The Food Facility Safety Double Standard: Keeping Your Maintenance Crew as Safe as Your Product

What updated OSHA standards mean for your facility’s roof and how to protect maintenance workers on your property

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The Facility Safety Double Standard: Is the Outside of Your Building as Safe as the Inside?

There’s a prevalent double standard when it comes to food facility safety management. Think about the measures taken when a visitor enters a food plant production area: You have to dress out, walk through a foot bath, take off jewelry, wear a smock. All of these precautions are designed to keep your product safe — but what about your maintenance crew?

It’s not uncommon to see safety standards and attention to cleanliness become more relaxed in maintenance areas or on the roof of a food plant. Food safety precautions get a lot of attention because owners (rightfully) fear product contamination and highly publicized recalls, but what about the risks outside your building? One maintenance or construction accident can do just as much damage in negative publicity and lawsuits as a product recall.

 

[VIDEO] See How Virtual Reality Can Take You Inside Your Food Plant Design

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Virtual walkthroughs with VR headsets

Virtual reality (VR) is changing the game when it comes to designing facilities for the food and beverage industry. With a VR headset, you can “walk through” your new building during the design phase, months before the first brick is laid.

Rather than examining a 2D design on a sheet of paper, 3D modeling coupled with virtual reality technology can bring a building to life without having to interpret complicated designs.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use a Spec Building for a Food and Beverage Facility

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Why You Shouldn’t Use a Spec Building for a Food and Beverage Facility

If you’re considering sites for a new facility, you may come across listings for speculative (“spec”) buildings. Developers often construct these basic, pre-engineered buildings in anticipation of a future tenant, and they can be attractive for owners looking for a new space.

What’s the catch? Spec buildings may seem like a convenient and cost-effective option, but not all tenant needs are the same, especially when it comes to food and beverage manufacturing. In fact, investing in a new spec building may end up costing you more in the long run than if you were to just construct a custom facility from scratch.

 

[Infographic] Design Only vs. Design-Build: Pick the Best Delivery Method for Your Next Food Project

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Design-Build vs. Design-Only: Pick the Best Delivery Method for Your Next Food Project [Infographic]

When it comes to constructing a new food or beverage facility, there is no one delivery method that works best for all projects. Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Design-build can be fast and efficient because construction begins while the design phase is still underway, but completing the entire design before any ground is broken can give you greater insight to anticipated final costs. How do you choose? Check out our infographic to help narrow down your decision:

 

Hydrovey Systems: 4 Things You Need to Know to Ensure Food Safety

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Hydrovey Systems: 4 Things You Need to Know to Ensure Food Safety

Any time you transport product from one stage of processing to another, you introduce the possibility of food safety risks. There are a variety of ways to move your product from receiving to packaging, but how do you minimize the opportunity for outside contamination during the steps between?

Hydrovey systems are a popular option, particularly in facilities that produce canned goods. This semi-closed-loop system transports product through piping using a stream of water and can be a safer alternative to conveyor belts. I’ve designed hydrovey systems and have seen them used in the production of several food products, including fruit, corn and beans.

 

5 Ways Hoses and Flow Panels Can Be a Risk to Your Brewery or Distillery

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5 Ways Hoses and Flow Panels Can Be a Risk to Your Brewery or Distillery

Breweries and distilleries can be infamous for their “snake pits,” the areas of the facility where transfer hoses can criss-cross in a tangled mess.

Flow panels and hoses are widely used to route product and cleaning solutions through brewery and distillery piping systems, and they are a cost-effective initial investment. However, as a facility grows, so do the number of connections — and that can quickly get out of control.

 

Ammonia Refrigeration Compliance: How an Engineering Bid Package Can Provide Owners with a Comprehensive Compliance Solution

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Ammonia Refrigeration Compliance: How an Engineering Bid Package Can Provide Owners with a Comprehensive Compliance Solution

Compliance audits for ammonia refrigeration are increasingly more detailed with regulatory standards maturing every year. Which begs the question: How prepared or risk-prone do you want your facility to be?

Compliance is just one of several issues on the agenda this week for the regional conference hosted by the Central Florida Chapter of the Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association (RETA). In addition to refrigeration maintenance and operation, attendees at the Central Florida Ammonia Refrigeration Regional Conference will also focus on the importance of compliance with regulators like OSHA.

 

6 Ways You’ll Achieve Greater Speed to Market on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working With a Fully Integrated Firm

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6 Ways You’ll Achieve Greater Speed to Market on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working With a Fully Integrated Firm

We all know the design-build methodology, by nature, is faster than the traditional design-bid-build approach. But if speed to market is your goal (hint: if you’re in the food and beverage industry, it probably is), then you can’t beat the agility that a fully integrated firm offers.

We’ve previously explored how a fully integrated design-build firm — one that offers process design, building and infrastructure design, and construction services with all in-house resources — can save you money and increase your plant’s food safety. In this post, I’m going to discuss the numerous ways an integrated approach can streamline your next project and get you from concept to commissioning faster than any other method.

 

3 Ways an Integrated Design-Build Firm Can Improve the Food Safety of Your Next Food Manufacturing Facility

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3 ways an integrated design-build firm can improve the food safety of your next food manufacturing facility

Will your new food or beverage facility be the source of a future recall? The answer could all come down to communication. I’m not talking about how well your staff on the plant floor can work together or how effective your leadership skills are as an owner. The fate of your plant can be decided well before a big ribbon is cut and your processing lines whir to life.

The food safety quality of your next facility depends on whether the people designing and constructing your plant can communicate effectively.

This may feel like something that’s outside of your control — but who you hire can be the difference between a project with streamlined communication and a multi-million-dollar game of “telephone” where mixed messages put food safety (and your budget) at risk.

 

3 Ways You’ll Save Money on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working with a Fully Integrated Firm

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3 Ways You’ll Save Money on Your Next Design-Build Food Project by Working with a Fully Integrated Firm

Food and beverage companies are faced with a decision when they decide to construct a new facility: contract a design-build firm or go with the traditional design-bid-build project delivery method. Nowadays, design-build is an increasingly popular option because it allows a project to be completed under one contract and in one unified workflow from initial concept through completion.

Not all design-builders are created equal, however. In the food and beverage industry, working with a fully integrated firm can save money, improve safety and increase speed to market on a project.

I call it the “three-legged stool” methodology: A fully integrated firm provides design, construction and process engineering services — the three major components to build a food plant — all under one roof.