Tips for Food-Processing Equipment Hygiene

Tips for Food-Processing Equipment Hygiene

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  • Opening Intro -

    In 1906, the country was horrified by the food practices reported in Upton Sinclair's muckraking novel, The Jungle.

    This spurred widescale reformations in food processing.

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Now, there are few industries that value hygiene as highly as food processing. Despite our progress, industry professionals can always strive to continue making improvements in food safety.

That is the goal of these tips for food-processing equipment hygiene.

Start With Employee Hygiene

Employees are the ones making the most consistent contact with machinery, so maintaining a high standard of hygiene for employees is the first step toward proper food-processing equipment hygiene.

Obviously, workers must follow consistent handwashing schedules, and management must enforce the wearing of gloves, hairnets, and aprons. But facilities should also provide means of washing aprons and boots and train employees when to change their gloves and how to dispose of them properly.

The point of aprons and gloves is to protect food from germs on the hands and clothes, but wearing them again and again without cleaning or replacing them will lead to germs accumulating on the outside of gloves and aprons. 

Examine Facility Design 

While any facility will require consistent effort to keep it clean, there are ways of designing these workplaces to make equipment easier to clean and prevent contaminations before they happen.

A machine’s materials will impact how efficiently it can be cleaned.

For instance, one of the benefits of using stainless steel for food processing is that it is easy to clean and chemical-resistant, so a wider variety of cleaning materials can be safely used on it.

Utilizing covers for mixers and tanks will also ensure that nothing is dropped into the food.

The environment that the machinery is in also plays a part in the machinery’s cleanliness, so keeping the building itself clean is also key. Any place where there are large quantities of food is susceptible to pests such as mice and insects. 

Pests themselves are unclean, but they also leave droppings which are a nightmare for food-processing facilities. Constructing the building with measures to prevent pests is essential for a clean facility, along with regular custodial work.

Organize Cleaning Procedures

Consistent protocol should also be established as far as how employees clean machinery. When new equipment is brought in, employees should not only be trained in how to use it but also in how to properly clean it.

other valuable tips:

Because different machines may require different tools and cleaners, cleaning materials should be organized and labeled by machine with instructions for how to clean each machine clearly posted. From there, it is then the facility’s responsibility to ensure a consistent cleaning schedule is established.

Fortunately, food processing is much safer than the days of Upton Sinclair and The Jungle, but we can continue to take its lessons to heart. Safe food begins with safe food-processing equipment, and safe food-processing equipment begins with hygiene. 

Image Credit: by envato.com

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