Food Safety: Hygienic Design Takes the Cake

According to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one in every six US residents suffer a bout of foodborne illness every year. Of the estimated 48 million Americans who are victims of foodborne illness annually, 128,000 become so seriously ill, they require hospitalization and about 3000 die.

Statistics show that along with any improvement in the standard of living, consumers have growing expectations regarding the quality and safety of the food they eat, with a clear focus on healthy eating as a requirement to sustain wellness and increase longevity. Foodborne illness is sometimes the consequence of poor food preparation. Other times, diseases can be traced back to insufficient sanitary procedures and/or poorly designed food equipment or food facilities.

The costs associated with trying to repair a contamination in a food producing facility are outweighed by the substantial damage to company’s reputation and irreparable economic consequences, due to food safety authority investigation, product recalls, food-poisoning lawsuits, court-imposed penalties and administrative fees. These fears make it especially important for food manufacturers to implement a sufficient approach to hygienic design. However, while delivering consistent hygiene to the required standard, hygienic design provides also practical advantages in comparison with ordinary design, e.g., 40-51% reduction in water usage, 21–33% less energy consumption and 20-49% reduction of CO2 emission, according to the EU’s ECODHYBAT program.

Continuous Cleaning

Hygienic design guidelines take into consideration how to construct and install the equipment and associated infrastructure needed for the food storage, processing and distribution.

In general, the hygienic design aims to enhance control of potential external and internal hazards. External hazards include microorganisms, airborne particulate matter, airborne chemical taints, pests, and unauthorized human access. Internal factory hazards comprise microorganisms from raw materials, chemical taints from product and cleaning residues as well as allergens, particulate matter – glass pieces, metal fragments, flaking paint), human contamination.

“It is much easier to design continuous cleaning systems into new equipment design, in order to develop a system that is truly hygienically designed and easy to clean and maintain. This is the ideal way to get to a foolproof solution that works well and consistently. When installing continuous cleaning systems onto legacy equipment, the effort is considerably higher,” says Evan Reyes, sales director, Sanitation Division at Goodway Technologies. “Our latest innovation is designed to continuously clean fabric type conveyor belts during production. This fixed brushless system allows manufacturers of chocolates, cookies, protein & cereal bars, cereals, candy, and other production lines requiring cooling tunnels to clean these long fabric belts continuously during production. The system introduces no moisture into the environment, uses no chemicals, and consumes only seven gallons of water per hour. When belts are continuously cleaned and rollers never get dirty, production flexibility on that line is nearly unlimited, changeovers are all but eliminated, and customers can take on more orders and smaller orders within existing production lines,” he added.

You can read the rest of this article in the Autumn Issue of World Bakers Digital magazine, which you can access by clicking here.

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