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:
- Equipment design
- Facility design
- Cleaning and sanitizing protocols
- Operational design and GMP procedures
- 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.