Today, the processing facility is a full-fledged operation supporting Sunsweet’s ongoing growth. Given its complexity and the company’s investment in cutting-edge features, the plant also serves as a “learning lab” where Sunsweet can test ideas and experiment with different processing efficiencies that will be applied to its future facilities.
Earlier this year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) linked contaminated salad kits to a multistate outbreak of Cyclospora that infected more than 700 people. In 2019, the culprit was contaminated fresh basil, triggering a recall by the exporting company.
But how do outbreaks like this happen? Knowing how to prevent Cyclospora from entering your food plant is critical for maintaining the safety of your products and the trust of your customers, especially during a time of heightened awareness surrounding sanitation and public health.
Proper air balance in a food plant is required to maintain the environmental parameters that keep the space food-safe, including temperature, humidity and the frequency of air replacement. Additionally, the direction of airflow is important, especially when dealing with raw animal products. Now, in the post-pandemic world, clean, fresh air is more valuable than ever. As the world gets back to work, it’s important to examine your facility’s air system to ensure it’s up to par to keep workers and consumers safe.
Now that COVID-19 is a risk encountered in everyday life, food plant owners and operators are looking for ways to protect their staff and facilities that are cost-effective and don’t hinder productivity.
As scientific authorities continue to nail down exactly how COVID-19 is spread, the overwhelming evidence suggests the virus primarily travels and is transmitted through droplets in the air. That’s why shielding your facility from an outbreak starts with its HVAC and refrigeration systems.
Process Safety Management (PSM) is the OSHA standard that mandates employers identify, evaluate and control potentially hazardous activities, chemicals and components used in their processes.
While PSM audits are performed every three years, you should periodically perform self-audits to protect your facility from punitive measures from OSHA and, more importantly, to protect your employees from potentially catastrophic events that could lead to loss of life or property.
While it’s not feasible to ditch dusty ingredients like sugar, flour and cornstarch in most food processes, you should be aware of the danger particular ingredients create and formulate a plan to keep your workers and plant safe.
As the coronavirus pandemic rocked the world early this year and its scope was realized in the United States, food plant operators had to adapt quickly to meet new federal and local orders that mandated social distancing. At the same time, producers saw restaurant demand plummet while retail and online grocery store market shares skyrocketed. As unpaid orders originally bound for restaurants rotted in storage, retailers had trouble keeping milk and eggs on the shelf.
This dramatic shake-up has forced food plant operators to reorganize equipment, production lines and workers to maintain safe social distancing, especially in the wake of multiple COVID-19 outbreaks among food plant employees.
Additionally, the wild fluctuations the supply chain experienced exposed vulnerabilities created by the communication lag between suppliers, manufacturers and retailers.
Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology has the potential to solve some of these COVID-19-related problems and revolutionize the future of the food processing industry.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasted a 60% chance of an above-normal season this year, with 13 to 19 named storms (tropical storms and hurricanes with wind speeds of at least 39 mph), six to ten hurricanes (category 1 or higher with winds of at least 74 mph) and three to six major hurricanes (category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher).
The average season produces 12 named storms, with six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. This year’s hurricane season already set a record for the earliest fifth named storm ever when Tropical Storm Edouard formed almosttwo months earlier than the average fifth named storm.
While we have all been preoccupied trying to stay out of the path of the global pandemic, that doesn’t mean we should put off planning for a major storm that could threaten your food or beverage facility’s operation. In fact, COVID-19 is going to present an entirely new dynamic to hurricane preparedness and evacuation plans as people try to uphold social distancing.
When Sunsweet decided to expand their existing facility in Chile and needed design help, they turned to Stellar for a partner to help them not only design the facility but guide them through the entire process. From selecting the right site, to understanding sanitary design principles which ensure food safety, to vetting of local subcontractors, choosing the right firm to support your project is one of the most important decisions you face.
Biofilm can form just about anywhere in a food processing plant — even the cleanest looking surfaces can be a threat to food safety if an invisible layer of bacteria is present. Why does biofilm form and how can it be prevented? Knowing how to detect and eliminate biofilm is crucial to ensuring your food plant’s processing equipment is contaminant-free.
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