Health Care Assignment Paper on Food Processing Plant Hygiene

Food Processing Plant Hygiene


Rising customer demand for fresh foods has resulted to the growth of processing and conservation techniques that have nominal influence on either the dietary or sensory attributes of foods. Freshly processed foods often comprise less salt, acid, sugar, chemical additions and stabilizers. Because the application of small preservation technologies mainly leads to pasteurized foods,  and a hygienic process atmosphere are required to avoid microbial, compound, and physical pollutants from affecting these foods while precluding food contact to sources of dirt (bugs and dust). Preventing food contagion may take place not only at the equipment level, but as well at the industrial unit level. Integration of hygienic surrounding and operations into a food processing plant can avoid growth of bugs and microbiological places, evade product contamination with chemicals and particles, assist cleaning, and safeguard sanitary conditions both during and after processing (Baş, Ersun & Kıvanç 2006). This paper provides information regarding various aspects of factory hygiene and Irish operational legislation on food processing plant hygiene.

Irish Legislation on Factory Hygiene

Since 2006, both European Union and national hygiene legislation in Ireland have changed. The Irish regulations are required to implement the regulations of the EU guidelines. The Irish legislation guidelines as well contain some EU provisions needed to be followed by food processing plants. The Irish legislationexplains the operation requirements that food processing factories have to observe.


Food processing plants must register their factories with the applicable expert authority not less than 28 days before food processing begin. A completed registration document for each plant should be submitted to the applicable expert authority. The new legislation stipulates that during registration, food production operators must present to the applicable competent bodies filled particulars of the operations undertaken. Once their factories are licensed, food production operators should make sure that any changes to the particulars formerly provided such as a change of plant operator, an alteration to the food processing, should be reported to the applicable authority. Such notices should be furnished soonest possible, and whatever the case may be no later than three weeks after the alteration has occurred.

Specific Hygiene Requirements

Article 4 of Regulation 852/2004 demands that food production plants observe the universal hygiene guidelines established by regulation. The regulation provides guidance on all the operational requirements concerning various categories of food processing businesses. Additionally, any factory must conform to the applicable requirements of Regulation 853/2004 in their production processes. Lastly, there are particular supplementary provisions enclosed in the Food Hygiene Regulations which as well apply to these plants (Melngaile 2011).

Food Safety Management

Food production operators are obligated to set up practices which control food safety within their plants. Article five of Regulation 852/2004 demands that the process be established on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) ethics contained in the regulation (Baş, Ersun & Kıvanç 2006). However, the regulation does not automatically limit food production operators to execute a HACCP scheme if it is unsuitable.

Guides to Good Practice

Article 7-9 of Regulation 852/2004 support the formulation of guidebooks to good practice for hygiene and the use of HACCP doctrines. Food production operators may apply these guidelines as a deliberate aid to conformity with their requirements under the food hygiene legislation (Britain 2007).


The national legislation bestows the duty for implementing the legislation on food processing establishments’ hygiene on the Food Standards Agency. Task for enforcement in various categories of plants is bestowed on various Irish agencies. In Northern Ireland, Veterinary Public Health Unit (VPHU) perform the enforcement task in permitted slaughterhouses, cutting factories and game handling firms for Food Safety Authority of Northern Ireland (Melngaile 2011). Food authorities are in charge of enforcement in permitted meat products and fresh products plants.

Disinfection Agents

Absence of microbial and alien body pollution is necessary in food processing, and the major means for checking the surface course of contamination is disinfection. After the cleaning stage, disinfection plays a critical function in additionally minimizing microbial quantities and capability (Boland 2011). Nevertheless, disinfectants for application in the food production may infect the product. Thus, in addition to being efficient and appropriate for factory application, such disinfectants should as well be non-hazardous and non- infecting. The author describes the usage criteria and operator safety requirements of disinfectants, together with methods to determine taint potential, toxicity, and efficacy. The main constraint on the application of disinfectants in the food processing is the reality that food is intended for either human or animal use. Whilst disinfectants have thesame function as in other industries, in this context they are utilized in a setting which will consequently beapplied to make edible products. Thus, suitable disinfectants must principallybe harmless and non- infecting. These constraints decrease the choice of biocides to only some main food types, all of which are less efficient in the occurrence of macrobioticmaterial (Cho & Yoon 2007). Disinfectants in food-processing plants should hence be applied as part ofa prearranged sanitation program, and a cleaning process must precede disinfectant utilization.


In some nations and for some food products, it is up to standard to abandon disinfectant deposits on surfaces without washing these off before beginning of food processing, but in Ireland all chemicals must be rinsed before food processing. In both settings, the pollution of food products with disinfectant deposits is inevitable. Disinfectants, even at low densities, must thus pose no health hazards to the food user. Legislation concerning the demonstration of non-poisonous is probable to differ for each food category. Guidance on product suitability must thus be solicited from the applicable national agencies. A reference standard of the lowest amount sensitive oral toxicity of 2,000 mg/kg bodyweight is as a rule suitable for the suitability testing of disinfectants (Worsfold & Griffith 2006).


Application features of the disinfectant and the type of application are vital. As with suitability, state legislation in this area may differ. Applicability regulations may vary among various countries. However, Irish legislation demands that disinfectants should contain information regarding their description and proposed application, physical information (form, smell, pH, and solubility), health risks and first aid cure (in case of breathing, eye contact, skin contact, and consumption) and other unique precautions (Karaca & Velioglu 2007). Disinfectants should as well contain information regarding their application to prevent instances such as fire risks, dangerous reactions with other chemicals, spillage processes and dumping, and usage precautions.


 Disinfectants should have the broadest probable spectrum of activity against germs such as viruses, microbes, and spores in a period pertinent to application contact times. Food processors should be guaranteed that disinfectants are competent of antimicrobial impacts, by means of recorded disinfectant experiments carried out under conditions simulating factory application. The biocide effectiveness of disinfectants has been evaluated for several years and, compared with food hygiene, disinfectants are usually assessed in suspension analysis. In practice, nevertheless, microorganisms sterilized on food manufacturing surfaces are those which survive after cleaning, and are thus probable to be attached to the surface. The significance of suspension analysis has thus been called into question. Nevertheless, some microorganisms may be found in suspension after the addition of the disinfectant and suspension analysis are as well helpful for evaluating the impact of environmental parameters generally. Conventional surface-based disinfectant analysis methodologies are accessible, though not as much frequent. The formation of the solitary European market has presented momentum for both the re-evaluation of disinfectant effectiveness and conformity to European standardisation methods. The conformity to European standardisation methods has been made possible by the formation in 1988 of a European Standards Technical Committee on Chemical Disinfectants and Antiseptics, instituted to synchronize various disinfectant effectiveness test processes in the medical, veterinary, food and organizational areas (Penna, Mazzola & Martins 2007).

Disinfectants should be assessed against bio-films through the application of impediametric methods and more new procedures, for instance the use of in vivo bioluminescence using lux AB recombinant derivatives. Impediametric methods evaluate microbial increase by noticing electrical changes in the surrounding incubation environment. The single benefit of impedance methods is that they may be applied whether microorganisms are in suspension or connected to surfaces; given that the microorganisms are feasible, they can alter the electrical attributes of the incubation environment. This makes the method predominantly effective for analyzing surface disinfectants since it is not necessary to take away the microorganisms from the test medium before enumeration (Worsfold & Griffith 2006). This leaves the suspended cells in the same structural condition and does not subject them to elimination tensions, which may affect the level of disinfectant effectiveness documented.

Organization of Sanitation Programs

The inadequacy of appropriate sanitation practices can cost factory operators a great deal of money. Regularly this loss is not apparent to administration. It surfaces in terms of consumers going away, deprived employee drive (this is occasionally blamed on low-grade workers), unreported spoilage hitches or inferior food quality (leading to lack of continued production). More apparent to administration are direct grievances and government involvement ranging from the local County Sanitarian to FDA to European Union supervisors. Improper sanitation can lead to enhanced rejections of products, lower shelf life, and low earnings and can attract the risk of potential production shutdown. Proper sanitation does not cost, if anything, it pays.

Food processing plants manufacture many products that support and nourish our human societies; nevertheless, they as well offer a captivating medium to support the intensification of potentially injurious microbiological populations. This statement evokes the question of how plant operations tackle the risks of microbiological growth. Through analysis of several food processing environments, it is recommended that much effort should go into structuring sanitation programs that uphold hygienic conditions to defend the health of the proposed food consumers. An efficient sanitizing system is another section of the puzzle in sustaining hygienic surroundings for food processing. Microbiological hazards are not regulated through good cleaning practices only.

A factory’s food safety panel rely on a number of techniques to certify that the general sanitation program attains the required cutback of microbial communities. Cleaning and sanitizing programs are a vital component of each food processing operation.

Cleaning and sanitation programs comprise a number of the following outlined steps. Routine procedures should be executed all through and at the conclusion of food processing on an everyday basis. The Detailed Standard Operating Procedures are the fundamental steps necessary for everyday cleaning of factory apparatus and surfaces. Detailed Standard Operating Procedures should be arranged to explain particular techniques, forms of cleaning, and sanitizing solutions to be applied and the chronology of executing the duties on different types of equipment and surfaces. Documentation should be maintained to confirm that every step has been executed at the right time (Howlett, Bolton & O’Sullivan 2005).

However, some occasional procedures are needed less repeatedly. The intensity and regularity needed for further occasional cleaning and sanitation largely relies on the efficiency of the regular sanitization program. Even with a thorough regular program, food deposits can gather eventually especially in difficult to clean surfaces. As it may be essential to disassemble equipment, occasional cleaning is properly carried out when the food processing plant is not in operation or outside of food service operating hours. Detailed Standard Operating Procedures certification requires to evidently describing the processes to be applied for all equipment. Occasional cleaning and sanitizing observes the same footsteps as the everyday process, with the exception of changes to detergent and disinfectant application. Sanitization program also requires monitoring to make sure the processes are carried out perfectly. Monitoring actions in the sanitization program encompass visual examination, post cleansing to ascertain that any noticeable food deposits have been eliminated, temperature tests for water and chemical solvents (by means of a graduated thermometer or temperature recorder) to ascertain they are in the ranges stipulated in the Standard Operating Procedures. Concentrations of detergents and disinfectants should be as well ascertained to ensure they are in the ranges stipulated in the Standard Operating Procedures and timing gadgets applied to guarantee sufficient contact times are functioning accurately, and the records verified against outlined practices. Verification of the usefulness of the program is necessary on a regular basis and entails straightforward procedures performed internally to more multifaceted screening that may require being outsourced (Kletz & Amyotte 2012). Lastly, the sanitization program should be authenticated to ascertain its effectiveness and conformance to the national legislation standards. Authentication of the efficiency of the program is needed on a periodic basis and can range from easy procedures than can be done internally to more compound examination that may involve external agencies.

Plant Layout and Segregation Requirements

The layout and plan of the food factory should be modified to the hygienic conditions of a particular process, wrapping or storage region. The inside of the factory must be planned in order that the flow of material, staff, air and waste can progress in the right course. As they become integrated into food products, raw materials and components should progress from the ‘filthy’ to the ‘hygienic’ areas. Nevertheless, the course of food waste and abandoned external wrapping materials should be in the reverse direction. Before construction commences, simulation of the current of people, substances, products and waste matter can assist to establish the most suitable place for fixing the process equipment, and the place utility piping should penetrate the process area. Still the simulation of preservation and cleaning processes can be helpful to establish the most suitable plant layout. Graphical computer-aided design programs can aid in the hygienic plan, positioning and course-plotting of procedures, process backups and service systems.

To sustain a probable increase of processing activities inside the food plant in the future, the structure and its food processing support systems should be planned in a way they can either be extended, or another structure can be mounted. Preferably, the factory should as well be made flexible (to have the capacity to adjust the processing area for other processing functions) and adaptable (to have the capacity to perform various activities within the same area).

Segregation of a food processing factory into various restricted zones is also very important. Each of the zones has dissimilar hygienic conditions and restricted access (Worsfold & Griffith 2006). Food processing factories usually contain these controlled zones: high, medium, and low risk food zones.

High Risk Food Zone

High risk food Zone applies to a region where the utmost level of hygiene is needed. A high hygiene area, which, in food production is the comparable of a clean room, must be totally restricted. Zone H is representative for open processing, where even small exposure of product to the air can give rise to a food safety danger. Products and components that are processed and intended for an extremely vulnerable consumer group (for instance infant food) are direct in nature or set for use. They must be kept in a chilled supply chain since they are prone to the development of pathogenic bacteria (Kletz & Amyotte 2012). The aim for high risk food zones is to manage all product contamination risks and to guard the interior of food processing tools from contact to atmosphere. Filtered air should be provided to this region. These zones should be restricted in size, should have an easy equipment design to aid process, cleaning and repairs operations and should have utilities situated outside.

Medium Risk Food Zone

Medium risk food zone is a region in which an average level of hygiene is adequate. It comprises process regions where products are processed that are vulnerable to pollution, but where the user group is not particularly susceptible and where no additional microbial intensification is possible in the product in the supply sequence. In this zone, product may be open to the environment, during sampling and during the opening of equipment to unblock obstacles. The aim for medium risk food zone is to regulate or lessen the formation of harmful sources that can impact a connected area of higher region category. Another intention is the safeguard of the inside of food processing tools from contamination when uncovered to the air.

Low Risk Food Zone

Low risk food zoneis a region in which a basic level of hygienic design conditions is adequate. It comprises regions in which products are processed that are not vulnerable to contamination or that are safeguarded in their final packages. Low risk food zoneis the region outside the buildings within the edge of the plant where the goal is to regulate or reduce dangers made by unofficial personnel access and dangers brought by water, filth, dirt and presence of mammals. Low risk food zonecomprises storehouses that store raw materials and finished processed products, offices, power supply regions, and disused structures. Another objective for a low risk food zonesis to regulate or reduce dangers generated by birds and pests.


 Integration of hygienic surrounding and operations into a food processing plant can avoid growth of bugs and microbiological places, evade product contamination with chemicals and particles, assist cleaning, and safeguard sanitary conditions both during and after processing. Disinfectants play an important function in various areas of the food industry, where their application may be one of the most important aspects in avoiding microbial spoilage and food safety risks in the product. However, if erroneously chosen, sanitizers can be inefficient, or they may result to product contamination, health risks to hygiene operatives, or poisoning to food product users; hence, the counsel of the disinfectant producer (or an additional source of knowledge) should at all times be searched when the appropriateness of the disinfectant is in question. Hygienic food factory layout begins with the choice of a suitable location and the utilization of a hygienic building model that avoids the entry of bugs. The factory design must allow the proper flow of materials, filth, air, and people without compromising food safety and the fitting of hygienic zones that present maximal security to the food processed.

Reference List

Baş, M, Ersun, A & Kıvanç, G 2006, Implementation of HACCP and prerequisite programs in food businesses in Ireland. Food Control, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 118-126.

Boland, A 2011, Hygiene of Foodstuffs, Peacock Publishers, Chicago.

Britain, G 2007, Wholesale distributors: Food Industry Guide to Good Hygiene Practice. The Stationery Office, London.

Cho, M & Yoon, J 2007, The application of bioluminescence assay with culturing for evaluating quantitative disinfection performance, Water research, vol. 41, no. 4, pp. 741-746.

Howlett, B, Bolton, J & O’Sullivan, C 2005, Development of pre-requisite programmes and HACCP principles for Irish beef slaughterhouses, Teagasc, Wexford.

Karaca, H & Velioglu, Y 2007, Ozone applications in fruit and vegetable processing, Food reviews international, vol. 23, no 1, pp. 91-106.

Kletz, A & Amyotte, P 2012, Process plants: A handbook for inherently safer design, CRC Press, Florida.

Melngaile, A 2011, Implementation of Food Safety Legislation in Catering Establishments in Ireland, Journal of Food Science and Engineering, vol. 1, no.5, pp. 11-18.

Payne-Palacio, J & Theis, M 2009, Introduction to foodservice, Prentice Hall, New York.

Penna, C, Mazzola, G & Martins, A 2007, The efficacy of chemical agents in cleaning and disinfection programs, BMC Infectious Diseases, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 16.

Worsfold, D & Griffith, C, 2006, A survey of food hygiene and safety training in the retail and catering industry, Nutrition & Food Science, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 68-79.