The news media stories come up far too regularly - "Authorities have shut down a Texas food processing plant, saying it was contaminated by bacteria linked to the deaths of four people, state health officials said."
Food safety and sanitation is an essential part of the food industry. While it is important to be able to deliver food quickly and profitably, the importance of food safety and sanitation cannot be underestimated.
- Delivering food products that consumers feel confident in the product's freshness and edibility is important in order to continue selling the products.
- Plant employees need working environments that provide a safe and sanitary area to work and operate.
- OSHA requires food processing plants to meet or exceed their guidelines for employee safety. Such items as exposure to hazardous chemicals, bacteria, dust and allergens must be kept at a minimum. Also conveyors and food processing equipment must have appropriate safety guards and cleaning procedures.
- The FDA has extensive regulations for food processing and safety. These regulations include the type of conveyor or processing surfaces where food items can be placed and how those surfaces should be cleaned. Also the maintenance and cleaning intervals are closely monitored to insure that not only are the surfaces kept sanitary, but to make sure no debris accumulates in crevices where bacteria can grow and spread.
There are sanitary conveyor systems available that are designed specifically for food items. Conveyors are available that specifically handle bakery or confection items, meat or poultry, seafood, dairy, and ready-to-eat products. Having a sanitary conveyor that is designed for your particular food processing task can greatly improve your efficiency as well as meeting or exceeding safety and sanitary standards.
By meeting and exceeding FDA and OSHA regulations, your plant can not only avoid fines or potential shutdown, but also you can keep your workers safe, keep productivity up, and keep consumer confidence high.