Just a few years ago, several lovely people in the food industry did some basic work:
They set aside competition, sat down, and worked together to find a better way to deal with pollution in food processing plants. They came together through a plant design team initiated by the American Meat Institute (AMI), and their common goal was to establish a set of standards for planning, constructing, or refurbishing existing or newly-built plants to deal specifically with harmful bacteria and pathogens Infiltration and growth.
The working group includes high-end owners, operators, architects, engineers, and contractors, but also from Land O 'Frost, Hormel Foods, Kraft, Sara Lee, Bar S, Tyson, McClier, Carter Burgess, middough Consulting, The Stellar Group, Representatives of Hendon Redmond, Hixson, Ram Market Solutions, Smithfield, and John Morrel.
The gathering of members of this industry to determine these goals together is a revolutionary step for an industry that boasts of its own competitive advantages, strictly conservative secrets and original secrets.
Skip Seward, executive vice president and plant design team leader at AMI in Washington State, said: "We are not in favor of treating food safety as a competitive advantage in this industry. Everyone has to come up with their best hygienic design solution, And contribute their knowledge of what may or have gone wrong, and establish a set of guidelines to ensure product processing safety. These are experiences that are worth learning from. "
As with most industries, meeting with competitors to discuss process strategy sounds ridiculous. However, unlike most other industries, food processors are also aware of contamination issues, especially for ready-to-eat products like cooked meat or bagged salads. This is not a matter of production or competitive price, but of food safety.
"The difference between the food industry and the semiconductor industry is that if there is a pollution accident in the semiconductor industry, the product can be withdrawn during the quality assurance period. But if it is food, it can cause death." Haskell is An architectural, engineering, and design contractor based in Jacksonville, Florida, USA, and a member of a dedicated team.
Seward said that it is unusual to bring together companies from competing brands. In addition, the team also combines the knowledge and experience of architects, engineers, contractors and plant owners with expertise, Have a deeper and more comprehensive discussion. "We want to make it clear that everyone can see the entire factory, and everyone can bring something different to the discussion," Seward said.
The way in which plant owners deal with pathogens is based on the experience accumulated over many years of factory operation, and this experience is unfamiliar to contractors and architects, and designers and builders undertake dozens of new Starting or rebuilding a project, they know better how to fight pathogens with the latest tools, technologies and design strategies.
John Butts, vice president of Land O 'Frost, said: "No one in the panel dares to say that we have all the expertise, and we have learned a lot from others." John Butts is the largest cooked meat producer in the United States. He is also a member of the panel.
Darryl Wernimont, Haskell's head of process integration, added that sharing knowledge and needs benefits all members of the panel and the industry as a whole. Darryl Wernimont is also a member of the panel. At the beginning, the owners first shared the stories that happened several years after the designers and architects left (the factory was built). Armed with this knowledge, these manufacturers are able to find better solutions, bring a competitive advantage to their sanitary facility design, and enable them to better serve the long-term needs of equipment operators.
Wernimont found the process of the problem from an architectural perspective, which was very instructive. "We have learned about the life of the factory. Many things that happened in the factory were unknown to the architects, because these things happened long after they left," he said.
By participating in a special group, his group saw what problems would occur after a factory was completed. For example, walls, floors, or ceilings are not durable enough, surface cracks have become places for dust, insects, and rodents to hide, or moisture can accumulate on walls that are not properly sealed. "When we understand what went wrong in the past, we can make better design judgments to avoid these situations in the future," he said.
After several months of collaboration, the team presented a document we call the Eleven Principles of Sanitation Design, which was disclosed at a symposium by the American Meat Institute (AMI) Foundation in 2005.
This document helps plant owners and designers eliminate potential contamination issues in food processing facilities by identifying high-risk areas or issues when planning, such as places where moisture may accumulate in plants, hosts of pathogens, dust, insects and Where rodents hide, they can cause cross-contaminated logistics and pedestrian flows (Figure 1).
While determining the eleven principles, the special group developed a questionnaire with a total of 107 questions to determine the specific conditions associated with each practical health principle. Designers can use it as a review tool. Their planning phase, especially before construction, evaluates the design drawings of their food safety design standards.
Still, many people were initially skeptical that competing brands could work together towards a common goal. Hunt said frankly: "We can't be sure if we can come together." The panel knows that it cannot establish a special rule or set of standards, because doing so would infringe patent information, so it agreed to abide by the principles of the patent nature Removed here, dedicated to identifying problems rather than solving them.
Chris Harmon said that by focusing on issues, builders and operators can make their own decisions as to how to deal with issues, or whether certain issues must be addressed, and whether to adopt their own solutions without having to share with the group. Chris Harmon is senior vice president of project management at Hixson Architects, a Cincinnati-based firm that is also a member of a dedicated team. ||| He said, "We don't want to argue with anyone, and we don't want to limit people's choices." He pointed out that these principles only provide guidance for major pollution issues (Figure 2). For example, the document states that the wall must be durable and not easily damaged, but it lets the user decide how to achieve this. "Maybe some people use stainless steel for wall panels, maybe some people use polyvinylidene fluoride coatings," Harmon said. "The Eleven Principles didn't give them the answer, they just pointed them in the right direction."
Seward pointed out that such a guidance and risk area assessment system can help operator designers to look at their plant plans from a new perspective and discuss food safety during the design process. "It proposes a discussion topic between the building's contractor and the design / architectural firm, giving them a forum for public discussion of the decision-making process, and providing a theoretical basis for a design decision," said Seward.
Food safety at Land O 'Frost
Land O 'Frost was one of the first industry members to put these principles into practice. The company applied them to a 182,000-square-foot, US Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved manufacturing facility in Madison, Kentucky. Construction broke out in May 2005 and it has now been completed and put into production (Figure 3). Land O 'Frost designs and builds a new plant in accordance with the 11 principles. All design decisions are based on clean design concepts.
The core of its clean design goal is to build a factory that can keep dry, clean and cold, which means that they must strictly control air pollution and create a place without cracks, no dirt and dirt, no dead ends, no water accumulation. Durable environment.
"Science tells us that if something enters a room, and if the room is cold and dry, it will not grow," Harmon said. He also added that in the past five years we have put more emphasis on the drying of the theory. section. "Everyone knows about low temperatures, so now we have to think about the importance of environmental dryness," he said.
Harmon further said that one day science will explain this. In an ideally dry environment, temperature will no longer be an issue, and equipment will be able to operate at higher temperatures. "This theory is crazy, but if it is correct, it will change the processing environment for all products," he said.