity is essential, for example, as a part of a food and beverage water treatment system, RO will generally be the option of choice. The technique mimics the action of the cellulose cell walls of plants, substituting thin membranes of cellulose acetate for nature’s equivalent. In plants, water moves through cell walls in whatever direction is needed to ensure equal concentrations of dissolved salts on either side. RO takes the process a step further, applying external pressure to force all the water through the membrane, leaving all solids behind.

While clarification, softening, and filtration techniques play a significant part in the food and beverage water treatment process, other procedures may also be necessary. For example, ultraviolet irradiation offers a means to render foodstuffs free of microorganisms. However, the UV process can kill only those germs present before packaging and provides no long-term protection from subsequent contamination by bacteria or viruses. Where a more long-lasting solution is required, various edible chemical preservatives with disinfectant properties are available.

It is essential to find a reputable supplier when procuring the materials and equipment necessary for food and beverage water treatment, given the need for extreme purity. Watericon is an industry leader in South Africa and holder of ISO 9001:2008 certification. The company can supply all your needs while eliminating environmental pollution with its zero liquid discharge (ZLD) process technology.