For any food processing facility, the conveyor is a key component to insure products are delivered in a consistent and reliable method to the appropriate stage in the process. The stage could be cleaning, cutting, adding or removing byproducts or additives, and various packing stations. For food processing conveyors, FDA approved conveyors are mandatory. FDA approved conveyors are designed to perform its primary duty while keeping food products and the employees who perform work safe and efficient.
Sanitary conveyors must meet FDA guidelines to insure the process is safe and the food products produced are kept safe from unintended microbials. Food processing plants should make sure their cleaning and sanitation procedures meet or exceed FDA requirements. With the right conveyor equipment along with the right cleaning and maintenance practices, meeting these requirements should be an easy part of the plant maintenance process. Some areas to review as part of a plant equipment cleaning and sanitation master schedule include:
- Drains or trenches near conveyors should be cleaned and rinsed daily with a chlorine/alkaline detergent, quat or iodine based sanitizer.
- Grids should be cleaned and rinsed daily using a chlorine/alkaline detergent.
- Contact surfaces of the conveyors should be smooth, non-absorbant,sealed and easily cleanable. Damaged surfaces should be repaired or replaced immediately.
- Conveyor materials should be sloped to allow drainage and made of nontoxic and noncorrosive materials.
- Covers should be used whenever two conveyors meet, and the covers should be cleaned at least daily with the appropriate cleaning agents.
- Conveyor rollers should be inspected and cleaned frequently, and rollers should be properly installed and built to avoid accumulation of pathogen-harboring debris.
- Fibrous or porous type conveyors should be avoided because they are prone to being a source of microbial contaminants.
- Can be disassembled easily to allow fast efficient and thorough cleaning, then provide easy reassembly to reduce downtime.
- Meets FDA surface requirements to reduce microbrial contamination
- Is built with a solid framework and is constructed to be durable and sturdy.
- Have no exposed threads on legs, feet, and other areas where threads can cause pathogen hazards.
- Provide wear strips that can be removed as needed an then replaced without significant downtime.
- Provides easy access for routine cleaning without the need for extra tools.
When evaluating your conveyor needs, be sure to consider the maintenance and cleaning requirements and make sure your conveyors are best for keeping your plant running smoothly while keeping the food and environment safe and sanitary.