Food Manufacturing brings together and mixes several different sciences; toxicology, microbiology and entomology are just a few aspects of this complex industry. Even though these sciences are different they all play an important role in maintaining the food plants integrity and ability to produce safe and sanitary food.
Sanitary design pulls all aspects of the processing/warehousing facility together and can create an ease of cleaning and elimination of food sources for structure infesting pests. The plant layout, structural areas, equipment, electrical systems and the construction all effect pest activity and can all provide potential harbourage areas and or food sources. The food manufactures focus should be altering the design affecting cleaning and maintenance practices. This allows the process to be easier to perform and thus creates more efficient work time.
Here are some easy steps to take to modify the working environment of the facility and in turn reducing the possibility for pest occurrences:
- The Exterior Foundation. Ideally it should be constructed of solid concrete with no direct soil contact (gravel border) at ground level. This eliminates harbourage areas for crawling insects and allows for easy inspections if cracks or potential entryways are found.
- Support Beams. Support beams exposed within the facility create sometimes -uncleanable cavities. Constructing Pilaster or brick walls around these beams can eliminate the accumulation of product. When building a Pilaster, the support beam must be sealed and the top sealed to prevent possible spills from settling in this created void. Access panels work well and provide pest control technicians with space for control traps and cleaning if required.
- Structural and Working Surfaces. Lets examine surfaces. Product that accumulates on ledges provides stored product insects and rodents with a food source. Design of ledges is crucial in preventing buildup and to assist with ease of cleaning. Support beam bases should be cemented and pitched at 60 degrees. Angle iron should be inverted so as not to trap product dust.
- Floors. Floors should be constructed out of one material with an epoxy coating apposed to tiles. Floor tiles crack and the grout can wear allowing moisture from cleaning to seep underneath. This creates an excellent area for flies to breed.
- Drains. Drains can often be the source for much of the pest activity found in food plants. Drains should contain strainers to prevent large food particles from entering the drain and clogging it causing water to pool and sit stagnant. Trench drains should be rounded to facilitate cleaning and eliminate all organic debris, which can collect.
- Pipes. Horizontal pipes should run adequately spaced and vertical pipes should be at least 4”from the wall. Crevices are formed when pipes are laid up against flat surfaces or adjacent pipes. These crevices trap solids and can result in insect problems.
- Electrical Panels and Conduits. These offer quite and warm locations for pests to breed. Both panels and conduit lines should be fully sealed and seals should be inspected yearly to ensure they remain in good condition. Room should always be provided to clean under and behind these units. Ensure they are raised off the floor and away from the walls.
Let’s also remember, when contractors are on site doing repairs, adequate training on your facilities GMP’s are essential. When contractors are called in to repair the floor to prevent pests, we don’t want them to leave an exterior door open to let more in!
Following simple designs, keeping the ease of sanitation in mind during the construction stages will save the company; cleaning time, less possibility of pest activity which in turn equals cash savings and higher productivity!
Dusana Bondy is the senior Technical Support Auditor at Abell Pest Control. Holding a Technical Diploma in Environmental Pest Management from Sir Sanford Fleming College, she has participated in large full scale food safety audits in various industries such as Chocolate, Tobacco, Milling etc. In her 8 years with Abell, she has spearheaded some of the larger audits along with customer and internal training. Her passion for the industry translates to home life, as she aspires to transform her 3 year daughter into a future entomologist.