Food & beverage facilities have the constant responsibility of maintaining hygienic control for not only their products, but also their employees. As Gray discussed in Part One and Part Two of this series, there are serious considerations when it comes to designing, constructing, and renovating food & beverage facilities. It is an all-encompassing process, from utility tie-ins and trash collection to airflow direction and a thorough sanitation program. After a facility is built and set up for hygienic design, the cleaning of process equipment is a critical factor, and it should not be dismissed.
The need for maintaining hygienic process equipment is more important than ever for several reasons. Apart from direct costs of halting production, the logistics of removing the contamination, the amount of production time lost, and the funding needed for additional resources to manage possible recall tasks, there are indirect costs—such as brand reputation, losing repeat customers, and lawsuits that can also be difficult for the company moving forward. Human lives and companies’ success and reputation depend on food production safety.
FSMA and Automated Systems
To solidify the importance of food processing sanitation, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was introduced in 2011 with a focus on prevention instead of reaction. Beyond regulations, consumers have higher expectations than ever for the favorite food & beverage brands they consume. As a result, hygienic food process equipment trends now include Clean-in-Place (CIP), Cleaning-out-of-Place (COP), data tracking, metal detectors, automation to ensure control and traceability, and sanitary cleanable designs.
These automated systems help clean the inside of processing equipment without having to disassemble the equipment, adding efficiency to the cleaning process. “The Clean-in-Place (CIP) systems feature automatic valves that will introduce the CIP flow at the proper time to the process line,” says Brian Bernard, president, Spec Engineering, a Gray company, which designs and integrates CIP systems. “The CIP supply skid with integrated valves allow the flow of product to pause, introduce the cleaning solution, and then reintroduces product back to the system after sanitization is complete.”