Gea’s technology for brine filtration ensures high-quality marination

Gea ScreenFilter optimizes the food injection process

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Gea
Gea MultiJector 2mm with Gea ScreenFilter. Photo-Gea

The new GEA ScreenFilter passively filters brine using gravitation force and avoids protein activation, which can clog injection needles. According to Gea, it is suitable for lighter brines which enhance flavor and extend the shelf life of high-quality food products such as ham, poultry, and bacon. The filter promotes high process uptime, efficient brine use, and a stable injection process, contributing to optimal food quality and food safety. Its design complements that of the Gea MultiJector and comes with either 2mm or 3 to 4mm needles. With this technology process, control and repeatability for high quality marinated products are ensured.

Marinated injected poultry, meat, or fish offer more than just increased shelf-life; this process also enhances flavor, color, juiciness, and bite – and is essential for maintaining food processor yield. The key to achieving these benefits centers almost entirely around two principle facets – accurate brine distribution and the subsequent brine’s retention. With its nearly 50 years of food marinating experience, Gea experts have invented a new brine filtration system, the Gea ScreenFilter, which optimizes the food injection process.

Recycling brine reduces wastage

Gea ScreenFilter deck. Photo- Gea

Brine is typically a highly concentrated water solution of salt and other functional or taste-enhancing substances. During industrial marination, the brine solution is introduced into the meat, poultry, or seafood pieces during the injection cycle. The overflow of the brine is picked up, filtrated, and re-circulated for re-use. During this process, the brine must be correctly filtrated without activating the proteins that come out of the meat. This requires filtering out fat and gel-like particles, which otherwise would clog the needles during the injection process.

Clogging of needles due to poor filtration leads to interruptions in production for additional cleaning, reducing efficiency, and compromising food safety. As brining is essential to achieve the required shelf life of cured products, inconsistent brining due to clogged needles can lead to uneven or incorrect brine distribution, which increases the risk of spoilage, compromising food quality and safety.

Passive filtration system reduces cleaning time

Gea ScreenFilter cleaning position. Photo- Gea

Gea ScreenFilter is an in-house concept and design based purely on passive filtration and gravity principles. Compared to traditional filtering technologies, the ScreenFilter allows for faster machine set-up and significantly reduces the time needed for cleaning. “The Gea ScreenFilter complements our filtration portfolio. It has been developed to passively filter light viscosity brines, preventing protein activation during the filtering process. For applications which require higher viscosity brines, we advise using Gea Rotary filters. Viscosity increases, for example, when thickening agents, fibers or proteins are added,” explains Willem Prinssen, product manager, Gea.

Given the effects of gravity, the brine runs down from the top of the filter deck. The filter is self-cleaning, taking the contamination with it. Gea said the filter itself has very few parts that require cleaning, which saves time and reduces damage, which might otherwise occur due to repeated re-assembly. This design means the filter element does not rotate and nor is their continuous scraper action to remove the filtrate from the filter element’s surface. The filter deck on the Gea ScreenFilter is easy to access and can be cleaned or exchanged while the filter is running, reducing cleaning time. The passive filtration process causes less foaming than active systems, which improves injection stability. Due to the special design of the filter tank, less brine is required to run the process, so wastage is reduced.

Complete line solution by Gea

Gea ScreenFilter. Photo-Gea

As the pioneers of industrial meat injection, the Gea experts at Bakel, in the Netherlands, have used their 50 years of expertise to optimize the marination process according to customer needs. The new equipment is seamlessly integrated in the line with the Gea MultiJector, promoting a tight brine injection pattern and allowing for exceptional injection accuracy. The Gea SuperChill brine chiller ensures consistent brine temperature. Simultaneously, the Gea MultiShaker removes excess brine, closes needle marks, and activates proteins, ultimately resulting in low standard deviation during production and increasing quality, yield, and profit.

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