ALGONA, IOWA -- For myriad reasons, the bakery plant of today is not the same as the one 10 or 15 years ago, especially in the age of the Food Safety Modernization Act. And because some of the best ideas are borrowed and not born, the baking industry is taking food safety cues from the meat and poultry industries, where food safety standards are much more stringent under U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Until the dawn of the F.S.M.A., bakers relied on ovens as the kill step. Now the government is starting to question whether the oven is good enough, and the big challenge is backing up the answer with tangible proof. After all, what baker in his or her right mind wants to introduce Salmonella into the bakery? Until that can be resolved, bakers must look at every facet of production with a food-safety lens. One way to ensure that with conveyors is to adopt rules reflecting those strict U.S.D.A. standards.
“We build per U.S.D.A. standards,” said Bill Schiltz, director of sales and marketing, Kofab, Algona, which designs conveyors for both the baking industry and meat and poultry. All equipment is designed and built to meet or exceed U.S.D.A. specifications.
Eaglestone, Inc., St. Charles, Ill., also manufactures in both industries and sees a progression in sanitary conveyor designs from meat over to baking, regardless of the types of products a bakery is making. In fact, Eaglestone just worked with a company that makes garlic bread to design about 15 conveyors for its new plant.
“We looked to a lot of designs that we’d use in the meat industry, such as fully welded frame designs that minimize any bolted connections or closed tubes,” said Joe Gongaware, sales engineering manager for Eaglestone.
Garlic butter can get messy and be hard to clean out from behind bolted connections.“This customer went with a welded frame design,” Mr. Gongaware said. “It makes sanitation easier and better for swab tests, as well.”