Hygienic Design of Open Food Processing Equipment

F. Moerman1 and K. Lorenzen2

1Catholic University of Leuven — KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium, 2European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group, Frankfurt, Germany


Food legislation developed in many countries around the globe requires that microbiologically safe food shall be produced by means of process equipment that minimizes the risk of contamination and that is easily cleanable. Good hygienic engineering and design practices have become the tools to reduce or exclude microbial (e.g., pathogens), chemical (e.g., lubricating fluids, cleaning and disinfectant chemicals), or physical (e.g., glass, wood) contamination of food. Good hygienic equipment design also allows to eliminate food product “held up” within the process equipment that could deteriorate and affect product quality on rejoining the main product flow. So, also cross-contamination of one batch by a previous batch can be avoided by means of good hygienic design practices. Although initially more expensive than poorly designed equipment, hygienically designed equipment is more cost effective in the long term because it may reduce the downtime required for an item of process equipment to be cleaned, disinfected, or maintained.

Open processes include many different types of equipment according to the product (e.g., dairy, alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks, ice cream, sweet oil, nutrient fat, coffee, sugar, cereals, vegetables, fruits, bakery products, ready meals, meat, and fish). During open processing, contamination may additionally occur from microorganisms present in the factory and so the operating environment also becomes an important factor. The type and level of product contamination and the stage of the manufacturing process must also be taken into account.

This chapter intends to inform food safety professionals and inspectors/ auditors about the risks associated with poor hygienic design of open process equipment. Along with typical examples of poor hygienic design, the necessary technical and practical guidance is given to identify and control open

Food Protection and Security. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-1-78242-251-8.00006-0

© 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

food processing equipment-related food safety hazards. This chapter may help the food manufacturer to select the most suitable food processing equipment, to construct a food production line that meets all current and future hygienic requirements, and to set up an appropriate food safety management plan (e.g., HACCP) intended to eliminate or control all food safety hazards along the food chain.

In Section 6.2, an overview is given of the current legislation and standards dealing with the hygienic design of food processing equipment. Section 6.3 lists the basic hygienic design requirements that food processing equipment must meet to produce microbiologically safe food products. Section 6.4 describes the hygienic and food-grade materials that can be used in the manufacturing of food processing equipment; Section 6.5 outlines the requirements for the food contact surface finish. In the next sections, we discuss the hygienic design of several open food processing equipment (components) such as open vessels, containers and bins (Section 6.6), framework (Section 6.7), feet (Section 6.8) and casters (Section 6.9), belt conveyors (Section 6.10), motors (Section 6.11), covers and guards (Section 6.12), electrical equipment enclosures and cabling (Section 6.13), human interfaces (Section 6.14), and stairs, raised walkways, and platforms (Section 6.15).

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