Hygienic design: keeps the bugs away

Mettler-Toledo Ltd

Monday, 15 April, 2024

Hygienic design: keeps the bugs away

Food, beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers are under increasing consumer and legislative pressure to ensure product safety and quality. As a result, many rely on checkweighers, metal detectors, and vision and X-ray inspection systems to provide assurance that the products coming off their production lines meet consumer expectations and are as safe as possible.

Investing in hygienically designed product inspection equipment is crucial in avoiding cross-contamination and preventing the growth of microbiological contamination within manufacturing plants. Most responsible companies already use hygienically qualified equipment. Those that do not follow good hygienic practices may have a lower initial cost, but their total cost and risk to the consumer is much higher.

So why is hygienic equipment so important?

Every year as many as 600 million people, or almost 1 in 10 people in the world, fall ill after consuming contaminated food, according to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first ever global estimates of the global burden of foodborne diseases in 2015.1

Microbiological bacteria cause approximately 90% of all foodborne illnesses. Bacteria that cause human illnesses, including disease, are called pathogenic, and those most likely to be found in food include Salmonella, Listeria, E. coli and Campylobacter.

Listeria is the most commonly found bacteria in the food industry and is the food pathogen that has had the most impact on improvements in facility hygienic design over the past 30 years. When sanitisation practices are insufficient, listeria can harbour and thrive in many pieces of equipment used in food processing plants, such as conveyor belts, slicers, dicers and peelers.

Machinery used for packaging products can also harbour and transfer bacteria to products. When this occurs, scrupulous sanitisation must occur to eliminate listeria. The primary response to contamination outbreaks has been increased implementation of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) system and other food safety programs, as well as an increased reliance on third-party auditing programs. Foodborne illness outbreaks also triggered recent food safety legislative activity, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Hygienically designed product inspection equipment offers food and beverage manufacturers numerous benefits. In addition to helping to protect consumer welfare and companies’ brand reputations by increasing product safety and reducing the risk of recalls, hygienically designed equipment can help manufacturers with HACCP, legal and regulatory compliance, as well as result in cost savings and increased operational efficiency in the long run.

As food and beverage recalls become more frequent and costly, and safety laws become increasingly stringent, it is important that all product inspection equipment not only performs well, but is designed to prevent bacterial growth and facilitate proper cleaning. Hygienically designed equipment can play a key role in reducing the risk of microbiological contamination outbreaks and can also aid regulatory and HACCP compliance.

METTLER TOLEDO manufactures its equipment to be in-built with hygienic principles in mind to offer manufacturers several additional long-term benefits, including reduced overall operating and maintenance costs and increased operational efficiency.


To find out more go to mt.com to download the ‘How Hygienically-designed Equipment can Reduce Operational Costs’ white paper from the expertise library section of the website.

1. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/detail/03-12-2015-who-s-first-ever-global-estimates-of-foodborne-diseases-find-children-under-5-account-for-almost-one-third-of-deaths

Top image credit: iStock.com/wildpixel

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