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Jacques Kastelein - Articles and news items
Issue 1 2009 / 20 February 2009 / Erik Hoornstra & Jacques Kastelein, TNO Quality of Life
Hygiene is a key focal area among food industry companies. At a time when producers are beset by a whole range of issues, this area demands investment. Ideally, the required level of hygiene should be adjusted in respect to the other requirements in the area of product quality and preservation. TNO’s quick scan helps achieve improvements in hygienic production and demonstrate that there is profit in the investments!
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.