Five things to consider when thinking about factory design and hygiene
By Jordi Claraco Anguera - 28 January 2019
A well thought out factory design that considers the ease of cleanliness at the outset can lead to the reduction of food contamination and food poisoning incidents. Here are five things to consider when thinking about factory design and hygiene.
Cleaning and disinfection
Ensuring that factories are cleaned and disinfected effectively and in a timely manner is a fundamental prerequisite in the production of safe food. This involves decisions on when to clean, how to clean and which chemicals to use to remove physical, chemical and microbiological contaminants.
Cleaning that is quicker and easier to carry out is a major benefit to both food safety and productivity. Thinking about the flow of the factory when designing it can assist good hygiene. Ingredients should flow away from storage areas without crossing over cooked food. Consideration of how easy the factory will be to clean at an early stage of the design process is beneficial. Cleaning, like the movement of food and raw ingredients, should follow a flow and be directed from clean zones to ‘dirty zones’ (e.g. product to ingredient).
Hygienic equipment design
When planning and designing equipment for a food factory, hygienic design is often forgotten. The design of equipment within the food preparation areas is also important and should be based on a balance of operational requirements (personnel and process safety) and hygiene requirements (food safety). The equipment used to prepare food must not pose a risk to health, bring about an unacceptable change in the food composition or cause deterioration in the taste, smell, texture or look of the product. Everyone handling food should be adequately trained.
Companies in the food and drink industry are turning to mathematical modelling to develop and optimise their processes. We use finite element modelling (FEM) to model factory environments in real life situations, including ‘flows’ through process equipment and factories to aid hygienic design. It allows multiple situations to be modelled quickly and cheaply to solve problems, optimise processes or assess the effect of changes.
BRC Global Food Standard for Food Safety, Issue 8
Issue 8 contains new requirements that impact on hygiene:
- Risk assessed environmental monitoring programmes for pathogenic and spoilage organisms are required for all production areas with open ready to eat products
- When elevated walkways are adjacent to, or pass over production lines, they need to be:
- designed to prevent contamination of products and production lines
- easy to clean, and
- correctly maintained
- CIP (cleaning in place) equipment needs to be designed and constructed to ensure effective operation. This includes:
- validation confirming the correct design and operation of the system
- an up to date schematic diagram of the layout of the CIP system, and
- assessing the risk of cross-contamination (e.g. due to the re-introduction of allergens) where rinse solutions are recovered and reused
Campden BRI has a combination of scientific expertise and food and drink factory experience that allows us to provide cutting edge services to industry. These are supported by our food hygiene guidelines and modelling services. We can also help in other ways - as an independent cleaning chemical and disinfectant testing centre, with factory sampling and audits, and we also offer a wide range of hygiene training courses.
For more information about hygienic design or food safety monitoring programs contact Jordi Claraco Anguera, firstname.lastname@example.org
This article first appeared in Food Management Today.