Raising the Bar with Hygienic Design: 3A and Showcasing our Next Generation Remco and Vikan Tools

Investing in a “hygienically designed” facility, equipment, or an itemized inventory is no longer just a buzzword for the food and beverages industries. Having surfaces that are easy to clean, inspect, and access have become definitive hallmarks for ensuring sanitary production of safe food by preventing or significantly minimizing key environmental hazards (such as pathogens, unique allergens, and deleterious foreign material) from contaminating food.   

Of course, design is considered an integral part of the material specifications that’s critical to assuring environmental and food sanitation. Last month, Remco attended the 3-A SSI’s 2021 Virtual Conference (a) where regulatory sanitarians, equipment manufacturers, food industry processors, academics, and professionals collectively deliberated on the “role of hygienic design in improving food safety plans.” Some topics of interest covered during the session were on: 

  • Pathogen control strategies  
  • Developing hygienic design training for the staff
  • Avoiding pitfalls in hygienic design 

The discussions and inputs by subject-matter experts clearly pointed out the stark limitations of legacy facility or equipment (b) when compared with the ideal choice of equipment that is hygienically designed. However, achieving the ideal is no mean task – for instance, 3-A takes a holistic approach to hygienic design by integrating: 

  1. Equipment design 
  2. Facility design
  3. Cleaning and sanitizing protocols
  4. Operational design and GMP procedures
  5. Quality and regulation focus 

In line with the recent development of new GFSI industry scopes (1), JI (for building constructors and equipment manufacturers) and JII (for building and equipment users), we should expect Certification Program Owners (i.e., developers of GFSI benchmarked standards such as BRC, SQF, and FSSC 22000) to include these hygienic design benchmarking requirements in their near-future program versions. However, besides just the capital assets such as building and equipment, hygienic design principles should also be considered for sanitation and material handling tools, since tools can also become vectors of contamination if improperly designed, constructed, or installed (2). 

Since 2015, Remco has offered Vikan’s line of Ultra-Safe Technology brushes and brooms. These hygienically designed tools are ideal for use in high-risk food processing areas, such as in a ready-to-eat facility. Each tool has a smooth surface, and most importantly, is free of significant contamination traps, making them easier to clean (3)Contact us to help you with the proper selection, installation, storage, care, and maintenance procedures for hygienically designed tools. To see our selection of tools meant specifically for hygiene-sensitive environments (including our squeegees, handles, and one-piece shovels), click here. 

Notes and References: 

(a) About 3-A Sanitation Standards Inc: As an independent organization, 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. 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. More information about 3-A SSI is available at: http://www.3-a.org/. 

(b) Legacy facility or equipment is usually a term given to outdated, obsolete, old, or over-used capital assets used at a site that were not originally constructed and installed with hygienic design principles in mind, hence they may create more maintenance and breakage problems in the medium- to long-run. 

(1) https://www.3-a.org/News-Events-Updates/News/ArtMID/122397/ArticleID/651/3-A-SSIEHEDG-Endorse-New-GFSI-Hygienic-Design-Benchmarking-Requirements 

(2) https://remcoproducts.com/how-to-keep-cleaning-tools-from-becoming-vectors-of-contamination/ 

(3) https://remcoproducts.com/ust-white-paper/ 

 

 

 

How to Choose the Right Brush for Food Processing

scrub brushes

Proper cleaning tools can increase plant hygiene and make it easier for food processing facility staff to do their job. Finding the right brushes for each job is easier when you understand the role bristle stiffness, brush type, and bristle/block attachment play in how a brush functions.

Hygienic Design of Brushes

Drilled and stapled brushes are made by drilling a hole into the brush block and stapling bristles into it. Higher quality versions will have only small gaps near the attachment point, making it less likely for contaminants to become trapped. Low-quality versions may have issues with bristles falling out and will have larger gaps around the fiber attachment points, making it easier for microorganisms to hide and multiply. For many food processing needs, a high-quality version of this type of brush is appropriate.

Resin-set brushes pose a variety of hygiene concerns. For this brush, holes are drilled in the block, filaments are stapled into them, and resin is added for extra bristle security. Resin itself isn’t approved for food contact and often gets trapped in between bristles and falls out, creating a source of contamination. This type of brush isn’t suitable for food manufacturing.

Ultra Safe Technology (UST) brushes from Vikan improve bristle retention and brush hygiene. These innovative brushes have a unique construction and design. Bristles are fully molded into individual bristle security units. Those units are then molded directly into the brush block, eliminating holes, gaps, and contamination traps. Because of this production technique, bristle security units can be arranged in patterns that allow brushes to be cleaned easily while maximizing cleaning efficiency. These ultra-hygienic brushes are ideal for food production plants that make infant formula, baby food, and ready-to-eat food.
Continue reading “How to Choose the Right Brush for Food Processing”

The Growing Importance of Hygienic Design

Hygienic design of tools and equipment is essential for improving food safety in production facilities, and many people within the industry are arriving at this consensus together. The challenges facing those responsible for food safety are seemingly endless, and companies shouldn’t have to worry about compounding risks with poorly designed cleaning tools.

This past summer I had the privilege of witnessing the consensus building surrounding hygienic design at two different conferences. In March, the 3-A Sanitary Standards Group tackle the challenges of the hygienic and sanitary design of equipment. With the ever-increasing complexity and volume of food production, sanitation is becoming more and more daunting. Currently, the standards created by 3-A apply primarily to large equipment, but the organization also recognizes the potential benefits of applying standards to things like hand tools.

In August, I attended the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) annual conference. The IAFP conference has grown significantly in size and influence over the last few years. Much like 3-A members, IAFP members were talking about hygienic design throughout several Professional Development Groups and across many general sessions.

Deb Smith, Vikan’s Global Hygiene Specialist, spoke to the Food Sanitation and Hygiene PDG on the science of hygienic design applied to cleaning tools. Her talk garnered great interest among attendees both inside and outside the group. It’s obvious the industry is recognizing the importance of hygienic design throughout the cleaning process. Deb is also presenting a webinar covering the same topic on October 6th. You can register here: http://info.foodprocessing.com/1610_remco_webcast_mnt. If you can’t make the live event, your registration will allow you to view an on-demand version for up to one year.

At Remco, our goal is simplifying the challenges faced by food safety professionals. We do this by collaborating with Vikan on many levels. In addition to supplying a full line of hygienic material handling and cleaning tools, we also providing webinars, white papers, training, and consulting. Through these practices, I believe we advance hygienic design and simplify your challenges.