While ammonia systems are a common and safe option for industrial refrigeration, they are highly regulated to protect public safety and the environment from a potential chemical release. For years, these government regulations have only applied to systems in the U.S. with 10,000+ pounds of ammonia — until now.
As of January 1, 2023, all facilities with ammonia systems, regardless of size, must comply with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations. That means your average mom-and-pop cold storage distributor must now play by the same rules as the world’s largest food companies.
The problem? Smaller facilities are often unaware they are subject to new rules, which could result in hefty fines and other penalties.
The development of advanced automation controls and technology for industrial refrigeration systems have made critical upgrades possible for owners who want to improve the efficiency, performance, safety and reliability of their systems and overall operations.
However, a refrigeration system running on outdated controls and hardware is like a ticking time bomb and can get quite expensive to repair — not to mention the cost of downtime.
This past year has been a big one in the food and beverage industry, with new technology rolling out and (some) supply chain constraints waning. While new trends and practices are already appearing for 2023, it’s critical for manufacturers to reflect on 2022’s challenges and successes when planning for the one ahead.
That’s why we’re revisiting the topics our readers found most useful this year. From coffee trends to labor availability to cyberattacks, here are the five most popular Food for Thought posts of 2022.
Designing the processing system for a food and beverage facility is a lot like doing a jigsaw puzzle. You can probably force many of the pieces to fit into various spaces. However, if you do not find the perfect fit, you’ll ultimately wind up with holes and weaknesses in your finished puzzle — or in this case, elevated food safety and quality risks that may cost your business valuable time and money.
To make an educated decision about valve selection, owners and their construction partners should consider the different types of valves available in the market and how they will interact with other components in the individual facility’s production lines.
A clean-in-place (CIP) system is a cost-effective and time-saving tool that rinses and washes the inside surfaces of food processing piping and equipment without mechanical disassembly. When designed well, a CIP system improves sanitation and enhances food safety while both simplifying the cleaning process for plant operators and reducing downtime. It automates what has traditionally been a laborious and time-consuming manual process of disassembling the piping, hand-cleaning each component and reassembling equipment.
In addition to lost revenue from halted production, improperly cleaned equipment can spread foodborne contaminants from batch to batch, which is dangerous to consumers and can lead to recalls that directly impact a company’s bottom line and reputation.
If you’re considering investing in a CIP system for your facility, it’s important to ensure you’re getting a design that is reliable and up-to-date. Your process design team should consider the overall needs of your operation, including changeover efficiency, water conservation and how the design will affect the complexity of the system.
Food and beverage companies have seen a major increase in demand for their products in the past few years. The COVID-19 shutdowns changed consumer habits: Instead of dining out or ordering takeout, consumers spent more money having their groceries delivered, making their own meals at home and discovering new food and beverage products.
This increase in demand is driving many food manufacturers to consider automating their packaging processes to improve efficiency. However, choosing the right level of automation takes time and research. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, since the level of implementation will impact your initial costs as well as your return on investment.
Like the human body is dependent upon veins and arteries to support a beating heart, so are food-grade hoses vital to safely connecting various stages of production to an uncompromised finished product.
Safety is the number one priority of every food processor, and as such owners need to protect the safety of the food they handle every step of the way.
Selecting the correct hoses is essential to success, especially when there are a variety of hoses on the market created for a range of applications, from distilleries to dairies. The specification process becomes paramount: A poorly chosen hose can easily become a weak link in a plant’s food safety program, and even prove a danger to employees.
Degradation from fats and oils is a perpetual battle in maintaining the integrity of hoses, as are other conditions, such as functioning under high pressure as well as the high temperatures of the liquids they transport. Abrasion from machines and flooring within the facility is an added consideration that is sometimes overlooked.
Food Processing magazine hosted a webinar in December discussing the importance of food-grade hoses for food production. Food Processing magazine editor-in-chief Dave Fusaro led a conversation on the topic alongside two experts from Parker Hannifin Corporation: Matthew Davis, business development manager of the Hose Products Division, and Dylan Shamakian, sales manager of Fluid Connectors Group Hose Products Division.
Here are some of the most important things to consider when choosing the right hose to keep employees and products safe:
The price of corrugated has been steadily increasing for years, but recent data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a sharp spike in cost since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cost of corrugated and solid fiber box manufacturing products reached an all-time high in February 2022.
In the face of significant price increases, owners must be strategic and intentional with material purchases and investments. This is the perfect time to reevaluate your facility’s current packaging process, including whether a change in case style could help optimize your process and save money.
Facilities, including food and beverage manufacturers, that use certain flammable and toxic substances in amounts that exceed threshold quantities must have a documented Risk Management Plan (RMP) per Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. Companies must update and resubmit their RMP at least every five years.
The EPA requires each facility to review all sections of their RMP, update where appropriate, and certify that the entire RMP is accurate and complete.
According to the EPA’s checklist, here are the key elements that should be reviewed for resubmission:
It’s no secret that food processing facilities, warehouses and distribution centers must maintain high standards to ensure food safety. If pests infiltrate a workspace, every area of production is at risk. Not only can pests carry diseases that threaten health and safety, an infestation could also lead to product loss, product recall, reputation damage, product liability lawsuits and a facility’s shutdown.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates nearly 48 million Americans get sick from foodborne diseases every year, while thousands more are hospitalized or even die from them.
Understanding the threats, developing a robust pest prevention strategy and recognizing when it’s time to call for help are vital to protecting your operations, staff and customers.