Avoiding allergen issues
Because of the cornucopia of ingredients used in cookies, sanitary design has emerged as a major priority for many operators. In fact, cookies have been among the most frequently cited products for recalls during the past few years due to mislabeling of packaging and presence of undeclared ingredients.
For Baker Perkins, the effort to reduce such incidents involved minimizing debris accumulation points and making sure that any remaining material is easy to see and accessible for cleaning, according to Mr. Graham.
“This has resulted in design changes such as a significant reduction in covers, use of more open-frame designs and minimization of traps such as sharp corners or exposed threads, especially above the product area,” he said. “We are now addressing areas that can only be cleaned effectively by disassembling parts of the machine and making this quick and easy to accomplish without the use of tools.” Such examples include wire-cut heads that can be removed and taken away for washdown in a dedicated wet area. Likewise, removable hopper side plates allow sanitarians to clean the ends of feed rolls.
For many bakers, safety involves employees as well. “We design machines that protect the operators and still enable them to run and sanitize the machines effectively,” Mr. Pallottini said. “They are designed to be easy to clean and maintain so the time between changeovers is minimized.”
Sanitation often involves how fast systems can be disassembled for allergen cleaning. Mr. Parrish described the step-by-step process for cleaning a Haas depositor. “The hopper can be rolled away from the feed rollers on a cleaning trolley,” he said. “The seals can be easily removed, and then the feed rolls can be rolled to a lower section of the cleaning trolley. Next the interchangeable filler block or pump house can be lowered and slid into the cleaning trolley.”
In some cases, he added, bakeries will use a duplicate set of components to ensure even faster changeovers by the operators.
Even after the oven, adding toppings such as streusel and other sticky, moist ingredients can gum up a system, according to Alex Robinson, owner and president, Christy Machine Co. Today’s cookie manufacturers expect to use the full gamut of finely granulated sugar to roughly cut coconut shreds. The company has developed a dedicated streusel machine for cookies and other pastries designed in space-saving configurations.
Get help creating a list of your processing needs in this article's final segment.