While food safety has been a vital issue for years, the emerging regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act has only intensified things. What may have been the gold standard for food safety 10 years ago may not cut it today.
So it goes without saying that the need for proper cleaning and sanitizing is more important than ever. A huge part of cleaning and sanitizing in a commissary setting is the ease of access to equipment and its components.
“It’s vital in today’s industry — just as vital as having proper guarding for personnel safety,” says Jeff Klein, US service manager for Grote Company. “If a machine is not cleanable, it’s unsafe and unusable.”
For Grote, that comes from the mindset that sanitation is an issue that affects everyone. “We don’t think of a sanitation problem as ‘someone else’s problem,’” Klein says. “Because it could be our families eating something that came out of that machine.”
And as Alan Lemieux, AMF Canada’s engineering product manager, told Commissary Insider’s sister publication Baking & Snack earlier this year, sanitary design means more uptime for producers. AMF Bakery Systems collaborated with the Tromp Group — both of which are members of the Market Food Group — in the design of new spiral conveyors to broaden its product applications and meet more demanding standards.
“Today, the equipment runs 24 hours,” he says. “They don’t want to top them for cleaning. Everything has to be done in as short of a time as possible. By having a more sanitary, simple machine, they need less time to clean it. It costs them less in the long run, and they have it up and running quicker after cleaning and maintenance.”
The easier and more simply machinery can be sanitized, the better. And if it can be designed to be disassembled and cleaned without tools? Even better.
“From a design standpoint, we constantly evaluate our machines and parts, often with feedback from customers, to make the machines easier to clean,” Klein says. “What we have found is that streamlining designs where possible and making small modifications to current parts allows for better access to all areas. Additionally, we try to make our machines easy to disassemble for cleaning. This often means that our machines can be taken apart for cleaning with little or no hand tools.”
Grote also tailors its service to all of its customers, whose sanitization demands will vary. “Our manuals have general sanitation guidelines, but each customer will be unique in how they implement their sanitation in accordance with their sanitation and HACCP procedures,” Klein says. “Our field service group can also provide on-side training for sanitation crews.”