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Meeting hygiene requirements

08 August 2021

Gabe Boxall offers advice on ensuring that conveying solutions in the food environment meet the hygiene requirements demanded of them. 

Hygiene is extremely important within food production environments, and for good reason. Without correct hygiene guidelines and procedures, food products will easily succumb to contamination by bacteria or foreign matter. This in turn leads to loss in revenue through product recalls, lost sales and damage to the overall brand.

When considering how to improve or benchmark conveying solutions, there are three main points to evaluate:

1. Is the conveyor belt and/or equipment CIP (Clean in Place) or COP (Clean Out of Place)? In simple terms, a belt or piece of equipment can be deemed CIP when it is possible to clean the system solely by using chemical detergent solutions and/or water without dismantling the system. By contrast a COP system must be taken out of the production line or area to be dismantled and cleaned. There are many benefits of CIP systems over COP systems, which include but are not limited to:

• Reduced down-time
• Ease of use for hygiene teams
• Ease of machine maintenance

It is also beneficial for the hygiene team that all equipment that is to be used with food production has as open a structure as possible. An open structure allows for hygiene teams to easily see any areas which may need additional cleaning and as above, reduces down-time.

2. Does the equipment have any hidden areas or crevices? It is essential that equipment has no hidden areas or crevices  that can harbour dirt or debris. These are areas where water, detergents or dirt can collect, or bacteria can culture. These areas can lead to contamination which can pose a health risk to consumers.

Next it is important to consider whether the equipment has any level surfaces where water can collect – this again will lead to bacterial contamination. To counter this, it is imperative that all surfaces on the equipment are sloped to allow water to run away. 

3. Does the equipment facilitate cleaning? Finally, it is critical that conveying equipment facilitates cleaning as this will fundamentally give the greatest reduction in risks of product recall. Products designed for this purpose, such as the Wire Belt Ladder-Flex Spreading Conveyor, facilitates cleaning in the following ways:

• It is free of crevices, grooves, uneven or rough surfaces.
• All product and non-product surfaces are designed to attain the required sanitization conditions.
• The conveyor is designed to allow approach from several different washing positions, which in turn allows for proper cleaning.
• The open design of the conveyor allows for easy and detailed inspection after cleaning.

The new range of Enhanced Hygienic conveyors from Wire Belt have been designed from the ground up with reference to NSF and EHEDG hygienic design criteria, making them the belt solution for Hygienic Conveying Solutions currently available.

Gabe Boxall is technical sales engineer at Wire Belt Company.

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