UnitedFresh.com | December 2016 | by United Fresh Produce Association.
A first-of-its-kind meeting of 15 equipment suppliers (each with a sales/marketing as well as a design engineer representative) and 16 fresh cut processors (food safety representative along with operations or engineering representatives), along with several influential buyers, was held September 27 to begin a dialogue around sanitary design needs, considerations, and constraints. The goal of the meeting, which was organized by Joe Stout at Commercial Food Sanitation and hosted by Taco Bell, was to ultimately improve product safety and protect public health.
Key discussions centered around factors influencing the potential to retrofit equipment versus replace it, as well as the role of preventive maintenance, and modifications made to equipment after installation in a facility were also discussed. Cost was recognized as the elephant in the room, and several participants offered calculators and other methods to evaluate the net cost of investments. The meeting featured opportunities for processors and suppliers use the principles of hygienic design evaluate pieces of equipment brought on site, and begin detailing SSOPs for the equipment. The candid discussion about sanitary design of equipment concluded with the assessment that the interactions provide immense value to both processors and those manufacturing equipment. United Fresh, who provided opening comments at the session, will work with the meeting’s steering group to determine how the experiences and information shared can be disseminated to a broader group of stakeholders.