Pro Tip: A good sanitary design includes building materials compatible with process needs, accessibility and a design that minimizes accumulation of unwanted substances.

If you have had recurrent positive microbiological results for pathogenic organisms, even with a good cleaning process and detailed operations procedures, your problem may be generated by a failure in the sanitary design of your equipment or in your overall infrastructure.

A small crack, a hole, a non-sanitary weld or even an unregular surface in the equipment may create an opportunity for accumulation of organic material and microbial growth. The combination of food, water, temperature and time are preponderant for unwanted development in the equipment and structures.

Three fundamental points to consider when working on the sanitary design of any piece of equipment:

  1. Compatibility: The materials used in the construction of the equipment and the building structures must meet requirements based on their intended conditions of use. Therefore, materials must be inert to the product, non-reactive to cleaning and sanitizing chemicals, corrosion resistant, and non-toxic.
  2. Accessibility: All equipment parts must be easily accessible to ensure the cleaning and removal of waste product.
  3. Design: The final design of the equipment should minimize the accumulation of ingredients or other unwanted substances that could jeopardize food safety production.

Companies often overlook adequate sanitary design because it is seen as an additional cost, yet it is the first step toward reducing and even preventing food contamination risks, establishing high hygiene standards and providing food-safe, sanitary conditions.

Marcelo Lilla is a food safety professional at AIB International.