Regulations and food firms alike are causing conveyor manufacturers to step up their game in the sanitation department.
Jim Lassiter, owner of Texas-based conveyor maker Meyer Industries, told FoodProductionDaily.com regulatory shifts like those brought about with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) are moving food firms to take greater care of, and demand more from their conveying equipment.
“Sanitation crews are taking much more care to clean hard-to-reach areas where particles could be trapped in the conveyors,” he said. “Those areas are swabbed for lab testing of bacteria still present and needing additional cleaning.”
While food crews are taking greater care than ever in sanitizing conveyors, Lassiter said, they are looking for equipment that makes cleaning easier in the first place.
“Food operations are looking for conveyors with no hidden corners or difficult areas to collect product and clean out,” he said. “They need belting materials with a smooth surface that’s easy to clean.
To that end, manufacturers like Meyer Industries are launching systems and components with an eye toward increased ease of cleaning. The company’s SBC conveyor has a central tubular frame with minimal external roller brackets, Lassiter said, adding the unit’s framework between belt surfaces is readily accessible for cleaning and test swabbing by sanitation crews.
“Clean-up time is 40% to 80% faster than conventional belt conveyors,” he said. “On smaller units, the conveyor can be provided with cantilevered supports for no-tool removal of belts.”
Lassiter added conveyors like the SBC offer food clients fewer frame parts to clean, and seamless belts for reliable tracking. Meyer Industries and other suppliers work with industry partners to ensure their equipment meets stringent regulations, and the standards of food industry customers.
“All of our equipment has been or is in the process of being designed for ease of cleaning, American Meat Institute meat processing design standards, and good manufacturing practices for the food plant floor,” he told FPD.
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