When it comes to the production and manufacture of food, hygiene is an over-arching, all-important element. And yet, there are still food manufacturers who fail to fully integrate hygienic design into their production facilities. Food Engineering Magazine recently published an article that emphasises the proactive approach that food manufacturers need to take when it comes to equipment design.
“Auditors are now looking for written programs, specifications outlining adequacy for food contact, cleanability and compatibility of materials used in food facilities,” says NSF International’s Michael Govro, technical scheme manager of supply chain food safety certifications. “The repercussions of not following standards is you’ll have an illness, or an outbreak of some sort, that would be detrimental to the brand itself, as well as to the food category.”
In itself hygiene is not a competitive advantage; it is a ‘hygiene factor’, something you simply must display to compete effectively. Getting this right provides chocolate and snack bar manufacturers with the platform to dominate their markets.
Globally, the human race is also becoming more susceptible to allergens, making hygienic food production critical. Hygiene therefore needs to be a central feature of a facility’s design, and something that’s kept in mind from the very beginning of the project. The same applies if a production line is being set up in an existing building; for example, it’s important that floors in the manufacturing room are sloped for drainage purposes.
When it comes to understanding the concept of hygiene as it relates to the production and manufacture of food, the World Health Organisation offers the most succinct definition:
“Food hygiene are the conditions and measures necessary to ensure the safety of food from production to consumption. Food can become contaminated at any point during processing, storage, distribution, transportation and preparation. Lack of adequate food hygiene can lead to foodborne diseases and death of the consumer.”
The consequences are worth keeping in mind. The cost to a business’s reputation and bottom line is serious enough, but the potential loss of life is infinitely worse.
Since the introduction of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), businesses have been under increasing pressure to get their production processes right, and to adopt a preventative rather than a responsive approach to hygiene.
It’s with this proactive approach firmly front-of-mind that we’ve put together a new eBook: The Hygiene Factor. It’s an introduction to applying hygienic design principles to bar manufacturing equipment, and it covers these key areas:
- The factors driving change – there’s been growing awareness over the last decade of the risks of foodborne diseases, and a significant regulatory response has followed.
- The shift from response to prevention – investing in preventative action is a worthwhile investment, especially since there’s greater involvement from regulatory and advisory bodies in the area of hygienic processing.
- What constitutes hygienic equipment design – the ten principles for food manufacturing equipment.
- The PTL way – our equipment is designed to several international standards; our focus goes beyond the equipment itself, as sanitation and hygiene are primary factors for us.
For quality food manufacturers, hygiene is a key element that trickles down all the way through the manufacturing process.
Whether you’re revamping an old facility or building a new one, hygiene is a paramount consideration. Breakdowns in hygiene standards are a sure-fire way of damaging your brand name and possibly generating costly legal issues. From a building concept that prevents the entry of bacteria, to the facility layout, to the design and installation of equipment, hygiene must be a key factor and one that runs through all aspects of food production.