Revisiting the Significance of Hygienic Design with 3-A SSI

Amit M. KheradiaAmit M. Kheradia attended the 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. (3-A SSI) Educational Conference and Technical Workgroups that took place from May 13 – 16, 2019 in Bloomington, Minnesota. The conference turned out to be an insightful knowledge sharing platform.

Some of the key topics of significance were on the following issues:

  • The economic benefits of hygienic design
  • The unseen threats to food safety
  • Retail and consumer expectations for hygienic design
  • Counterfeit parts and their relationship to food safety

The conference was well attended by over 200 professionals from various regulatory, industry, and advocacy groups who came together to support the organization’s overarching mission of promoting food safety through hygienic equipment design.

Poor hygienic equipment design has been known to be a significant contributing factor in adversely affecting the safety and quality of manufactured food products. Such equipment can act as harborage spots for pathogens, allergens, or foreign matter, which may subsequently lead to foodborne illnesses, inspectional violations, operational losses, and food recalls. Moreover, according to industry estimates, having the facility, equipment, tools, and utensils of sanitary design could help companies save about $0.5 – 1.5 million annually by greatly minimizing the chances of costly product rejects, recalls, and associated expenses.

The Technical Workgroup Sessions, which are open to all food safety professionals, covered the updates related to the standards and accepted best practices for: farm equipment, vessels, fillers, fittings, valves, pumps and mixers, dairy equipment, heat exchangers, instruments, concentrators, conveyors, feeders, process and cleaning, as well as plant support equipment. If the cleaning solution and food-contact components of an equipment not designed for CIP or other automated methods of cleaning, these parts should be cleaned and sanitized manually. Manual cleaning, in such cases, involves the use of tools such as brushes, scrapers, squeegees etc. along with other sanitation aids to achieve the desired effect required to remove soils from a contact surface. Hence, cleaning and material tools, like those provided by Remco and Vikan, also play a key role in assuring sanitary design and conditions of the equipment and environment.

About 3-A SSI

As an independent organization, 3-A SSI principally relies on the collaboration and consensus of regulatory sanitarians, equipment fabricators and food processors when developing voluntary standards and accepted practices for food processing systems. In order to be granted the authorization to use the 3-A symbol on their processing equipment or parts, equipment fabricators must have their systems successfully audited against the required criteria through a third-party verification process. Additionally, 3-A SSI has an extensive knowledge center, and also organizes an annual conference to promote a high level of professionalism within the hygienic equipment design sector. More information about 3-A SSI is available at: http://www.3-a.org/.