A food processing facility has a plethora of activity going on inside – ingredient handling, mixing and blending, cooking and baking, packaging, palletizing. The common thread for all of these areas is food safety.
What’s driving food safety? The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) signed into law in 2011 was the first major food safety overhaul in 70-plus years. The primary goal of FSMA is to shift
the emphasis for food safety from being reactive – recalls and finding the source of infection – to being proactive, making prevention the foundation for food safety.
FSMA gives the FDA the authority to detain foods, order a recall instead of just recommending one, and even shut down a facility.
The ultimate goal is for organizations to take preventive actions at every conceivable step of the process, so there is no food contamination in the first place.
FOOD SANITATION ZONE ADOPTION
The industry is slowly adopting to three distinct food sanitation zones that affect food safety. In a food processing facility, sanitation zones are classified as Zone 1, Zone 2 or
Zone 3 based on the environment and cleaning regimen in that specific zone.
Zone 3 is primarily a dry environment or no food contact zone. The equipment in this zone may not need protection from high-pressure washdowns, but are still subject to dirt and dust, which
can contaminate equipment seals on motors, gearboxes and bearings. Contamination on seals can break the lubrication film, which is important for seals to work properly. Compromised lubrication film can lead to seal damage and beyond that, ingress coming into the gearbox or motor.