Microbial, chemical, and other contamination is a major concern at any food processing plant. The Australian government has extensive regulations regarding preventing cross-contamination at processing plants. Some plants may prefer to take additional steps to prevent possible unhygienic conditions. Here are tried and tested ways food processing plants can minimize the risk for contamination:
Enforce Proper Hygiene Standards
Plant workers must follow hygiene standards to prevent further contamination from food. Workers should know when and how to wash hands when handling food items. Provide workers with protective gear like gloves necessary to maintain the highest standards of hygiene. The plant must have a rulebook to prevent workers from introducing new bacteria to food. For example, tell workers to remove jewellery before handling food because it might introduce new bacteria to the plant.
Use Enclosed Systems When Designing the Plant
The plants various departments must be well enclosed to keep food items and various processing stages separate to prevent cross contamination incidences. Some processing rooms may require sterile environments. Food processing plants can consider Modular Cleanrooms Australia to create hygienic enclosed areas that more than meets safety standards. Enclosures are necessary to prevent hazardous chemicals and fumes from escaping into areas where workers are not wearing protective gear.
Doorways are a major culprit in how contaminants escape. Therefore, creating safe and air-locked doorways can reduce the risk of a plant-wide contamination crisis. Airlock doorways also prevent outside contaminants from entering into sterile environments. Temporary sealing can prevent pest infestations and also contain infested areas.
The plant managers must have an employee training program to make all workers aware of food contamination and how it might occur. Workers who handle possibly bacteria-contaminated raw meats must be aware of potential dangers. It’s highly recommended for businesses to develop comprehensive education programs for workers that comply with food safety regulations.
Keep Food Items Separated
Most contaminants come from raw food items, mainly meat. Processing plants must keep such contaminant containing food separate from the rest. Foods that are known to cause allergies should be kept separate as well. For example, nuts should be separated from other foods. Have a design plan to keep various food items permanently separated to reduce the risk of cross contamination.
Keep the Area Surrounding the Food Processing Plant Clean
It’s not just the interior of the processing plant that must be clean and hygienic, the exterior must be as well. Unclean and overgrown grounds can attract pests and small animals that may infiltrate the plant and contaminate food. Dirty outdoor areas can also introduce dust and dirty water that could potentially end up inside the plant with dangerous contaminants. Employ ground workers to keep the exterior of the facility hygienic for these reasons.
Maintaining general safety standards is also important in preventing contamination. Businesses must be prepared with a thorough internal policy framework to handle potential contamination issues. Conduct regular inspections to ensure that the processing plant adheres to these rules. The above tips can complement existing safety practises that ensure optimal hygiene at food processing plants.