How Clean-in-Place Conveyer Belt Cleaning Delivers Efficiency, Labor Savings and FSMA Compliance

When it comes to investing in belt cleaning equipment, many factors come into play. Return on investment is influenced by production uptime, savings in staff time, and meeting regulatory requirements. Keep in mind new FDA regulations tighten up existing rules by focusing on preventing contamination, rather than limiting their scope.

Dry vapor steam technology, however, is a clean-in-place solution that is faster, more effective, and safer. You can accomplish in a couple of hours what might have taken a full shift or even days to do previously. This means the plant is kept up and running, doing what it’s supposed to be doing — producing food, beverage or other products. What’s more, dry vapor steam provides a more thorough clean than even the best human hands ever could. Contact surfaces will be more hygienic and it’s a safer alternative to harsh chemical cleaners.

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Real-World Customer Success Powers Revamped Goodway.com

The right mix of tools and processes delivers crucial maintenance ROI for commercial and industrial HVAC companies — we’ve known that for years. But any other maintenance-intensive industry can also benefit by deploying top gear as well as using a little bit of savvy and the most effective methods.

For instance, take Rexnord Corp.’s seal factory’s maintenance success. Eight Goodway VAC-2 industrial vacuums have boosted the factory’s operational efficiency — and these vacuums haven’t had to be service or replaced in three years.

Want some details? Rexnord Corp. is one of the many organizations featured on our new customer case studies and testimonials pages hosted on the revamped Goodway.com website.

Keep reading to see if your company’s use case is included:

CASE STUDIES

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How FSMA Impacts Food and Beverage Manufacturers

The food and beverage industry have evolved significantly over the past 10 years. The rules for the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) have changed food and beverage manufacturing by having companies focus on preventing their products from being contaminated rather than limiting the scope of contaminations.

“FSMA is the largest overhaul of government regulations since the 1930s,” says Evan D. Reyes, National Account Manager at Goodway Technologies. “The intent is to tighten regulations on food processing, ultimately to provide safer food for consumers.”

The law now requires that companies in the food and beverage industry exert tighter control of operations as well as provide documentation and tracking of every ingredient used throughout the enterprise.

At the same time, organizations are under increasing pressure to keep customers happy and save money but not skimp on quality. Poor quality can have wide-reaching effects on food and beverage companies because just one recall can bring a business to its knees.

“To be successful, food and beverage manufacturers must stress closed-loop quality, traceability across the value chain, and compliance throughout the process,” according to the recent “Impact of FSMA: Taking Stock of the F&B Landscape in 2016” report from Aberdeen Group.

Because of the increased attention on the industry, food and beverage companies cannot risk even one shipment that is not of the highest quality, the report notes.

That means food and beverage companies will most likely have to make changes to their operations to ensure compliance with the law.

To do that, organizations must have compliance and traceability built in from the start. Constructing a program that works and complies with FSMA takes “the right technology tools, proper document management and real-time visibility across the enterprise,” according to the report.

Reyes says for food and beverage manufacturers to achieve the goals of FSMA, they must focus on hazard analysis, preventive controls, and good manufacturing practices.

There are a number of tools and services to help companies comply with the FDA’s regulations, including food safety consulting companies that can help manufacturers transform sanitation programs and meet FSMA compliance, Reyes says.

“Besides consulting, investing in the right tools and technologies can really improve sanitation results, product quality, and food safety and help you prevent cross-contamination and get you up to the FSMA compliance level,” he notes.

Additionally, Reyes says suppliers should also help their food and beverage manufacturing customers meet FSMA compliance. Goodway can help by making certain you have the right sanitation equipment in place.

Next Steps:

How Food Production Facilities Can Prepare for FSMA

The Food Service Modernization Act compliance dates have arrived and that likely means significant changes to your current operating procedures. In this podcast, Evan D. Reyes, National Account Manager at Goodway Technologies, discusses key requirements relating to hazard analysis, preventative controls and food sanitation for both big and small facilities. Watch this podcast overview below to get complete access or learn how to take conveyor belt cleaning to a new level.

 

How Chemical Descalers Clean and Maintain Boilers, Chillers and Cooling Towers

In this “Just Venting Podcast,” Ray Field, the Director of Goodway Liquid Solutions, discusses the physical and financial impact of scale build-up on boilers, chillers and cooling towers. Ray also provides tips on how to avoid expensive repairs, improve energy efficiency and decrease electrical costs by implementing an effective maintenance plan.

 

The Future of Food: Origins and Organisms?

The Future of Food QualityWith the FDA tightening food label regulations and the risk of added allergens prompting regular product recalls, it’s worth taking a look at the future of food — what’s currently in development, what’s just around the corner and what can companies expect to see down the line?

Country of Origin

Last year Australian authorities were forced to recall a particular brand of bagged and frozen berries — which originated in Chile and China — after a Hepatitis A infection of four adults was linked to the product. According to ABC, the country is now rolling out new legislation which requires companies to mark the “country of origin” on virtually all food products. Products made in Australia will carry a “kangaroo” logo and also specify which ingredients were sourced locally, which were purchased elsewhere and which items were simply “assembled” in the country. It’s a big step for consumers and producers, who are now on the hook to design and implement entirely new labels within two years.

GM-No?

Stateside, the country is rolling out legislation which requires all foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) to be labelled as such. As noted by PBS, Congress recently approved the new bill; the Agriculture Department has two years to write specific rules detailing exactly what these labels need to contain. At minimum President Barack Obama says that most packages will need to carry a label with text, symbols or electronic codes which indicate the presence of GMOs. While the scientific community and the FDA agree that products which contain genetically modified organisms are safe to eat, consumers want “more information” about the origin and composition of specific ingredients.

The New Expectation?

With consumers and government agencies now demanding that food retailers and manufacturers both track and detail the country of origin and specific ingredient composition of their products, it’s not hard to imagine next steps. In the same way consumers worry about contamination from potential allergens or GMOs, for example, they could just as easily have concerns about specific food manufacturing techniques — leading to legislation which compels producers to provide details about the machinery which processes and packages certain food.

Hand-in-hand with type of potential oversight comes increased scrutiny of cleaning techniques and scheduling; violations could see companies fined or out of business until issues are addressed. Getting ahead of the game here starts with record-keeping — by keeping accurate and detailed reports about when specific machines were cleaned, how this task was carried out and if any issues were detected, processors can help future-proof their production lines. According to Evan Reyes, Goodway Technologies product specialist for the food industry, “complete, accurate, thoroughly documented SSOPs and Master Sanitation Schedules are essential for the modern food processor,” especially since under new FSMA legislation effective documentation is mandated by law and SSOPs can be requested by the FDA during any inspection. Despite the use of SSOPs, proper ingredient labelling and the use of color-coded production tools, cross-contamination of GMOs or non-origin-country ingredients may still occur. Here, your best bets are highly adaptable and thorough cleaning systems, such as HEPA filtered vacuums which capture food particles down to the micron level, helping to quickly eliminate any extraneous ingredients which have made their way into your food-prep or processing environment.

Emerging food legislation is focused on the combination of origin specificity and easy consumer access to ingredient information. Moving forward, companies should expect a greater focus on process mechanics and record-keeping — the right prep now can help buffer businesses against demands of new food product policies.

Ammonia Risky Refrigerant? Leak Leaves One Dead in Boston

Ammonia as a Refrigerant Clean Up In the last five years, anhydrous ammonia has become the go-to refrigerant for many companies — it’s cost-effective, efficient and free of the environmental impacts associated with CFCs and HCFCs.

Despite its many benefits, however, businesses must still treat this colorless gas with respect: Prolonged or large-volume exposure can result in serious injury or even death. That’s the unfortunate situation facing a Boston-area seafood warehouse after a 5000 pound ammonia leak occurred, killed one worker and forced a shelter-in-place order from Boston Police. Here’s what went wrong.

Check out this related content:

Ammonia Basics

The switch to Ammonia as a refrigerant makes sense: It’s 3-10 percent more efficient than CFCs, has a global warming potential of zero and building ammoina-based systems costs 10-20 percent less than a comparable CFC solution thanks to narrow-diameter piping. Gaseous ammonia has a distinctive smell which is detectable even at low concentrations and is lighter than air ,meaning it will rise and dissipate in the atmosphere.

Nonetheless, ammonia comes with a number of serious health risks. In high concentrations it can irritate or burn skin and leave permanent scarring and may also cause permanent blindness. If inhaled, ammonia not only causes severe throat and nose irritation but also a life-threatening accumulation of fluid in the lungs.

Emerging Problems?

On March 23rd, police and fire crews responded to an emergency at the Stavis Seafoods Warehouse — an ammonia breach in progress which dumped more than 5300 pounds of gas into the facility. For three hours emergency crews worked to shut off the main valve and restore neighborhood safety; despite their efforts, one worker was killed by the leak.

So what happened? According to news reports, problematic procedures may be to blame. For example, the plant was fined several years ago by OHSA for infractions related to its refrigeration system — workers did not receive annual emergency response training, no written respiratory protection plan was in place and equipment was not properly inspected.

Here’s the takeway: Compared to CFCs and HCFCs, ammonia is a safe and efficient alternative. But “safe” is relative — to ensure worker safety and regulatory compliance, regular inspections combined with clear emergency response plans are required. The same is true for any HVAC or refrigeration system; while deferred maintenance may not seem risky if all components are working as intended it takes only a single, sudden failure to property and lives in danger. Ongoing, scheduled evaluations and preemptive maintenance are critical for any ammonia storage solution — lax procedures damage more than the bottom line.

Next Steps:

Fire With Fire: Scientists Using Bacteria to Fight Bad Food

Fire-With-FireDespite advances in food manufacturing, handling and equipment policies, foodborne illness remains a critical concern for producers. According to the CDC, in fact, approximately 1 in 6 — 48 million — Americans are made sick by foodborne diseases each year. Of these, more than 100,000 are hospitalized and 3000 don’t survive. Bottom line? Companies need ways to take the fight to bad food; here’s a look at two of the most promising battle fronts.

Plant Probiotics

At the University of Delaware, researchers are investigating a way to make food-bearing plants more resistant to human-harmful strains of bacteria. Their solution? A kind of “plant probiotic”, a bacterial strain which is completely harmless to humans but helps plants fend off pathogens such as listeria. Known as strain UD1022, the bacteria has demonstrated the ability to reduce the persistence of listeria within three days of application by regulating the behavior of plant stomata — which open and close as plants breathe and give off water. In addition, initial testing suggests that the regulation of stomata could help increase the longevity of plants by causing them to lose less water over time. Ideally, the new bacteria will prevent high-risk bacteria such as E.coli and salmonella from “hiding” in plants, even after they’ve been thoroughly washed.

Laser Focus

In China, meanwhile, scientists at Zhejiang Normal University along with researchers from Umea University in Sweden are looking at another way to detect foodborne pathogens: Lasers. Their work focuses on the risks of using food past “best before” dates and the possibility that food may spoil long before these dates pass, even if the packaging is intact. Why? Because the factors driving bacteria growth vary from package to package and product to product, making “best before” and “use by” dates a law-of-averages guessing game. Their new tool uses optical spectrometry to detect the presence of specific gases given off by bacterial growth — such as carbon dioxide — through glass or plastic packaging. Ideally, the laser solution could help both food manufacturers and medical companies ensure that any bacterial-prone product is safe for consumption before being sold.

Firm Foundation

Of course, custom bacteria and laser tools make little difference if production lines don’t keep up their end of the bargain and introduce foodborne illnesses during the manufacturing or packaging process. As a result, it’s a combination of high-tech advances and solid best practices — such as the installation of dry vapor belt cleaning systems or regular use of heavy-duty vapor steam cleaners — which deliver ideal process results. The end goal? From farm to factory to franchise, food that’s bacteria-free, healthy and high-quality.

Next Steps

Alaskan Food Plant Gets Back to Nature

Alaskan Food Plant Gets Back to NatureWhile most of North America trends toward more processed food with lower nutritional value, the town of Kotzebue, Alaska is headed a different route with its new processing plant: The Siglauq. Taken from the traditional Inupiat word for cold, underground storage systems The Siglauq will allow local hunters to kill and then donate animals for use in the local seniors’ center. It’s a bold plan that will help many older residents retain their subsistence lifestyle—but how do plant operators make sure they’re still meeting federal health standards?

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Safe Food and the People Problem

Safe Food and the People ProblemHow does food get contaminated? It’s easy to point fingers at sub-par technology or handling machines that are past their prime, but according to Food Safety News there’s an even bigger problem: People. Why? Because at some point during the journey from single component to final product all food items are handled in some manner by people—who don’t always follow the rules. The result is food-borne illness, but is it possible to solve the “people problem?”

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