Mar 8, 2018
You don’t need to build a brand new facility to meet modern-day food safety standards. The reality is that most companies don’t have the budget to build from scratch as often as they’d like, but that doesn’t mean your decades-old plant can’t be a shining example of food safety.
Let’s look at five things you can do now to ensure your older facility is up to today’s food safety standards.
Mar 1, 2018
The food industry is in the eye of a hurricane named Disruption.
Sweeping consolidation has turned the traditional food industry on its head, leaving major companies like Heinz, Kraft and Unilever feeling under siege. Other major players are working to “redefine” themselves before they become acquisition targets. Taste preferences have evolved and weekday sit-down meals are no longer a mainstay as families are increasingly on-the-go. Therefore, convenience is the name of the game.
Big companies are being challenged by upstart brands: Chobani challenged Yoplait and Dannon, long-time leaders in the yogurt market, and KIND bars have become one of the fastest-selling snack bars on Amazon. Neither company existed at the beginning of the 21st Century! Is the “slow and steady wins the race” mantra of the food industry on the way out?
Feb 22, 2018
Mergers and acquisitions are a driving force in the food industry today. Plus, a growing middle class and the millennial population are less brand loyal than previous generations, leading to a surge in store brands. What does this mean for food manufacturers? How should they respond?
Acknowledge that the next generation is changing the food game
We can’t rely on what we used to know about how consumers make purchasing decisions. “That’s what we’ve always done” is no longer a valid justification in today’s food and beverage market.
What updated OSHA standards mean for your facility’s roof and how to protect maintenance workers on your property
Feb 15, 2018
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.
Feb 8, 2018
Major food recalls are a reminder of how critical detection technology is for a food facility — and lately, it seems we’re being reminded far too often. There are a lot of variables when it comes to x-ray and metal detection systems: What should you buy? How much protection is enough? How do you maximize performance? Let’s start by understanding the difference between x-ray and metal detection technology.
Nov 30, 2017
So you want your building to be LEED certified, but what level should you pursue? Does a more energy-efficient facility mean completely revamping your processing? What about food safety?
LEED certification is a good thing, but it should not dictate every decision in a new-build or plant renovation. Checking credits off your LEED checklist shouldn’t come at the expense of performance and food safety.
Let’s look at some factors to designing a sustainable facility that go beyond the traditional aspects like electricity and water use. But first things first: where to begin?
Energy management from an engineering perspective
Nov 16, 2017
Everyone wants to improve their energy management, and while there are countless best practices to improve energy efficiency in your processing, I look at it from an engineering perspective.
When designing a new facility or renovating an existing one, I consider the different ways the plant can prioritize energy management within each engineering group that brings the building to life. Let’s explore how you can design energy management into your next greenfield or renovation project.
From virtual reality to pre-prepared foods
Nov 9, 2017
Source: Flexible Packaging magazine
I had the opportunity to attend Pack Expo 2017 in Las Vegas this fall with a team from Stellar. We met leaders from various segments of the F&B industry and enjoyed showing off our virtual design construction (VDC) technology.
These shows are always a great opportunity to network with food industry leaders and to see the very latest technologies and trends. This year was no exception. These were my big takeaways:
Nov 2, 2017
How old is the control system at your facility? In most processing plants, the control system consists of field instruments that are wired to I/O cards which feed to a central PLC controller. Operators communicate with the PLC through a human machine interface (HMI) computer.
While the lifespan of an HMI computer is about the same as a typical desktop computer, the instruments, field wiring, I/O boards and PLC controllers last a lot longer — and the mentality of most operators is: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Upgrading a control system is a costly investment, and, as a result, many facilities have field hardware that is decades old.
So, when is it worth upgrading your control system? And what options do you have?
Oct 12, 2017
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an internationally recognized system for reducing the risk of safety hazards in food. A HACCP system requires that potential biological, chemical or physical hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process. Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products can use HACCP to improve food safety.
So how does it work? Implementing a HACCP system requires that both prerequisite programs and HACCP plans are implemented:
- Prerequisite programs are programs that are put in place in the facility to control hazards in the environment, preventing contamination of the product (see examples)
- HACCP Plans are prepared for each process or product, and identify possible hazards and controls in place to make sure the hazards are eliminated or controlled to ensure acceptable levels in the food product
Let’s examine the steps to developing a solid HACCP plan.