It’s no surprise that safety is one of the most significant concerns for food processing plants. And today, it’s never been as essential to ensure that your food processing plant is safe and clean.
One of the most accessible and most proactive approaches to manufacturing plant safety is the facility’s construction and design. If a food processing plant’s layout isn’t optimized, efficiency and safety are at risk. Having an expert build a processing facility’s plant and implementing an efficient layout can lead to fewer safety hazards and an improved workflow.
How to Optimize Your Food Processing Plant
First, you should research the constantly changing regulations and trends in the food processing industry.
Over the last year, workplace safety standards have changed drastically, and food processing plants have stringent guidelines they must accommodate to maintain safety standards.
Some considerations you must take into account:
- Regulations from governmental entities, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture
- Applicable local and state environmental and building permits
- Ecological safety (food storage and disposal) and local weather conditions
- HVAC system sanitation and odor-controlling functionalities
- Your return on investment
It’s also important to ensure that you’re meeting the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) layout practices for safety and handling requirements.
Next, ask yourself what your personal needs are. Are you planning a completely new facility? Or are you renovating an existing food processing plant? Regardless, your plant layout should minimize the risk of biological, chemical, and physical working hazards.
As soon as you’ve considered the above factors, you can begin the actual pre-design phase. If these steps are skipped in the planning phase, food hygiene issues can lead to significant financial losses and sometimes legal prosecution.
An Optimized Food Processing Plant Layout
To build a food processing plant that increases safety and efficiency, it’s important to:
1. Take measures to reduce the possibility of microbial contamination around food items.
2. Discover which areas in the food production process are most prone to contamination.
3. Establish a plant layout that:
- Minimizes worker traveling and food movement distance
- Enhances production efficiency
- Encompasses an easily accessible waste generation system
4. Determine which areas in your facility call for differing levels of temperature and humidity control.
5. Optimize the lighting in each area of your plant to reduce the risk of physical hazards.
6. Ensure that your facility is resistant to pests.
7. Consider the placement of floor drains and proper ventilation in food processing areas.
8. Group storage spaces for food products that require refrigeration to maximize energy efficiency.
9. Create a list of the equipment in your facility that will require protective surface coatings.
10. Review the standards for cleaning and sanitizing your facility and optimize the layout to decrease the time spent on housekeeping tasks.
Make sure your team also considers where your suppliers will deliver raw ingredients to your facility and where the finished goods will leave your processing plant.
Expert Food Processing Plant Construction with GALBRAITH
If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry. Developing a food processing plant for safety is a task with many moving parts and considerations. The GALBRAITH team is ready to help, spending the last several decades providing the highest-quality food processing facilities for industry-leading manufacturers.
Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new plant, our team is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!
As co-owner of Galbraith/Pre-Design, Inc., Mark Galbraith is responsible for the construction of commercial facilities in nine states. Continuing his family’s tradition of commercial and industrial construction in south central Pennsylvania and beyond, Mark’s experience includes site analysis and selection, pre-construction services, field engineering and project management.