Taint and epoxy flooring systems in the Food
and Drink industry
The performance of floors in all food and
drink manufacturing and processing areas is coming under
increased scrutiny. The need for high and rigorously maintained
standards of hygiene and safety, has brought new pressures on
everyone involved with design, installation and maintenance of
floor and wall finishes.
Self levelling Food Grade
floor for mechanic's workshop
Most industrial floor surfaces must be designed to withstand
severe wear and impact damage caused by constant trafficking. In
the food and drink industry there are other considerations that
must be made for floor construction and repair. The floor
surface must be able to withstand chemical spillages, which are
often highly aggressive and it must be suitable for wet and dry
The consequence of a tainted product reaching the consumer can
be devastating to the food manufacturer, for example it may
result in loss of high value finished product, expensive
litigation, loss of confidence in an established brand name and
de-stocking by retail chains.
Food Grade floor for food
A poor understanding of the nature and sources of taint is one
major reason that the consequences can be so serious. The term
taint is usually used to describe foreign flavours in food that
arise from external sources absorbed by the foodstuff and which
are perceived as being unpleasant. In general, the chemical
species that are responsible for taints are present in extremely
low concentrations, but can be detected as a consequence of
their low threshold levels, commonly in the ppb range.
Toxicity is rarely a concern but highly sensitive chemical
analysis methods need to be utilised to detect the species,
particularly against the background of other food components.
Taint can also be confused with off-flavour which it is not.
Off-flavour describes foreign flavours associated with internal
degradation from the foodstuff itself.
In a survey of problems in the Australian food industry some
years ago, the majority of problems investigated were associated
with chlorophenols and also with chloroanisoles formed following
action of micro-organisms on chlorophenols. Secondary chemical
reactions can also result in the formation of chlorophenols, for
example from reaction of materials containing free phenol.
Flooring systems have from time to time caused severe problems
in the food industry, especially low grade epoxy flooring
Food Grade floor for caterer's
The chlorophenols are formed when cleaning chemicals containing
hypochlorites or active chlorides react with phenol's contained
in the epoxy floor system. Taint can also occur when the
flooring system is being mixed and applied as taint can occur
over both short and long distances, for example during the
curing process of epoxies or the drying of paints.
Foodstuff tainted by chlorophenols can be recognised in a number
of ways. They can emit a smell or odour or much later when the
food is being consumed, the taint is picked up in the mouth. It
is clear that taint is a critical issue that has to be overcome
by food and drink manufacturers and that it is no easy task,
especially with so many new materials being supplied in to the