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Smart hygienic solutions for the food industry

Smart hygienic solutions for the food industry While investing in growth, food and beverage companies remain focused on costs and efficiency, and indicate they are increasing emphasis on food safety and regulatory compliance.

Businesses in the food sector are proactively addressing changes in the regulatory environment, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and EU Regulations. They are also proactively addressing risk management related issues, an area where foodborne illnesses require a very high level of attention.

A foodborne disease is any illness resulting from the consumption of food which is contaminated by pathogenic bacteria, viruses or parasites as well as chemical agents. Foodborne diseases pose a growing threat to public health worldwide. The most common effect of foodborne diseases takes the form of gastrointestinal symptoms but such diseases can also lead to chronic, life-threatening conditions including neurological or immunological disorders as well as multiorgan failure, cancer and death. Recent global developments are increasingly challenging international health security. These developments include the growing industrialisation and trade of food production and the emergence of new or antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

Although we do not currently have an exact figure of the global impact of foodborne diseases on society, businesses and trade, the latest estimations are of hundreds of billions of US dollars. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (cdc.gov) estimates that there are roughly 48 million cases, 3,000 deaths, and 128,000 hospitalisations from foodborne pathogens each year in the US alone. Children, the elderly, pregnant and post-partum women and individuals with compromised immune systems are at highest risk of developing complications from foodborne illness.

A food recall occurs when there is reason to believe that a food may cause consumers to become ill. A food manufacturer or distributor initiates the recall to take foods off the market. In some situations, food recalls are requested by government agencies. A food recall can cost millions and can be potentially fatal for a business. On top of the scary numbers, food safety is becoming increasingly important for the food processing sector for additional reasons:
  • Foodborne illnesses continue to plague the global supply chain (see the recent bird flu outbreak in China)
  • The European Union and the FDA in the US keep increasing enforcement of existing regulations, giving food safety and food manufacturing enforcement greater visibility
  • There is a trend to focus on health claims made by food manufacturers (for example, 'functional foods' that help reduce cholesterol)
  • Product recall is threatening the food industry, with increasing vigilance and monitoring of the quality and safety of foods put on the market shelves; public perception and attitudes towards bacteria-related issues are heightened because of headline-making stories.

As a consequence one can expect further pressure on food manufacturers to improve quality control in the coming years. Risk management and risk reduction are the start to better food safety practices. To help food manufacturers all over the world comply with all of the strict regulations in terms of hygiene in their material handling processes, Interroll has created what it believes is the most hygienic conveyor drive currently available on the market. Conventional gear motors are bulky, complex to install, and most importantly, non-hygienic: tested and verified as non-cleanable by the independent Danish Technological Institute, they require expensive cabinets and guarding. The Interroll Drum Motor, by contrast, can be hygienically cleaned and disinfected regularly using high pressure water, steam and chemicals. This helps food manufacturers achieve the highest possible hygiene standards.

Interroll's own R&D department has designed the Synchronous Drum Motor according to guidelines of the European Hygienic Engineer-ing and Design Group (EHEDG) using only first class materials approved by FDA and EC regulation 1935/2004. Furthermore, with its standard IP66 and IP69K sealing systems the Interroll Synchronous Drum Motor is the ideal solution for wet and high pressure wash-down applications. The Interroll Drum Motor features optimum cleanability. The chemical resistance of the materials used for Interroll Drum Motor has been validated in real environmental tests. Cleaning specialist Ecolab has certified a 5-year minimum lifetime of materials when exposed to typical cleaning and sanitation procedures using the Topax range of products.

"Hygiene is important - that's why I like the Interroll product. Look, we're only a box of bad meat away from being out of business," comments Jeff Evers of Butterball LLC. Butterball, which uses Interroll Drum Motors in food production, is one of the largest global turkey providers in the world, exporting over 100 million pounds of turkey products annually to over 50 countries.
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