5 Ingredients That Eat Your Industrial Kitchen Floor

Many common food ingredients have corrosive properties. Over time, they can eat through equipment, lines – and your facility’s floor.

Many common food ingredients have corrosive properties. Over time, they can eat through equipment, lines – and your facility’s floor.

Corroded floors are a serious matter in food production. Once their surface is compromised, concrete and wood floors can harbor mold and bacteria deep inside. Contaminated surfaces in food processing plants have been blamed for outbreaks of foodborne infections like Listeria and salmonella.

In a perfect world, ingredients would never end up on the floor. But even in the best-run facilities, spills and splashes are a fact of life. Chemical-resistant coatings and sealants can help mitigate the damage, but they are not perfect. Acids common in foodstuffs can eat away at finishes even after the floor is dry to the touch.

Vitrified flooring is an excellent flooring choice for food and beverage production, in part because the chemical-resistant vitrified tiles don't react to acids, oils, or caustic substances. Vitrified flooring has undergone a special firing process that makes the strong tiles incredibly dense and hard throughout. This means it can stand up not only to spilled ingredients, but also to the strong cleaners you use to maintain a hygienic plant.

Argelith fully vitrified tiles have an absorption rate of less than 0.1 percent, making them virtually nonporous. And because ceramic is naturally inhospitable to mold and bacteria, a properly installed and maintained tile floor can greatly reduce the risk of contamination.

Here are five ingredients common in food processing that might be eating your facility’s floor:

Sugar

Remember when your dentist told you sugary foods would dissolve the enamel from your teeth? Bakeries, confectioners and other manufacturers who work with sugar can tell you the sweet stuff is just as hard on an industrial floor.

Alcohol

The alcohol in beer, wine, spirits and other fermented products will rapidly corrode an unprotected floor. Leading companies in these industries have learned the long-term value of choosing a premium flooring material with a long lifespan.

Phosphoric Acid

Phosphoric acid is commonly found in cereal bars, nondairy creamer, processed meats, soft drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. It’s also used to intentionally break down concrete before or after masonry work – something to consider if you are working with it on a concrete floor.

Fruit Juices

Spilled juice can do more than stain the floor (not that a stain isn’t bad enough). Different juices contain varying levels of acids, sugars and enzymes that can wreak havoc on the floor beneath your equipment. The biggest culprits? Citrus and pineapple juices.

Salt

Chlorides – including sodium chloride, a.k.a. table salt – can lower the pH of reactive materials. This acidic reaction can weaken the material and make it more porous, creating more room for water and contaminants.

Knowing how your ingredients and processes affect their environment is key to building a robust food or beverage facility. Avoid costly repairs and replacements by choosing building materials well suited to your needs. If your business involves corrosive materials that could splash, drip or fall, you need surfaces able to shrug off a spill without losing integrity. The chemical resistance of fully vitrified ceramic tile never wears off. Combined with an epoxy grout, this tile can provide a strong, hygienic base able to stand up to your business’ demands.

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