News : Hygienic Design of Food Plants 101 with John Schook

January 31, 2017

From barrier technology and proper facility zoning to pest prevention and layout, the planning, design and construction of food plants revolves around hygienic practices. Today’s customers not only expect but demand that processing plants ensure a highly efficient and sanitary environment. On January 30th, as part of CHA’s Lunch & Learn series, CHA Tech Services’ John Schook discussed best practices concerning the hygienic design of food plants.

Sanitary design is the use of clearly defined methods and specifications for the design, fabrication and installation of facilities and systems to eliminate or reduce recognizable risks of contamination from microbiological, physical and chemical sources. John’s presentation elaborated on how hygienic design can address the primary challenges faced by the food industry, including increased production demand, product recalls, and underlying system issues. Proper evaluation and implementation of sanitary design criteria is an effective way to reduce and prevent many issues related to the aforementioned events.

“Keep it simple,” said John, “Sanitary design does not need to be expensive. The right information and application of the basic design principles can avoid costly issues.” The core tenets of effective sanitary design are as follows:

  • Enhance system functionality and not inhibit it
  • Improve the ability to reduce risks of product safety concerns
  • Reduce time required to clean properly
  • Facilitate selection of appropriate materials for fabrication of the facility and/or equipment
  • Effectively isolate potential threats to product safety

“Good manufacturing practices, or GMPs, are the foundation for considering sanitary design criteria,” stated John. GMPs require the operator to consider the system’s food safety requirements based on operational needs. By doing so, operators can fully understand the plant’s design and methods to avoid contamination. “Experience has taught us that mistakes made during fabrication and installation are often the result of simply not understanding the issues,” explained John. “Keeping an open line of communication with the client and placing a never-ending emphasis on getting it right prevent these mistakes.”