Water use in bakeries
There are many reasons for the renewed focus on using water in bakeries.

It’s time to start treating water like glass, especially when it comes to food safety, said Karl Thorson, food safety and sanitation manager, General Mills, Minneapolis.

“Everybody understands the risks and hazards of having glass and brittle plastic in our plants,” he said. “If it breaks, people rally very quickly, clean it up, repair it and follow up. We need the same type of rigor around uncontrolled water in our environments because that’s where we have issues. It’s not only about environmental pathogens and spoilage organisms, but it also causes issues with equipment reliability and human safety.”

There are many reasons for the renewed focus on using water in bakeries. Engineers don’t want to spend extra money to install a new system or piece of equipment because water damaged the old one. From a sanitation perspective, many bakeries are turning to dry cleaning because of harborage of pathogens and other problems associated with water. Sustainability managers want to reduce water usage in the cleaning of equipment. That’s going to require a major change in the way many bakeries operate.

“This is going to be a huge initiative to get people to rally around and make significant changes, which include the design of our equipment as well as getting procedures to change,” Mr. Thorson told associate editor Anna Wiber in a report in the June issue of Baking & Snack.

Mr. Thorson is currently working with BEMA’s Baking Industry Forum to determine what tools the industry needs to move forward in the war on water. He hopes water audits and assessments will be available so plants can better control this resource in the future.