Principles of Hygienic Design for Food Processing Facilities

The American Meat Institute has come up with the following principles of hygienic design for food processing facilities. These design principles have been created to reduce food safety hazards, keeping food safe. Whether you're building a new facility, updating your existing one or onboarding new employees, take these principles of hygienic design into consideration to prevent food borne illness and product recalls. Though created by the American Meat Institute, these principles are applicable to all food and beverage processing industries. To ensure food safety in your food processing facility, review and integrate these 11 hygienic design principles and talk to a member of CMP's Technical Sales team about hygienic food processing equipment.
  1. Establish distinct hygienic zones in the facility - Hygienic zoning is an important method of protection put in place to prevent food from becoming contaminated. Creating barriers between different areas within food processing facilities and designing traffic flows allow staff and product to move from lower to higher risk areas, limiting risk of contaminants from being moved around the facility. Hygienic zones keep raw materials away from RTE or packaged products and limit contamination of potential allergens which might be found in the same processing facilities (peanuts, gluten etc.). In an ideal design, employees in the raw area will have their own separate storage and lunch rooms to further limit contamination into the packaging areas. 
  2. Control personnel and material flows to reduce hazards - Determining where and how the material and people flow within your facility is crucial to reducing the chance of contamination. Equipment should be laid out allowing materials to flow from the 'dirty' to the 'clean' areas of the plants, preventing any cross contamination between raw and ready to eat foods. When it comes to the flow of people throughout the facility, create guidelines and training as to what areas workers can freely walk between, and where cleaning and garment change is required and consider installing foot cleaning stations.
  3. Control water accumulation inside the facility - The interior of the processing facility including drains, flooring, walls and equipment should be designed to prevent the accumulation of water. Pooling water is a breeding ground for bacteria and should be prevented where possible. In addition to designing well draining areas, materials used within the facility should be non-porous and quick drying to prevent water from remaining after cleaning and sanitizing. hygienic design principle
  4. Control room temperature and humidity  - Humidity is a culprit for bacterial and microbial growth, keeping temperature controlled will reduce the growth and spread of pathogens that can harm your products. Refrigerated areas should kept cool, and frozen food storage areas should remain at a steady temperature to prevent any potential freeze-thaw that will damage the product.
  5. Control room airflow and room air quality - Investment should be made into a high quality HVAC system designed to provide filtered air flow, reduce moisture, and maintain temperatures. The air quality is integral to not only product quality, but workers health and wellness as well. 
  6. Facilitate site elements for sanitary conditions - All elements of your processing facility should facilitate hygienic processing conditions. This can include the grading of floors to run water and waste to drains, adequate lighting and water management systems. Personnel working on site should also be controlling any peronelle access to and from the site through policies, procedures and adequate signage. Provide an environment in your facility that doesn't give bacteria an opportunity to grow.
  7. Facilitate building envelopes for sanitary conditions - Another way food contamination can occur is when rodents or insects make their way into your facility. Ensure all building openings and areas within the facility are constructed in a way that eliminates any potential for these pests to enter the facility.
  8. Promote sanitation with interior spatial design - All areas within the facility should be designed in such a way that makes cleaning, sanitizing, and maintenance easy. When choosing food processing equipment, ease of sanitation should be a top priority. When determining the layout of your processing equipment consider how accessible it is for maintenance personnel to fix or clean it. You will also want to space equipment far enough away from the wall that harbourage areas are not created. 
  9. Facilitate building components and construction for sanitary conditions - Building materials are a key component to ensuring sanitary conditions. Ensure materials used on floors, walls, stairs, ceilings and doors are non-porous, made of smooth, durable and easy to clean materials. Ensure the facility is filled with hygienic food processing equipment and proper sanitizers and cleaning agents are used.
  10. Design utility systems to prevent contamination - The design of utility systems should be designed to prevent potential food contamination. Food grade materials should be used, surfaces cleanable, and harabourage areas eliminated. When maintenance is being conducted on these areas preventative measures should be taken to ensure food in areas below and beside are protected.
  11. Integrate sanitation into facility design - This final, but key, principle should guide the overall design process of your food processing facility. Consider where sanitation systems, clean rooms, hygienic zones, and hand washing stations should exist and integrate cleaning and sanitation systems into the plant. From there, determine where the food processing equipment should be placed.

    The safety of your product and the consumers who eat it depend on food processors to prioritize food safety over all else. So whether you're upgrading your facility or equipment, or building a new facility from the ground up, reach out to CMP.  We keep food safe with our hygienic food processing equipment, skilled engineering department and professional installation crews, all of who are committed to providing hygienic solutions and professional services.