California League of Food Producers 5 1. Cleanable to a microbiological level All plant equipment must be constructed to allow effective cleaning throughout its lifespan. This means the design should discourage the growth and reproduction of micro- organisms on all contact and non-contact surfaces. 2. Made of compatible materials Not all surfaces are impervious to the materials they’re being exposed to. This is very important to understand when it comes to designing processing equipment. Some caustics may cause corrosion or pitting when applied to certain materials. Over time, this can create nasty little harborage areas for microorganisms. In this case, corrosion resistant materials are ideal. 3. Inspection, maintenance and sanitation accessibility It has been said that “If you can’t see it and you can’t touch it, then you can’t clean it.” Put simply, if you’re working with a non-CIP environment, you need to be able to get every- thing clean. Having equipment that can open up completely will not only allow for full exposure of food soil for sanitation, it will also allow your sanitation team to get the job done properly, safely and in line with procedures. 4. No product or liquid collection Processing equipment shouldn’t harbor an environment where product can collect and eventually dry out. When this happens, you risk contaminating your batch with foreign particles. Alternatively, considering that moisture increases the risk of microbial growth, factories should not have machinery that allows for standing water; flat surfaces for example. As we know, standing water can be a breeding ground for undesirable microorganisms. In this case, your equipment should have open choke points that encourage free movement of product throughout operation, as well as slanted or rounded surfaces for proper drainage. A revised design, with more space between exit chute & cutting head 5. Hollow areas must be hermetically sealed Although the FSMA frowns somewhat upon the usage of hollow tubing, and most equipment frames are tubular –and we already know from Principle 4 that flat surfaces harbor microorganisms –it must be ensured that all hollow tubing be completely sealed. Any penetration or puncturing of hollow tubing can allow microorganisms to grow and By EVAN MCCREA – Marketing Specialist, Deville Technologies Inc. Why Equipment Design Matters