Food safety isn’t only about the kind of food you use, how it is stored, and how long it takes to get from your facility to a buyer’s refrigerator. The kind of equipment you use during preparation and production is crucial in maintaining the highest safety standards. Few manufacturing products can provide food-grade safety, which is why knowing what you’re purchasing and how it can safely handle your product is of critical importance. With the right food handling and processing equipment manufacturers can stay on top of quality control and further avoid contamination and deterioration. Whether you’re looking to upgrade your current equipment or you’re just starting and need help selecting the right food production equipment, Gough Econ, Inc. is here to help.
Any Kind of Equipment You Need
Even though you work in food production, the kind of equipment you need will not change all that much from other production facilities. You may still need a conveyor belt, feeders, bucket elevators, and several other devices. The method of moving products around the production floor will not change, only the material in contact with the food. While other kinds of production and manufacturing may use certain metals, that will not work with your kind of business. You need to buy products from food handling and processing equipment manufacturers that are easy to clean and yet will not spread germs. Food grade material ensures the material itself is not toxic and will not give off anything dangerous onto the food and that the product is also safe for consumption.
NSF 51 Food Equipment Materials
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a giant book on all the requirements different food handling and processing equipment manufacturers need to follow. Within this book, there is a specific section regarding food-grade materials. While the basic definition of food grade is the product is safe to either be consumed or come in contact with food, there are specific certification requirements for manufacturing equipment that will come in contact with the food. To make sure your production facility meets this minimum health and sanitation requirement, you need to know what to look for (it is important to point out that following set cleaning protocols is just as important for maintaining all health requirements created by the FDA).
There are several plastic resigns that are considered safe by the FDA and will help you receive the NSF certification (NSF stands for National Sanitation Foundation, which often has crossover with the FDA). Some of these materials include silicone, nylon, polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), coatings, acetal (POM), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polypropylene (PP), and polyethylene (PE). It’s easy to confuse these different forms of plastic resigns when designing your manufacturing facility, so don’t worry. The food handling and processing equipment manufacturers at Gough Econ, Inc. will help select the best kind of plastic resigns for the production equipment. These coatings will be used with the conveyors, elevators, and other equipment you use. This way, whatever surface the foodstuff comes in contact with, it will be considered food grade.
Understanding The Different Food “Safety” Terms
Sometimes you will see food grade and food safe terms. While similar, these terms are not the same. Food grade, as mentioned above, is safe for either human consumption or it is safe to come in contact with food. Food safe, on the other hand, means that a particular food-grade material can be safely used when handling food and will not cause any food hazards (basically food grade can be about either food or material that comes in contact with the food, while food safety is in specific reference to the material that comes in contact with the food).
There is also a third definition to be aware of: GRAS, or substances “Generally Recognized as Safe.” This means the material is seen as safe to use with food, just as long as all normal manufacturing conditions are maintained. In other words, as long as the right temperature is used within the facility and the surfaces are properly cleaned at regular intervals. If either of these conditions is not met, then the GRAS material does have the potential to harm the food product.
Keeping All Food Contact Surfaces Food Safe
There are all kinds of surfaces within your production facility. However, when working with food, you will want to focus most of your attention on the contact surfaces (at last, when it comes to food safety). A food contact surface is any kind of surface that does or may come in contact with food. If there is any chance a particular piece of food comes in contact with a given surface, that surface needs to be food safe. All of these surfaces need to use a food-safe material to protect the food that comes in contact with.
These surfaces also need to follow very specific sanitation requirements and cleaning schedules. While you will handle all the cleaning requirements, our team here at Gough Econ, Inc. will help stay on top of finding the best food-safe materials for the food contact surfaces.
Configuring Your Food-Safe Manufacturing Equipment
More than almost any other industry, having the right food production equipment is essential, not just for the quality of the product you offer but also for consumers’ safety. Failure to handle food properly can result in sickness and contaminated food items, which in turn can shut down your business, result in lawsuits, and even lead to the closure of a food production company. All of this is because faulty manufacturing equipment was used. Ensuring you have the right equipment installed is what food handling and processing equipment manufacturers staff here at Gough Econ, Inc does. So no matter the kind of food products you work with, what kind of scale you’re interested in, or where you ship your products to, we are here to help. Whether you have questions about products or are ready to begin designing and assembling your food handling and processing equipment, we’re just a phone call away.