Redesigning equipment for food safety and sanitation ensures that a healthy snack product actually stays healthy for the consumer. All the efforts in the world to reduce fat, sodium and sugar will not make up for a consumer getting ill from contaminated snacks. Equipment manufacturers are taking steps to keep equipment from harboring bacteria or allergens that could tarnish an otherwise healthy product.

During the past few years, CPM Wolverine Proctor LLC, Horsham, PA, has put much effort into improving the sanitary design of its dryers. The company focused on minimizing anything that created crevices and level surfaces, areas where bacteria and allergens can hide out during cleaning. The company replaced bolted surfaces with welded components.

“It’s a thousand little things — more sanitary fully welded doors, more sanitary door handles, offset bearings,” said Terry Midden, industry manager for the company.

Snack producers requested greater access for cleaning, and equipment manufacturers listened.

Hi-Tech/FPA, Inc., Grand Rapids, MI, designed its new Opti-Clean Cooling Tunnel to Grocery Manufacturers Association standards for cleanability and accessibility. The tunnel’s top hoods, pressure duct and deck are lightweight with tool-free access. The company also eliminated nooks and crevices by designing all the machine’s joints to be tongue-and-groove connections.  The insulated hoods, air-handling unit and drive units also have access doors.

Access is key, even in the oven, said David Kuipers, vice-president of sales and marketing, Reading Bakery Systems, Robesonia, PA. “Processors want complete access to the interior of the oven so their sanitation crews can eliminate the risk of cross-contamination of ingredients or products,” he said.

Improving equipment to be more accessible and easier to clean can help keep healthy snacks safe for consumers as well.