Proactive design of a sanitary food facility

How can smart design and innovation help with food safety?

Facilities need to ensure that food products and ingredients do not become contaminated or adulterated during the manufacturing process. Food manufacturers, as expected, carry the burden for monitoring and maintenance of these operations to prevent product contamination – and this is no easy task.  However, standards are providing facility managers greater flexibility these days in the design of plant and equipment, encouraging greater innovation in sanitary processes.

If you are building, expanding or upgrading an existing food manufacturing facility, or simply maintaining your equipment, incorporating sanitary design is an effective food safety strategy. Positive sanitary design can maintain or increase product shelf life, improve product safety by reducing the potential of foodborne illness or recall, and facilitate cleaning and the sanitation of the site.

Three basic elements of design that would be conducive to sanitary food production include:

1. Site Selection

Carefully assess the size of the structure and surrounding land – as this can impact immediate needs and any expectation of future expansion.  Take into account the availability of emergency services and necessities such as fuel, cleaning and food services. More importantly, review the proximity to important resources such as labour, transportation and materials. Be aware of surroundings including rail networks, neighbouring businesses, and natural environments such as creek beds and vegetation.

2. Pest Control

Basic pest control involves preventing access and removing harbourage areas within the facility. Exclusion of pests can be accomplished through screening doors and windows, installing air curtains and bristle strips, sealing of gaps, cracks and crevices. A professional pest controller can assess pest harbourage and access and provide expert recommendations in site design – an example of this is the seamless installation of bird netting in the sites’ construction phase. Engage with a pest controller that is innovative and up-to-speed with legislative and environmental needs for your site – especially one that understands the need to keep energy costs down, eliminate and catch pests hygienically, eliminating risks of contamination. A professional pest controller can assist with details and design for lighting, loading docks, platforms, receiving rooms, exterior walls, roof construction, employee facilities and building openings.

3. Good Housekeeping

Machinery requires regularly checking and work parts need to be replaced as soon as practical. This makes up the general maintenance of production facility preventing debris from entering the product or contaminating the production line. Good housekeeping should be built into food processing procedures such as cleaning and sanitising cycles, removal of product accumulation, and waste disposal.

Facilities must implement a food safety system that includes an analysis of all these hazards and risks and establish preventative controls to ensure food safety. It is recommended to meet today’s standards for food safety and sanitary design, that engagement with many stakeholders takes place in the preconstruction phase. Don’t leave it to post-construction to manage sanitary and hygiene related issues that could impact food safety for your business and risk reputation damage.

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3rd June 2020
Kathryn Birett
Big Ideas, Take Control

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