Food production facilities in the US are under significant scrutiny from government regulators, and must past stringent health inspections in order to operate. There is good reason for this. According to the US Centers for Disease Control, 48 million Americans per year become ill due to foodborne bacteria and contaminants. This results in an estimated 3,000 deaths annually due to food-related issues alone.
While each state, and even specific localities, have their own requirements when it comes to food production facility health and safety, there are some commonalities across the board. One of those is that rust and corrosion are unacceptable, particularly in a few specific areas of your plant. If you are facing a health inspection, it pays to check these three areas for corrosion and take steps to remedy the situation well before the inspector shows up. You will want to ensure that your production facility has undergone industrial cleaning designed to prevent corrosion.
The Food Zone
The food zone includes any area of your facility where foods are processed. Depending on your specific type of facility, this could be food handling up to and including the canning process. This might include the cans, the conveyor, the food handling equipment itself, and a great deal more. Any equipment that comes in contact with food, or containers that will ultimately hold food at any point, should be clean and free of corrosion and rust.
The Splash Zone
The splash zone is technically any area of the plant where liquids or semi-liquids from food might come into contact with equipment. Think of a brewery’s canning line. When the beer is added to the can, there is the potential for small amounts of liquid to contact equipment. There is also the potential for spills. The same concept holds true for other types of food industry facilities, including dairies, meat processing plants, frozen food producers, and more. All equipment within the splash zone should be free of corrosion and rust.
The Non-Food Zone
The non-food zone is the area of the facility where food is not directly handled, but where corrosion could still impact the quality or healthfulness of the food being processed within your facility in some way.
Of course, this is an oversimplification. Food production facilities are required to have any number of specific zones, including zone B, zone M, and zone H, depending on the types of foods that are being processed and other considerations, as explained by Food Safety Magazine.
Basic Considerations for All Three Areas
All three of the areas stipulated by the National Sanitation Foundation are required to be safeguarded by a three-pronged strategy involving design of the area and facility in general, the materials chosen for equipment and food handling, and the use of protective coatings to guard against corrosion. Of particular interest is the requirement that “surface materials shall be smooth, corrosion resistant, non-toxic, stable, and nonabsorbent under use conditions.”
Stainless steel fits this bill, but so do many types of protective coatings, particularly for use in the splash zone where the primary concern is corrosion of equipment from liquids and semisolids related to the food being processed. The right coatings can ensure that equipment here is not only resistant to corrosion, but is also much easier to clean, and can protect against a wide range of corrosion types, including crevice corrosion, which is one of the most commonly seen types in the food industry.
Ultimately, creating and adhering to a preventative maintenance and inspection schedule, coupled with smart use of modern protective coatings can help ensure that your food production facility is clean and sanitary, and will pass the health inspection. Painters USA specializes in industrial cleaning services and can help you create a preventative maintenance plan. Contact Painters USA at 1-800-999-8715.