Air Pressure and Flow
The balance and directional flow of air
can sometimes be overlooked, but it is
a crucial element to food safety in your
plant. Significant air pressure differences
can lead to unwanted moisture and
condensation in equipment crevices and on
ledges — a prime opportunity for bacterial
Analyze the flow of air in your plant,
as well. Depending on your storage
and processing areas, improper airflow
can carry airborne dust particles and
contaminants into areas of the plant where
they don’t belong.
This doesn’t just apply to allergens,
either — meat processing facilities
especially have the potential for
dangerous airborne contaminants such
as E. coli. For example, the air from kill
floors and rendering areas, where raw
poultry and meat are handled, must never
flow to areas such as packaging, where
airborne bacteria could infect the final
Airborne-related risk factors can often
go unseen by plant personnel, so consider
consulting a third-party expert who
specializes in food safety design to analyze
your current configuration.
Human error could be the catalyst to a
large-scale recall, which is why a culture
of consistent, thorough sanitation practices
should be at the heart of your plant
personnel’s daily routine.
Ask questions like:
• Do you employ stringent uniform and
locker room standards to minimize
airborne contaminants from outside the
• What type of garments do you offer
• Are employees required to change
gloves and/or aprons as needed?
• Do employees follow strict schedules to
sanitize equipment regularly?
Employees should only have access to
their specific work center during operation
hours to prevent cross-contamination. For
example, an employee working with raw
ingredients should not be able to access
the ready-to-eat processing area.
Cover your bases by training employees
to perform multiple sanitation procedures
so best practices transfer from one
department to another.
The packaging process is an important
step that comes with its own food safety
considerations. Just because your current
method seems the most efficient, doesn’t
necessarily mean it’s the safest. For
example, if your plant produces a meat
product, consider secondary packaging.
Not only is this method efficient, it
improves product integrity because it
keeps it as cool as possible for as long as
Your packaging process may not
require new equipment or a new method,
Each of these areas are part of the
big picture of your product flow.
Continually remind yourself and your staff
that food safety is non-negotiable. Make
it a priority to not just comply with food
safety standards, but to exceed them in
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