We’ve all experienced it.
A moment when you’re eating something so delicious that you’re sad it will eventually be gone.
You’re licking your lips, about to take one final bite, when you see it. A piece of hair that’s a different colour than the hair on your head, a big ol’ bug’s leg, or [insert any other gross foreign object here].
Nobody likes finding mysterious things in their food, and nobody likes having to recall products due to contamination. And yet even things like machinery can contaminate products if processes aren’t in place to prevent that from happening.
What prevention comes down to is maintenance, design, and following regulations. Here are some of our tips below:
Create a maintenance schedule
Material build-up will both contaminate your end product, and can also lead to corrosion in your machinery. That’s why cleaning and maintaining your machinery should be a top priority.
Not only will it help keep your products clean, but by keeping a record of the state of your machinery, you will be able to more easily predict when it needs to be replaced as well as what might be causing its lifecycle to shorten.
Keeping machinery clean also has the benefit of keeping your plant safe from combustible dust explosions and deflagration.
Depending what material you are conveying, as well as your equipment material, different cleaning and disinfection methods may be used to prevent corrosion or chemical reactions with any cleaning supplies. Here’s a resource that helps break down the different types of contaminants as well as cleaning methods.
Ensure safety up your supply chain
Every country, and every state or province, has their own set of regulations to meet when planning a food manufacturing plant and continuing through its processes. That’s where the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) comes in.
The GFSI is an organization of volunteers that sets a standard for all other regulatory bodies to follow—making it easy to use universally. It also makes it easy to track your suppliers and ensure you’re using food safe products and materials all the way up your supply chain.
Read our blog on the GFSI to find out more.
Safety by design
Even with the right processes in place, as well as properly training your employees, human error can still happen. That’s why it’s integral to apply safety by design into your plant blueprint and processes.
For example, choosing the wrong material for your equipment can lead to contamination and corrosion. You can reduce these risks by designing your equipment for ease of cleaning and for longer lifecycles.
Stainless steel 304 and 316 are excellent options when it comes to sanitary applications. Unlike aluminum, it is both resistant to corrosion with both acids and alkalis. This type of material is also easier to form and weld, meaning that there will be less cracks and crevices where food can build up.
Ensure that you’re welding and finishing your equipment properly to keep cracks and crevices from forming. The reduction in material build up makes your equipment easier to clean for those on the plant floor.
If joints are necessary, such as when joining your rotary valve to the hopper, they should be joined with a running weld or a sanitary joint. A great example of this is our MD Series Valve which has a universal ANSI class 150 flange bolt pattern, making it compatible with most food grade pneumatic conveying systems.
Round equipment means fewer crevices and ultimately easier cleaning.
Extra features designed in
There are other features you can add into your processes to further reduce human error and just make cleaning easier. U-shaped rotor pockets create that rounded edge inside the valve that will eliminate unnecessary crevices where material can build up.
For more information on features that will keep your plant clean, feel free to contact one of our reps here.