Case Study: Van Den Brink Poultry

Van Den Brink Poultry discovers the benefits of Cold Jet Dry Ice cleaning.


Chicken has knocked roast lamb off its perch to become New Zealand’s favourite dinner-time protein. To satisfy our appetites, around 84 million birds are processed for domestic consumption each year – that’s 33kg of chicken per person.

In order to protect our endangered native birds and domestic flocks from disease, raw poultry imports are banned, and there are strict hygiene and food safety regulations around the processing of locally raised broiler chickens.

Van Den Brink Poultry is our third largest poultry company. A New Zealand-owned and family-run firm, Brinks has sales in excess of $100 million, and more than 400 employees working at its processing plants in Auckland, Tuakau and Christchurch.It supplies fresh, frozen and premium chicken products to supermarkets, wholesalers, butchers and the hospitality industry.

The company has staff on site at its South Auckland plant 24 hours a day, processing, packaging and dispatching its Halal-certified poultry products. James Harman, engineering manager for Van Den Brink Poultry’s Auckland factory, says daily processing of the chickens begins at 6.30am, with the packaging finished by 5pm ready for dispatch to customers.

The Challenge
Naturally, cleaning and sanitation of Brinks’ processing plants is an essential daily task, and one that takes a considerable amount of time.

“We have a team of four cleaners working an eight-hour overnight shift to clean the entire plant ready for the next morning’s processing,” explains James. “They use a combination of water blasting and a mild alkaline solution, which goes on in a foam application and then requires manual scrubbing, before applying a sanitiser.

” It’s a labour-intensive job carried out every night to adhere to a strict code of practice set down by the New Zealand Food and Safety Authority, and Brinks’ own cleaning and sanitation programme.

The Solution
When James heard about an alternative cleaning option, he was keen to give it a go.

“Cold Jet NZ contacted us with an alternative solution. We liked the idea of using the dry ice as opposed to the normal flake ice we use with our Beluga ice slurry system. Mike Coleman at Cold Jet showed us how the operation works and I thought it was absolutely brilliant.”

Cold Jet took just 21 hours to thoroughly clean the entire Brinks processing plant. This included the overhead conveyor systems, which comprise chains, corner wheels and tracks, and the chicken processing machines.”

James talks enthusiastically about the quality and value for money offered by Cold Jet NZ’s dry ice blasting systems.

“Our daily clean gets most of the plant clean, and the chemicals and sanitiser we use kill any bacteria, but they don’t remove the build-up of film we get, especially around the chain systems. It’s hard for them to clean all the way around. Using the Cold Jet system, it gets all the way around the chain and gives it a perfect clean.”

James has now asked Cold Jet to clean Brinks’ Tuakau processing plant and will be using the company’s services on a six-monthly basis to ensure a thorough clean of its processing facilities.

The Results
“Over time, the chemicals we use leave a stain on the stainless steel and visually it’s not very nice to look at. The dry ice cleaning removed 90-95% of that chemical stain – and with a little more time, it probably would’ve got 100% of it off.

“It’s really good value for money. I will definitely be using Cold Jet again and have already recommended them to others in our industry and also to a couple of people in the meat industry.”

The fact that Cold Jet’s dry ice blasting produces no secondary waste is another major benefit, says James.

“Sand blasting just wouldn’t work for us with our rigorous food standards, and the only other option was to go chemically, but that’s very harsh. By using Cold Jet, we were able to eliminate a lot of the chemicals we use”.

Cold Jet’s dry ice blasting system uses non-abrasive CO₂pellets that won’t damage surfaces or equipment. Unlike other forms of blasting, such as water or sand blasting, dry ice blasting leaves no secondary waste as the dry ice particles sublimate – converting from solid to a harmless gas – upon impact. This makes dry ice cleaning safe and non-toxic, with no downstream contamination and eliminates human exposure to dangerous chemical cleaning agents. All of these benefits are particularly important to a food industry supplier such as Van Den Brink Poultry.

“We are always looking into ways to minimise the environmental impacts associated with our operations,” says James. “We recycle a lot of our plastics, and recycle water for our cleaning. Continuing to look for new ways to be more eco friendly is important to Brinks.”

By using dry ice blast cleaning systems, Van Den Brink Poultry was able to achieve a more effective clean over its traditional methods. Van Den Brink poultry is currently looking to expand its use of dry ice blast cleaning to its Taukau processing plant.