Middleby has filed a patent for a system and method to treat a portion of a food flow path in a food processor. The system involves continuously flowing a solution through the food flow path to reduce the inoculum count and extend the time between manual cleaning to at least 7 days. GlobalData’s report on Middleby gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData, Middleby's grant share as of September 2023 was 59%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

A food processor system with improved cleaning capabilities

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: The Middleby Corp

A recently filed patent (Publication Number: US20230301323A1) describes a method for treating a food flow path in a food processor. The method involves several steps to clean and sanitize the freezer chamber of the food processor.

The method begins by retaining the freezer door in a closed position and removing dispensing valves from a dispensing interface on the door. A cleaning assembly is then connected to the door, which is connected to a source of motive fluid. The cleaning assembly includes flow control valves that control the introduction of cleaning fluid into the dispensing interface.

Next, a portion of the food product is removed from the freezer chamber, and the flow control valves are operated to introduce a volume of cleaning fluid into the chamber. The cleaning fluid is retained in the chamber for a given residence time before being drained.

After draining the cleaning fluid, the flow control valves are operated to introduce a sanitizing solution into the freezer chamber. The sanitizing solution continuously flows through the chamber at a sufficient flow rate and temperature for a sufficient duration to reduce the inoculum count and meet FDA specifications for cleaning equipment surfaces.

The method also includes isolating the upstream supply of food product from the freezer chamber and extending the necessary time for manual cleaning to meet FDA regulations. The sanitizing solution can include water and citric acid, and it is drained from the food processor through a drain line or a hopper.

The cleaning assembly includes solution containers for the cleaning fluid and sanitizing fluid, and the motive fluid used can be pressurized water from a public utility source or an integral reservoir.

Overall, this method provides a systematic approach to cleaning and sanitizing the food flow path in a food processor, ensuring proper hygiene and compliance with FDA regulations.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.