This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.11.7 Cleaning in place (CIP)
BRCGS Packaging Issue 6Not applicable.
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3
Not applicable.
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 46.4.4X Cleaning in place (CIP)
FSSC22000 Version 5.1ISO 22000:2018 8.2.4 i) PRP – cleaning and disinfecting (no direct reference to CIP)
IFS Food Version 74.10.1 Cleaning and disinfection
SQF Edition 911.2.5.4 Cleaning-in-place (CIP)


A procedure must be in place which details the operational requirements of the CIP, including:

  • CIP schematic diagram.
  • A risk assessment.
  • Securty
  • Change management.
  • Maintenance.
  • Expertise.
  • Monitoring.
  • Validation.
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A schematic is a diagram which details the layout and connections of the CIP system – therefore it illustrates how the CIP works. Most display screens on CIP systems have a very basic form of a schematic – to illustrate the CIP process when it’s running.

However, these on their own may not be sufficient, as it won’t show how the whole system fits together. A schematic should show the whole CIP system with all the connections.

The purpose of the schematic is to identify hazards, such as dead-legs. A dead-leg is a piece of pipework that doesn’t go anywhere, so it’s a ‘dead end’. Dead-legs don’t get cleaned properly by the CIP and therefore, they’re a source of contamination. This means, the schematic can be used to check that dead-legs haven’t been created by any changes.

Risk assessment

The Standard states that a risk assessment is needed to determine what monitoring is needed, to prevent contamination – where rinse solutions are recovered and reused.

However, all monitoring activities of the CIP system should be based on risk. The greater the risk to the product, the more frequent or stringent the checks need to be.


Any data relating to the CIP must be secure, including:

  • Equipment settings (for your cleaning parameters).
  • Acceptable limits.
  • Results data.

Where manual systems are in place, the limits and results will be managed manually and therefore, they don’t need to be secure. However, where equipment settings (including connections) are manual, these must be physically secure – such as locked using a key, so that they can’t be changed by those who aren’t authorised.

For automated systems, security can be assured using password protection.

Change control

A change control system must manage any changes to the CIP, so that they’re reviewed and approved before they’re made.

Equipment maintenance

CIP equipment must be covered by the maintenance programme, including the inspection and cleaning of CIP filters.

Maintenance must be carried out by trained staff, or by an external specialist contractor. Where a contractor is used, the inspection reports must be kept for auditing purposes.

Cleaning the CIP

Hygiene eDocsCIP equipment has to be cleaned, otherwise your site could be using dirty equipment to try and clean. Water tanks can obviously get contaminated, but you may be surprised to know that chemical tanks can too – if left long enough.

So, you need to make sure that the cleaning of your CIP equipment is also on a cleaning schedule and cleaned following a set procedure (CIC if it needs to be done manually).

Flexible hoses must be stored hygienically when not in use – this means off the floor and somewhere clean. Manually used equipment such as hoses or seals, must also be inspected at a set frequency to ensure that they’re in good condition (it’s easiest to check them each time they’re used).


If your site has a CIP system you need to have access to sufficient knowledge, to ensure that the system is set up correctly and is managed effectively. This means you need to have a subject matter expert (SME):

  • Preferably on site.
  • Within your company.
  • Available to you through an external contractor.

You’ll need to be able to prove to an external auditor that your SME is competent. This means you’ll need to have evidence of their training, or if you use a contractor – details to show they’ve been approved as competent.

Cleaning parameters

In conjunction with your SME, you’ll need to establish what cleaning parameters and settings are needed – to achieve the clean needed. The cleaning parameters are typically:

  • Cleaning and rinse times.
  • Chemical concentration.
  • Temperature.
  • Flow rate and pressure.

The CIP equipment will need to be set to achieve the required cleaning parameters.


Once the cleaning parameters have been set, these parameters need to be monitored to make sure they’re achieved. To do this, you need to set acceptable limits for each parameter. And acceptable limits will also need to be set for any tests that are carried out – such as rinse water testing or ATP swabs.

Where the CIP system is manual, the equipment settings must also be monitored.

And of course, corrective action procedures must be in place – when monitoring shows that the acceptable limits haven’t been met.


Validation must be carried out, documented and approved by the SME, to ensure that:

  • The cleaning method and settings are suitable to achieve the clean required.
  • That the defined cleaning parameters will consistently meet the acceptable limits set.
  • That there aren’t any dead-legs.
  • Drainage is fit for purpose to prevent pooling and splashing.
  • Rinsing is sufficient to remove chemical residues.
  • Maintenance requirements are set.

Where new CIP systems are installed, a validation must be completed by or in conjunction with the manufacturer. For current systems, where there’s no installation validation – a new validation must be completed.

Re-validation must be completed, prior to a change and at a frequency based on risk.

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Have your say…

2 thoughts on “Let’s talk about everything CIP

  1. Your articles are really helpful and more so with all the standards brought together. A very useful reference tool.

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