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Valve Hygiene Grade Requirements in Food Processing

In the food industry, where it must be ensured that only sanitary valves that meet strict hygiene requirements are used, hygiene defects caused by poor valve design must be minimized.
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    Every food and beverage production line is fitted with a large number of sanitary valves, depending on the size of the system, hundreds, or even thousands of valves can be found in a matrix piped fluid conveying line. Valves fulfill many functions in the production line: closing and opening paths, switching, controlling, preventing excessive or insufficient pressure, and preventing incompatible media from mixing with each other at intersections in the pipeline.
    The quality of the valves has an important influence on the quality of the production process and therefore on the product itself.
    In the food industry, where it must be ensured that only valves that meet strict hygiene requirements are used, hygiene defects caused by poor valve design must be minimized.
    Hygienic defects caused by poor valve design in the food industry, where it must be ensured that only valves with strict hygienic requirements are used, must be considered a production risk.

    sanitary valve supplier
    Sanitary valve supplier -THINKTANK

    Objective and Scope

    This document is to be used for all valves used in contact with food or food products that are handled hygienically or aseptically.
    The objective of this guidance is to clearly discuss the minimum hygienic requirements for valves. In this way, any uncertainty about the hygienic performance of the actual design should be eliminated.


    The list of health-specific definitions was submitted by EHEDG. The full list of definitions is attached to this article.

    Valve Hygiene Grade General Requirements

    1. Cleanability

    All surfaces in contact with the product must be inert and washable, with special attention to valve seats and seals. with special attention to valve seats and seals.

    2. Surface

    Surface roughness has a significant effect on cleanability. The higher the surface roughness, the longer it takes to clean. The higher the surface roughness, the longer the cleaning time. In principle, product contact surfaces should be treated so that the finish Ra ≤ 0.8 μm. Rougher surfaces are acceptable if hygienic properties are not jeopardized, but deviations from surface roughness must be clearly indicated (e.g., the surface is not as rough as it should be). roughness must be clearly indicated (e.g. in the beverage industry, a surface roughness Ra = 1.6 μm (e.g. in the beverage industry, a surface roughness of Ra = 1.6 μm is usually acceptable).

    3. Materials

    Materials including those used for static and dynamic sealing of the valve, must be suitable for the intended application. application. Special requirements are to be determined by the Design Principles Group (Ref. 1).

    4. Geometry

    The valve must be designed to ensure fluid exchange in all areas in contact with the product. In addition to liquid exchange during production and cleaning production and during cleaning, it must also be ensured that no air pockets remain in the valve when liquid flows through (Figures 1 to 3). in the valve when liquid flows through (Figures 1 to 3). Thus, within the product we should avoid to happened the following details:

    4.1 Grooves, cracks and fissures must always be avoided.

    4.2 Sharp edges should be avoided.

    4.3 Avoid using thread connection.

    4.4 Empty ends shall be avoided. If they are unavoidable, they shall be made as short as possible, in a voidable position and washable. If cleanability is dependent on a particular procedure (i.e., the direction of flow during CIP).

    Fig 1. Poor Design with Multiple Design Flaws
    sharp edge
    Fig 2. Poor Design with Sharp Edges
    Fig 3. Poor Design with Cavitation

    5. Voidability

    When removal is not necessary, it is possible to completely empty the valve in at least one installation position (Fig. 4).

    Fig 4. Unsuitable design for horizontal installation

    6. Seals

    The number of seals in the valve should be as small as possible. We should ensure that the deformation characteristics of the sealing material must be kept under control in all conditions. Too low a deformation of the seal is as bad as too high a deformation. The seals should be properly supported and should protrude into the fluid area as little as possible, and it should not inhibit drainage. The material must comply with the relevant regulations (Figure 5 and Figure 6).

    Fig 5. Design Principles of Elastomer Seals
    Fig.6 Dynamic shaft seal arrangement for seat valves

    The following factors should be considered:

    • Elastomer is incompressible (about 20% deformation)
    • Compression limited by metal stop
    • The thermal expansion of rubber is 5 times that of stainless steel
    • Contact pressure at the lowest temperature
    • Radial alignment

    7. Springs

    We should avoid spring touching the medium in the processing. Where springs come into touch with the medium, there should be as minimum surface as possible. It must be described how to ensure that all contaminated surfaces can be cleaned.

    8. Leak detection

    Sanitary valves should be designed to provide quick external detection of internal leaks. In addition, must avoid the transfer of fluid from the actuator to the product area.

    9. External surfaces

    The external surfaces of the sanitary valve should be easy to clean.

    10. Availability of documentation

    The sanitary valve manufacturer should be responsible to provide comprehensive information and advice on the installation, operation, cleaning, and maintenance.

    11. Impermeability to Microorganisms

    For aseptic applications, the dynamic sealing of the moving shaft in contact with the product must incorporate a barrier between the environment and the product to prevent the entry of microorganisms. Dual seals should be designed so that the distance between the two seals is greater than the shaft stroke. so that the distance between the two seals is greater than the stroke of the shaft. If this is not the case, it must demonstrate its ability to prevent the entry of microorganisms. To render all product contact surfaces and all surfaces between the two seals free from relevant microorganisms must be possible. all surfaces between the two seals free from relevant microorganisms must be possible. For aseptic applications, the moving shaft in the valve must be better separated from the product contact side by means of a diaphragm or telescopic tube (Figures 7 to 9).

    Fig 7. Bacteria-free shaft seal
    Fig 8. Bacteria-tight shaft assembly with “vapor barrier”
    Fig 9. Bacteria-tight shaft assembly with telescopic joints

    Additional Requirements for Special Sanitary Valves

    For other special sanitary valves with more stringent requirements, the different valve types are described with additional requirements as follows.

    Diaphragm Sanitary Valves and Bellows Valves

    Leakage capacity shall be detectable through a free outlet to the atmosphere or through a special leak detection system. (Figure 9)

    leaks detection

    Plug valve

    Plug valves are not suitable for cleaning in place, so the instruction manual for use must clearly state that removal for cleaning is necessary. Assuming that they are free of relevant microorganisms after refilling, plug valves can only be considered for sanitary fittings class II.

    Pressure reducing valves

    PRV valves must be self-venting to the outlet side to avoid an accumulation of product residues (Figure 10). If the valve is activated during operation, a device must be provided to the pressure reducing valve to make CIP of the seat and outlet side possible.

    Fig 10. Self-draining pressure reducing valve

    Ball Valves

    The area between the ball, the valve shell and the seat face must be cleanable. Conventional ball valves are not designed for CIP (Figure 11). If designed for CIP, the area between the ball, shell, and seat surfaces must be fully integrated into the CIP flow (FIG . 12).

    Fig 11. Conventional ball valves are not suitable for CIP
    Fig 12. Ball valve for CIP

    Mixproof valves

    An mixproof valve is defined as a valve that safely excludes the intermixing of incompatible fluids between separate product lines by forming a neutral zone between the product lines (Figure 13). The neutral zone must be voidable to air, cleanable, and designed so that leakage cannot lead to pressure buildup.

    double seat sanitary mixproof control valves
    double seat sanitary mixproof control valves

    A specific design must be selected that addresses the health and safety requirements of the application. For aseptic applications, the neutral zone must be flushed with an antimicrobial barrier medium in addition to the vapor seal barrier.

    Fig 13. Principle of Double Seat Sanitary Valve


    As with other equipment used for the hygienic processing of food, valves should be designed in accordance with the standards for the design of hygienic equipment (Ref. 1) and meet the technical requirements “Hygienic design of closed equipment for liquid food production”. Therefore, sanitary valves designed and manufactured in compliance with the above requirements are suitable for hygienic processing of food, and suitable for aseptic processing of food if it is impervious to bacteria.

    Picture of Will Don

    Will Don

    After earning my bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Zhejiang Normal University in 2008, l was fortunate enough to begin my career with Siemens, Fisher, and YTC, focusing on control valve accessories. Over the past dozen years, l've poured my heart and energy into understanding technology and fluid solutions for control valves.
    Now, as the marketing director for THINKTANK, a trusted branch of the Taiwan STONE valve group, I can't help butf eel proud of how far we've come. Our knowledge isn't just reaching professionals like engineer and valve distributors; it's also inspiring the next generation of automation college students.
    l genuinely hope you're enjoying our articles and finding them helpful.Your thoughts, questions, and feedback mean the world to me, so please don't hesitate to reach out to marketing[at] Whether you're a seasoned expert or just curious about the field, I'm here to connect, share, and learn together.

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    I am the author of this article, and also the CEO and marketing director of THINKTANK, with 15 years of experience in the industrial valve industry. If you have any questions, you can contact me at any time.

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