To prevent a variety of safety and health issues, the deep cleaning of equipment at a set frequency (monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually) must be built into the sanitation schedule, according to Mérieux NutriSciences Senior Director of Technical Services Steve Decker and Quality Assurance Magazine. A robust environmental monitoring program (EMP) will also help to stop pathogens from migrating into equipment. This is the first line of defense when keeping equipment in a safe condition. And, he added, “If the environment has been identified as a risk likely to occur, it must be built into your food safety plan.”

Apart from following good hygiene practices, prerequisites programs, and SSOPs, the facility and equipment should be of appropriate sanitary design, according to Remco Products Education and Technical Support Manager Amit Kheradia and Quality Assurance Magazine. Kheradia noted the 10 principles of sanitary design recommended by the American Meat Institute (AMI):

  • Cleanable to a microbiological level.
  • Made of acceptable material.
  • Accessible for inspection, maintenance, cleaning, and sanitizing.
  • No product or fluid collection.
  • Hollow areas of equipment are hermetically sealed.
  • No niches or harborage points.
  • Sanitary operational performance.
  • Hygienically designed maintenance enclosures.
  • Hygienic compatibility with other plant systems.
  • Validated cleaning and sanitizing equipment.

Food processing equipment is not the only factor to consider when establishing cleaning processes. Both the equipment and any surfaces used with food handling should be handled with care. Effective equipment cleaning helps businesses avoid risks of issues arising from contamination of food.