Best Practices for Sanitary Design in Food Processing Plants

Over the years, the role of food plant architects has expanded greatly, requiring designers to become true experts in sanitary design. As a result, some best practices have emerged in the food processing design-build industry to ensure food safety and prevent problems, and added expenses, down the road.

In 2008, the American Meat Institute (AMI) formed a task force and set forth three broad principles of sanitary design, which have led to these six best practices in design-build for food processing plants.

Zones of control

1. The design and construction of any food processing facility should include a complete separation of production areas that house uncooked (raw) from cooked, ready-to-eat (RTE) products

2. Construction should also incorporate segregated welfare areas for employees who handle raw products from those who handle RTE products including locker rooms, cafeterias, and support areas

Temperature and moisture control

3. Food processing plant design should begin with a clear understanding of each room’s function to ensure sufficient room temperatures based on the intended use of the spaces

4. Installing reliable mechanical systems to control humidity within the plant is critical to eliminating potential food safety and bacteria harborage issues

Ability to clean and maintain the facility

5. Materials used in the construction of a food processing plant should be selected for both durability and cleanability, including the ability to resist harsh cleaning chemicals and temperature variations

6.  The design should include ample space above, around and under physical constraints, such as process equipment, with separate levels established for proper cleaning and maintenance of the building and the process equipment.


Every food processing design-build project should begin with these six best practices in mind. If you’d like to hear how we incorporate these best practices in our designs, and other important best practices throughout the construction process, please email me a




One thought on “Best Practices for Sanitary Design in Food Processing Plants

  1. These six points provide a very excellent summary of important design criteria in a food plant.
    Structural Engineering has a big role in the ‘Ability to clean and maintain’ aspect of food plant design. Seal welding connections, selecting ledge free structural materials, minimizing number of support columns in framing platfoms/mezzanine, avoiding projecting anchor bolts for platform column baseplates are some of the steps we need to take to facilitate easy cleaning and maintenance.


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