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Hygiene and safety in the food processing industry.

Hygiene and Safety in the Food Processing Industry

The subject of food preparation hygiene is one that has been brought sharply into focus by the alarming increase in the number of food poisoning outbreaks. The need for seamless, sterilizable floor and wall surfaces in the processing industry has never been stronger, following the introduction of a new Food Bill, which gives environmental health officers the power to close premises that do not meet the tough new guidelines. Such a climate, which will no doubt call for managers to re-assess the performance of their present wall and flooring systems, makes the task of material specification even more difficult than before.

Material Choice

As the choice of materials and systems widens so the decision- making process becomes more complex for the hard-pressed manager and, equally, his architect or consultant. Thus, manufacturers who provide a specialist consultancy service to advise on all aspects of floor/wall finishes can offer an important service to this industry.

Apart from the cost element, the choice of material is, in the case of the meat manufacturing industry, for instance, influenced by one or more of the following factors:

1) Corrosion - The corrosion of surfaces by acids, oils and other chemicals is a great problem for the food industry and is one of the greatest causes of floor/wall failure and disruption to production.

2) Erosion - The effects of erosion are usually seen in areas where liquids are constantly dripping, splashing or jetting on to a structure which initially softens under impact or impregnation and then is gradually worn away.

3) Hard Wear and Impact - Heavy impacts, particularly from sharp objects and heavy abrasion caused by the continuous passage of trucks, particularly the steel wheeled variety, can severely restrict the life of conventional cement bond floor surfaces. The effect is progressive, in that the initial surface rupture is often followed in a very short period of time by severe failure. Damage caused by heavy wear and impact is often seen in packaging and distribution areas where forklift trucks and containers are in regular use.

4) Thermal - Thermal cycling conditions, for example a rapid surge of very hot liquid or, at other end of the scale, a sudden drop in temperature, can be very serious in their effects on many conventional forms of flooring/wall surfaces and indeed many of the modern resin-based toppings.

5) Aesthetics - An attractive looking floor/wall is often very important in the industrial environment. In food factories there has, for many years, been a clear preference for flooring and walling that will either complement the product or the factory operations and encourage exceptionally high standards of hygiene and cleanliness.

These five considerations must always be carefully studied before making the right choice of materials. Among the materials offered by Prodorite specially for the food industry are chemical-resisting cements for bedding and jointing vitrified ceramic tile flooring, together with a complementary range of jointless corrosion-resisting screeds, coatings and protective wall linings. It is perhaps worth looking at several specific products which are able to solve particular requirements within the meat manufacturing industry.

Prodorite GT is a urethane screed, which provides a seamless floor having extremely good corrosion resistance. It has excellent mechanical strength and is therefore ideal for the food processing industry where heavy trolleys are often used. Prodorcrete GT offers secure underfoot properties, good chemical resistance and can be steam cleaned effectively to halt bacteriological growth because of the product's high softening point and excellent compatibility with concrete.

In areas where excellent hygiene and good impact resistance are needed, Orglas has proved to be the most effective answer as it can be mechanically cleaned, and can withstand the use of aggressive cleaning solutions. Easy removal of a range of splashes, from oils to blood, is facilitated by Orglas's top coat which forms an impermeable barrier for the wall coating system, thus deterring any bacteriological growth. As Orglas comprises many layers of glass fibre reinforcement, it is exceptionally impact resistant, making it ideal for a number of applications including abattoirs, meat manufacturing plants and bakeries.

Vibrabond is an acrylic polymer floor screed for situations where initial processing takes place. The flooring system, laid 12mm thick, is suitable for use in abattoirs and meat processing plants where resistance to bloods, fats and other substances is required. Vibrabond is a slip-resistant polymer flooring system laid by a vibratory technique that produces floors high in compressive strength, with good resistance to impact, high impermeability, good sound deadening and freeze/thaw stability. Another important characteristic is its slip resistance even in wet conditions. Security of foothold is paramount within the food industry, and the top surface of Vibrabond comprises a dense matrix of hard aggregate particles to maintain excellent slip resistance throughout the life of the floor.

Companies like Prodorite not only provide a vast and flexible range of products but also highly trained staff skilled in the application of wall and floor finishes, thus offering a complete service. The right specification of floor/wall system is vital if a long term, effective solution to the problem of flooring is to be found. Prodorite, with more than sixty years' experience in the protective coatings industry, has the knowledge and product range to meet the needs of the food processing industry.

PHOTO : Orglas wall finish at Jotchams in Yeovil
COPYRIGHT 1990 Food Trade Press Ltd.
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Title Annotation:Prodorite Ltd. floor coverings for food processing plants
Author:Mills, Lorraine
Publication:Food Trade Review
Date:Feb 1, 1990
Words:889
Previous Article:Fermentation Process Development of Industrial Organisms.
Next Article:How to improve hygiene for food handlers.
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