This past Wednesday, over 400 food safety professionals signed up to listen to a discussion on the Evolution in Food Safety and Advancements in Food Plant Construction.
The Evolution of Food Safety
Nathan Mirdamadi of Commercial Food Sanitation started off the discussion around the historical changes in the food safety world. He cited Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle to discuss how far food safety has progressed over the past 100 years, and referenced older and antique cars and how our food plants can have legacy equipment that was built to be “food-safe” at the time they were made, but no longer meet the standards of today.
Nathan went on to acknowledge advancements even in the past 10-20 years of routine swabbing, and how our perspectives have changed on what would be a food prone to bacterial growth – twenty years ago the deli meat would be seen as an item prone to bacterial outbreaks, while in the past 10 years this has changed to see produce such as romaine lettuce as potential hotbeds for outbreaks.
The Food & Beverage industry is unique in selling products to consumers versus other industries, as F&B is one of the only areas in which a consumer ingests the products made. Even six-sigma practices of having few defects over millions of produced products isn’t good enough. Perfection is the standard, and food & beverage companies need to be constantly vigilant on their food safety programs and to have production facilities that are made for food safety of tomorrow.
Advancements in Food Plant Construction
Agustin Salas and Troy Woodard of the design arm of Gray Architects and Engineers launched into the design principles and recent innovations around advancements around food plant construction. 3D modeling through software systems allow for clash detection, the reduction of change orders, & improved physical safety around ergonomics, operations and cleaning. Robots are now used for inspections during the construction process, with sensors and live-camera views, continually monitoring safety and the status of a project.
The food plant of today looks far different than the food plant during the time of The Jungle. The materials of construction have improved, there are better sealants and gaskets, drainage systems, doors, and more. All these items work to create controlled environments for temperature, pest-control, and proper flow. Modular design and construction for future builds will focus on economic dimensions, skid designs, and precast materials.
To view the presentation, you can stream the 60-session event here or on YouTube.