Food and Beverage
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Food and Beverage

Immaculate hygiene has top priority in the food industry. In many countries, water for food processing as well as process water must correspond with the composition of drinking water. It is imperative to avoid infection of food with product-damaging or pathogen microorganisms and to prevent their spread within the factory. In the food sector, machine surfaces and the associated factory areas must be perfectly hygienic at all times. INNOCHEM offers efficient solutions for this purpose.

Another important task is the elimination of the high organic content in food industry wastewater. With the Loop Reactor process, INNOCHEM provides a method that is both efficient and highly economical, particularly for the following industries:

Olive Oil Production

Olive mill wastewater (OMW) generated by the olive oil extraction process is the main waste product of this industry. Approximately 5,4 Million m3 of olive mill wastewater are produced annually worldwide where the majority of it being produced in the Mediterranean basin. The uncontrolled disposal of OMW is becoming a serious environmental problem, due to its high organic COD concentration, and because of its high content of microbial growth-inhibiting compounds, such as phenolic compounds and tannins. The improper disposal of OMW to the environment or to domestic wastewater treatment plants is prohibited due to its toxicity to microorganisms, and also because of its potential threat to surface and groundwater.

However, due to the current lack of appropriate alternative technologies to properly treat OMW, mostly, OMW in the Mediterranean area is discharged directly into sewer systems and water streams or concentrated in cesspools despite the fact that such disposal methods are prohibited in many Mediterranean countries.

The investigations of INNOCHEM showed the combination of membrane technology and composting as the most efficient treatment for OMW. COD removal efficiency of 98 % was reached with an influent COD concentration of about 40.000 ppm.


Slaughter Houses

The most significant environmental issues associated with slaughterhouse operations are typically water consumption, emissions of high organic strength liquids to water and the energy consumption associated with refrigeration and heating water. Blood has the highest COD strength of any liquid effluent arising from both large animal and poultry slaughterhouses and its collection, storage and handling is a key issue for assessment and control. At most slaughterhouses, the refrigeration plant is the biggest consumer of electricity. It can constitute 45 - 90 % of the total site load during the working day and almost 100 % during non-production periods. Food and veterinary legislation requires potable water to be used in slaughterhouses, so there are just a few opportunities for re-use of water. This has water consumption and contamination consequences and also energy consequences when the water is heated. INNOCHEM offers various solutions to reduce runnings costs concerning water management.

Vinification plants

Wastewater production and contamination are primarily seasonal within the wine industry. The quantity and quality of wastewater is intermittent and is primarily produced during the actual preparation of wine between September and the end of January. This involves almost exclusively water for cleaning and rinsing which is produced during the cleaning of machines, equipment and containers.  Added to this is the cooling water for controlling the fermentation process. Outside the actual production phase, appreciable amounts of wastewater are produced only by the bottling operations as water for rinsing bottles or cleaning. In October and November, about 15 m³ of wastewater per ha of farmed area should be expected, whereas during the remaining part of the year, about 3 to 4 m³ per ha are produced.

Among the main characteristics of viticultural wastewater are high, temporary organic loads, sometimes extreme fluctuations in pH levels, and high solids contents during the harvest season. Average COD and BOD concentrations during bottling are between 2,300 and 1,400 mg/l, respectively. During harvest and fermentation, the average COD and BOD concentrations are significantly higher, at 5,500 and 3,000 mg/l.


With 27.3 million tons per year, Germany is the biggest milk producer in the EU, followed by France with 23.3 million tons. In the EU, 132 million tons of milk products are produced annually, making up 13.8 percent of total EU agricultural production. A good 31 percent of the milk produced in the EU is marketed as fresh milk; about 37 percent is processed into cheese and 16 percent is processed into butter.

Statistics show that 0.8 to 2 m³ of wastewater is produced during the processing of 1,000 kg of milk. The concentration of organic contamination is 500 to 2,000 mg BOD5/l. Along with comparatively high concentrations of nitrogen, it is the lipophilic substances and saponifiable fats in concentrations of 20 to 250 mg/l that present the primary challenge for solutions in diary business.

Fish Processing Industry

The fish industry produces products made from fish for human consumption with the longest possible shelf life. This is achieved with physical methods such as freezing and smoking as well as with chemical agents such as salts and acids.

Production wastewater from fish processing originates primarily from production (solutions, brine, cooking water and cleaning). In addition cooling water is used, which is only contaminated with product residues in exceptional cases. Furthermore sanitary wastewater is produced. The water consumption and waste water production depend heavily upon the specific production process and varies between 2 and 40 m³ per ton of processed fish. The primary contents of the wastewater are fish residues, cooking oils and grease, protein, spices, vegetables, table salt, sugar, vinegar, preservatives, dyes and detergents. The average organic load is about 2,000 mg BOD per liter.


Wastewater production in the beverage industry is as varied as the products themselves. Companies that process exclusively mineral, table and spring water produce 1 m³ of wastewater per 1,000 liters of beverage with an organic contamination of 200 to 1,600 mg COD per liter (average level: 680 mg COD/l). In factories that process soft drinks, an average of 2.3 m³ of wastewater is produced per 1,000 liters of soft drink, with an average organic load of 1,000 mg COD per liter.  In factories that process fruit juices, the amount of contamination in the wastewater depends on the type of fruit being processed. If no frozen products are processed, the amount of wastewater is subject to extreme seasonal fluctuations. In semi-finished goods factories that process fruit and vegetables, 1.5 to 2 m³ of wastewater are produced per ton of fruit or vegetables. In pure bottling plants, the situation differs accordingly. A customizable wastewater treatment plant must be capable of being tailored to these variables.