Posted at 03 January 2019

Food Zones and Hygiene Strategies for Machinery Design

After hospitals, food and beverage manufacturing are probably the most critical areas of maintaining hygiene. It’s not just a matter of mechanics but it’s also essential to understand potential contamination sources, the zones within food manufacturing plants, installation, and the operating environment

food processing

 

Where does contamination come from?

In this sector there are three potential sources of contamination: Biological, Chemical and Physical.

All machines need to be built to protect food from all these causes, and there are numerous food and hygiene regulations, directives and standards which machine builders need to be aware of.

Which zone is which?

The European Standard EN 1672-2, Food processing machinery - Basic concepts, defines three areas in food production: the Food, Splash and Non-Food zones. Each has different implications for machine design, construction and maintenance.

Food Zone

Encompassing all system parts and components mounted directly in the food flow, which come into contact with foodstuffs. Includes all areas where food could be contaminated and return to the product flow. Parts and components must be easy to clean and disinfect, corrosion-resistant, non-toxic and non-absorbent.

Splash Zone

Machine parts and components come into direct contact with foodstuffs, but the food is not returned to the product flow. Parts used must meet Food Zone criteria.

Non-Food Zone

Machine components do not come into contact with the product. Parts should be manufactured from corrosion-resistant materials, and be easy to clean and disinfect, as bacteria could develop over time.

Going beyond the Zones

The European standards represent a minimum requirement but many manufacturers are being advised to go further. The European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) identifies areas with potential for contamination of food production, and publishes hygienic design guides for machine builders.

However, even the best-designed product on the market will present a contamination risk unless correctly installed. Correct installation is particularly important for: cable trays, floor-mounted motors, machine feet and mounting holes, and tubes and fittings.

It’s also equally important to check for compressed air contact with food products or packaging during the production process, and to consider “worst-case” scenarios.

Thanks to their extensive knowledge and expertise, working with a partner like Festo enables machine builders to build efficient, cost-effective, fit-for-purpose equipment.

 

Read the Complete Article: Know+How Magazine Issue 35 Hygienic Solutions

Hygiene is a them that echoes through every part of our lives, whether socially, at work or in our home.

With this in mind we delve into  range of topics from allergens in the workplace, the perils of sticky dough on a conveyor right through to the risks associated with refillable soap dispensers. 

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