PET Food Processing - March 2018 - 76
design plays a big
role in the safety of
both our products
and people. It has
a positive impact
on the entire
Ramon Martinez, Purina
four people two hours to strip down a machine and
change the belts. Now two people can do it in half an
hour. Multiply that over 24/7 for a couple of years;
that's a huge savings as well as being much easier for
Open access also has to be balanced with health and
Welds should be full continuous beads to help eliminate pits, cracks,
recesses and open seams that could trap product and harbor bacteria.
safety cautions Gaydusek. "There are safety issues, but
companies are addressing that as well. They have review committees that take a look at all of the equipment coming in and they address things like pinch
points. They typically follow OSHA's rules and regulations as far as contact area and distances between moving parts. From what I've seen, those issues are being
addressed very strongly."
Every processor has its own unique constraints. Small
details can often be overlooked such as how to route cabling and wiring and where the control panel will be located. Nelson says addressing everything that's in the production room is part of keeping a total environment clean
and pathogen free. Martinez agrees, "Sanitary design at
Purina certainly applies to our processing equipment, but
we also look at the holistic environment that equipment
sits in within our factories. Our factories and the equipment used in our processing are all built or purchased
according to precise prerequisites to guarantee that the
materials, equipment and manufacturing environment
-from the floor to ceiling and in between - are all designed to produce safe products."
If the total environment isn't designed to handle
washdown, different procedures need to be established.
Kehrli explains, "Processors don't necessarily want to
bring water into every area because water can be the
enemy. Bacteria can grow in water. If the equipment is
removable, it can be brought in to a washdown area or
a room and washed down more thoroughly with caustic chemicals. We are accommodating certain customers' limitations. If they don't have drains in the floors in
one area, they can wheel the equipment to another area
that does have drains and clean the equipment there."
Options for existing equipment
Complete redesign from the ground up is best. Although
some improvements to existing equipment can help in
keeping the equipment more sanitary, modifying an existing design doesn't quite do the trick according to Kehrli.
"Can we make it a little better and easier to clean? Sure,
but I wouldn't put a label on it that says sanitary design.
We can improve certain aspects to make equipment in a
processing plant more sanitary, but we can't say the system follows the 10 commandments."
Product contact surfaces that have deteriorated can be
replaced with more compatible material or catch pans
can be added to exposed areas. One of the most common means to increase food safety on older machinery
is the use of shields. Proper use of covers and shields can
cure many food safety concerns. The downside to this
approach is the increased amount of surface area to be
sanitized, which slows down the sanitation process.
Newer machines have more channel pathways for
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