Hilde Cnossen - Articles and news items
TNO Quality of Life is one of the five core areas of the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research. TNO carries out research aimed at providing concrete solutions to problems encountered by industry and government bodies in six areas of activity: Work and Employment, Chemistry, Innovation Policy, Prevention and Healthcare, Pharma and Food and Nutrition.
Food legislation is a complex matter. Since the publication of the White Paper on Food Safety in 2000, a considerable number of Regulations, Directives and Guidelines on the safety of food and feed – including ingredients – have been published. For companies involved in food and feed and ingredients production, trade and transport, it is not always easy to keep information about food and feed legislation up to date. Moreover, it is not that simple to apply and to interpret this legislation.
Recently the General Food Law (Regulation 178/2002/EC), shortly GFL, entered into force. This regulation lays down (among other points) the general principles and requirements of food law.
In this, the final article resulting from the HYFOMA project, Jacques Kastelein and Hilde Cnossen of TNO outline the reasons why equipment certification is essential to the food industry.
Need for hygienic design
Good hygienic design of process equipment has a tremendous impact on diminishing the risks of contamination of food during production, resulting in an extended shelf life of food products. Process equipment with poor hygienic design will be difficult to clean. Therefore, good hygienic design and preventive maintenance of production systems are essential prerequisites for high quality and safe products.
Research continues in the area of hygienic engineering and design, particularly in innovative techniques using safe construction materials to develop functional as well as easily cleanable equipment for handling, processing and packing foodstuffs. This is the motivation behind the work of the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG), which regularly publishes detailed guidelines and guidance on engineering aspects of food production.
The European Network for Hygienic Manufacturing of Food – HYFOMA – was established in 2001 with the aim to provide guidelines and test methods on hygienic design and processing and to disseminate knowledge. The presentations by key stakeholders in the final project meeting, Brussels 30 November 2004, clearly showed that HYFOMA has established new and high quality standards for guidelines and for training & education.
Food production is changing to more complex, multi-component products; a longer shelf life of fresh products; less preservatives and using raw materials from all over the world – due to consumer demands. Governments and customers are imposing public (HACCP) and private (BRC, Eurep-Gap) quality control systems. More comprehensive systems are coming, e.g. ISO 22000, covering food production itself and all supplies to it: raw materials, packaging materials, lubricating oils etc. Therefore, fulfilling criteria for hygienic food production is becoming more difficult than it used to be. Science and technology are delivering a constant stream of new insights, techniques and materials for enhancing hygienic food production, with significant contribution of the EC Framework Programs. However, establishing insights to implementation in production plants is just the beginning. Insights must be translated into guidelines agreed upon by the leading experts in Europe and understandable for all those involved – including managers and operators in production plants, equipment manufacturers, construction engineers, other suppliers and food inspectors. In addition, adequate training programs must be developed.
ABF Ingredients ANDEROL EUROPE BV Avantes Berndorf Band GmbH BIOTECON Diagnostics GmbH Bruker BioSpin Cargo Oil AB Elea GmbH Engilico FUCHS LUBRITECH GmbH GLOBALG.A.P. Foodplus GmbH InS Services (UK) Ltd IONICON Analytik GmbH JAX INC. JBT Corporation LUBRIPLATE Lubricants Company NETZSCH Pumpen & Systeme GmbH NSF International Ocean Optics PCE Instruments UK Ltd R-Biopharm Rhone Ltd Sandvik Process Systems Stancold SteriBeam The Tintometer® Group Thermo Fisher Scientific TOMRA Sorting Food Uhde High Pressure Technologies GmbH Verner Wheelock Vikan UK Ltd