As facility owners, we understand the imperative nature of meeting sanitation standards in the food processing industry. We didn’t reach this position by not understanding why these standards are so important. The question that remains is how to keep your food processing equipment sanitary on a practical, day-to-day basis.
Focus on Design
Equipment will be harder or easier to clean depending on how it was made. When you first install equipment in your facility, keep future sanitation needs in mind. Avoid equipment with sharp corners and dead areas where soil and other food particles may become stuck. Tanks should be capable of being drained completely, both to remove leftover food and cleaners. When possible, facilities should try to obtain machines with coves on them to prevent food from overflowing or splashing back onto the floor.
Along with structure, machinery should be made of easy-to-clean material. This non-corrosive material won’t react when exposed to cleaning chemicals, and is not prone to becoming scratched. Stainless steel is typically the preferred choice for materials that are both durable and easy to clean, which is why our company recommends it.
Keeping food processing equipment sanitary isn’t just about the design of the machinery itself but the design of everything around the machinery. Machinery should be spaced out in such a way that allows workers to be able to move freely between and under machinery. This prevents the risk of food becoming stuck and makes it easier for machinery to be cleaned. Additionally, water accumulating on the floor in food processing facilities creates not only a slipping hazard for employees but increases the likelihood of mold and bacteria development. Drainage systems on the floor should be incorporated throughout the facility.
Standardize Sanitation Protocols
It’s one thing to tell workers that equipment needs to be kept clean, but another to implement effective cleaning protocols. The recommendation for cleaning processing equipment is to use a CIP pump cart to wash equipment both with cleaning and sanitizing materials on a regular basis. How often you do this will depend on the make and model of the equipment. Because of that, each machine should have its own cleaning schedule and employees should be trained on the best practices for washing the different machines. Whatever the machinery, microfiber towels should be used during the wipe down stage to help prevent scuffs and scratches.
Cedarstone is ready to equip your facility with well-designed, easy-to-clean mixing tanks, storage vessels, and food-grade IBC totes. If you have questions on keeping them sanitary, we’re available to offer our professional advice.