Facility housekeeping essentials for a food processing startup

Food chef working.
Photo: Timur Saglambilek, Pexels

Clean processing facilitates are the essential condition for food safety. It’s much less likely that food safety will be compromised if the facility and equipment that finalize every product run is spotless. Occupational health and safety administrations provide general guidelines on how to keep these environments clean, but it’s on trained plant employees, especially operators outside the sanitation department, to follow those guidelines without exception. Here are the most important aspects of keeping your food processing plant spotless and safe.

Clutter-free walkways

Slips, trips and falls are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries in industrial facilitates. It’s the duty of floor managers to make walkways, passages and stairwells clear of obstructions and easy to navigate. All passageways need to be marked clearly with appropriate signage, and with corner mirrors eliminating critical blind spots. Floor hazards such as uneven joints, torn rubber carpeting, protruding nails or loose boards need immediate attention and elimination.

Safe floors

Clean and dry floors are important for every industrial plant, and especially for food processing lines, where chances of leaks and spills are much greater. If you’re planning a new facility, an extension or renovation of an existing plant, make sure the floor is suitable for production processes that are to take place. If your floor plan includes wet areas, you need a slip-free drainage system and anti-slip mats, or raised platforms for employees to stand on.

UV water purification

High standards of safety and quality in food processing facilities don’t depend solely on facility sanitation. Biological contamination in any production stage can result in recalls and wastage, not to mention customer complaints and regulatory fines. Since every food processing and beverage industry depends on large amounts of clean water, commercial UV sterilizers are ideal for removing microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, spores, yeast, moulds, nematoda and algae. UV disinfection systems are modular and can be used in any part of the process where safe water is needed.

Water softening

Water hardness is most commonly associated with dissolved calcium and magnesium minerals, which in high concentration lead to limescale problems in pipes and sieves, fouling UV systems and causing premature failure of industrial equipment in which water is used. A commercial water softener device set in the pre-treatment phase protects other water treatment processes, such as UV purification, as well as prolongs the life of hot and warm water systems, heat exchangers, thermostatic mixing valves, while cleaning and removing the existing limescale build-up.

Safe storage options

Clutter and disorganized storage are a reality in every industrial plant. However, items left in passageways and work areas slow down the traffic and reduce visibility, which can lead to injuries or property damage. It’s on floor managers to keep the workspaces and routes between them clear by providing proper storage and achievable organization that goes with it. Companies that specialize in warehouse and storage technologies offer a wide palette of industrial lifts, modular racks and smart retrieval systems, making daily storage operation simpler and safer.

Permanent sanitation

Food processing plants depend on a variety of sanitation systems that restrict pathogen spreading to both workers and the product. With many people allergic to certain foods or composites, when cycling between regular and allergen-free foods, facilities need to maintain the highest level of sanitation. Not all production lines can be washed, however, so many facilities resort to powerful vacuum systems with multi-stage filtrations and downstream exhaust filters, ensuring that contaminants and allergens stay within the vacuuming system.

Fire awareness

A majority of materials used in food industry are fine, dry and organic. The ignition source can ignite these materials easily, so the codes that regulate equipment in these facilities are very concise, with specific guidelines for different industries such as such as cocoa and chocolate, cereal, sugar, grain mills, baked products and many others where there is a chance of fine dust flash fires. Fire protection systems in these industries rely on a combination of spark detection, which includes IR-radiation, and flame detection and quick suppressants such as water spray and mist extinguishers.

Facility housekeeping relies on a multi-layered approach that includes processes, equipment and practices, as well as employees trained to adhere to them, use them and follow them. These measures don’t only show your genuine concern for the well-being and health of your employees, but also safeguard the brand and trust of your customers.