The Food Safety Update section of Food Manufacturing is designed to offer our readers insight into the state of food safety
concerns across the industry. We received hundreds of responses to this month’s survey on plant equipment and sanitation.
Plant Equipment and Sanitation
As food processors add new equip- ment, implement detection technolo- gies to existing production lines and
replace equipment components, they do so
with two significant factors in mind: sanitation and food safety.
We recently surveyed Food Manufacturing
readers from across all segments of the
industry on various trends, topics and considerations when it comes to purchasing
plant equipment, and how equipment acquisition meshes with sanitation efforts and
existing food safety plans at their facilities.
Slightly more than half of survey respondents (50.28 percent) said when making
an equipment purchase, they evaluate food
safety, food defense and HACCP plans and
choose equipment that will fit existing plans.
The remaining 49.72 percent of respondents
said that when making equipment purchases, they choose equipment that best suits
their needs, and that they adjust food safety
The majority of respondents (85.96 percent) said they consult with equipment vendors about food safety concerns. Just more
than 14 percent indicated they do not.
When asked if equipment vendors help
review food safety plans prior to, or after, an
acquisition to help with integration of their
equipment into their food safety system,
58.52 percent said yes.
Survey respondents said internal quality
assurance/quality control team members
most often consult with equipment vendors
(60.23 percent), regulators (44.89 percent)
and paid consultants (38.07 percent) when
integrating equipment into their facilities.
Respondents also reported consulting with
customers ( 24.43 percent) and universities
( 14.77 percent).
When asked what equipment characteristics are especially appealing from a food
safety perspective, more than 92 percent
cited stainless steel. Clean-in-place technology (69.66 percent), seam-free design
(67.98 percent) and washdown ready (66.29
percent) were also mentioned significantly.
More than 56 percent of those surveyed
said that food safety concerns have prevented them from purchasing refurbished
equipment, rather than new equipment, in
the past. More than 43 percent said food
safety concerns have not prevented them
from purchasing refurbished equipment.
More than 44 percent said the location of
an equipment vendor does not impact purchasing decisions. Meanwhile, 27.93 percent
of respondents said they prefer to work with
an equipment vendor in their state or region.
The vast majority (83.62 percent) of
respondents said their equipment vendors
are knowledgeable about the unique sanitary
challenges faced by food processors, with
just more than 16 percent answering no.
When it comes to training employees on
new equipment, more than 70 percent said
that training occurs immediately. Just more
than 28 percent said training occurs as the
More than 58 percent of those surveyed
said their facility has not chosen to replace
an existing piece of equipment in the past 24
months specifically because of food safety
concerns. A significant percentage (41.95),
however, said their facility has replaced
equipment due to food safety concerns.
When asked if their facility had chosen to
replace an existing piece of equipment in
the past 24 months specifically due to food
safety regulations, more than 75 percent
More than 57 percent of respondents said
their facility has added detection equipment
— x-ray, vision sensors, metal detectors —
to an existing processing line in the past 24
months in order to improve food safety. More
than 42 percent of those polled said their
facility has not added that type of equipment
in the last two years.
Two-thirds of respondents said their facility has, over the past two years, replaced
components — from standard to washdown,
from plastic to stainless steel, etc. — in
order to improve overall food safety. More
than 32 percent said their facility has not
replaced components in that time frame.
By Jesse Osborne, Editor