Cross contamination and cleaning in factory design

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Incorporating new equipment into a factory can create cross contamination challenges
Incorporating new equipment into a factory can create cross contamination challenges

Related tags hygiene & cleaning

Issues surrounding cross contamination and hygiene must be at the forefront of a producer’s mind when integrating new machinery into their factories, according to Mariane Hodgkinson, hygiene consultant for specialist cleaning equipment supplier Hillbrush.

As Hodgkinson explained, adding new product types to an existing range is ‘exciting’ but also demanding and it isn’t a case of replacing ‘like for like’ in the factory environment.

“Trying to reach new consumers or ensure the fulfilment of their expectations needs to be carefully balanced with constant assurance of food safety and quality,”​ said Hodgkinson.

Using new and different ingredients in an existing production set up may raise the likelihood and severity of hazards historically thought to be under control or suppressed by pre-existing controls in the factory environment.

Controlling risk

“Relying on systems to ensure control of risks is complex but not impossible. Buy in from all levels of the organisation is required and senior management commitment is crucial to ensure sufficient support is given for new ways of working, staff training, education, additional equipment, as well as extra safety barriers needed including new cleaning regimes.”

Any future updates to the production line need to include a review into cross-contamination routes in the factory, she said. They should also account for flow of production, waste, personnel, and cleaning activities – and how ingredients are handled and how best to plan production while minimising contamination risk.

More important than ever

“Running a plant-based line alongside traditional products for example means that cleaning is more important than ever,”​ she added. 

Maintaining cleaning segregation for different products supports the idea of creating different environments according to the hazards and risk for that specific run.”

Meanwhile, Addo Food Group has installed a new tray washer at it Palethorpes Bakery in Market Drayton, building on its 30-year partnership with Industrial Washing Machines.

As well as meeting Addo’s cleaning requirements, the new system has been customised to accommodate the limited space available to the manufacturer.

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