Hygienic design and practices
By John Holah - 30 January 2013
The primary concern of food manufacturers is to produce a product that is both safe and wholesome. By safe, I mean free from pathogenic microorganisms and chemical and foreign body contamination. And by wholesome, that it has all the appropriate organoleptic qualities).
Historically the manufacture of safe, wholesome foods was considered to stem from the purchase of specified raw materials. But final product quality depends on much more than the quality of the raw material - managing hygiene issues is a major prerequisite.
Given specified raw materials, there are four major 'building blocks' that govern the way the factory is operated to ensure that the safe, wholesome food goal is realised.
Hygienic design dictates the design of the factory infrastructure and, until replaced by robots, the operatives! Hygienic practices maintain the integrity of the facility and include good hygienic practices (GHP) and good manufacturing practices (GMP). Process development enables the design of safe, validated products and processes, whilst the fourth element, process control, subsequently ensures that each product in each batch on every day meets the product and process requirements.
Hygienic design is essential for the food manufacturing infrastructure and consists of all the physical requirements necessary to manufacture the food product. Specifically, it includes:
- Factory site
- Factory building
- Food defence, biovigilance and bioterrorism
- Process lines
- Ventilation and air flows
- Services (utilities)
- Waste disposal
- Medical screening
Hygienic practices are all the actions necessary to maintain the food manufacturing infrastructure in a hygienic manner and thus facilitate safe and wholesome food manufacture by preventing contamination to the food product and include:
- House keeping
- Cleaning and disinfection
- Pest control
- Personal hygiene
Only if these are all performed and controlled in the correct manner will the benefits of raw material quality and effective process control be realised.
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