Here at Klipspringer HQ, we’re still celebrating the enormous success of the Food Safety Innovation Conference 2023, with over 150 industry professionals joining us at the University of Lincoln on Tuesday 5th September.

One of our highlights from the day had to be the fantastic talk delivered by Katie Satterthwaite. As the Factory Standards Manager for Marks and Spencer, Katie was the perfect person to address the topic of Hygienic Design. 

Her presentation covered everything from the importance of innovation and the best way to maintain hygiene levels across your site to the new GFSI Scopes and the ways in which they have been incorporated into audit standards such as the BRCGS. 

© Phil Crow

You can scroll down to read our full account of Katie’s talk. Alternatively, you can navigate the menu below to skip straight to the section most relevant to your needs.

What is Hygienic Design? 

If a piece of equipment has been hygienically designed, it will be: 

  • Quick and easy to dismantle 
  • Suited to regular cleaning 
  • Fit for purpose 
  • Free from trap points and harbourages 

Hygienic design supports consistent, effective cleaning. It also plays a huge part in the management of allergen control, operational efficiency, quality assurance, and dietary preferences.  

Why would you want equipment that isn’t easy to dismantle, clean, and inspect? Setting ourselves up for success with the right equipment is absolutely the right thing to do. It’s what a mature food business should be doing.”

– Katie Satterthwaite, Factory Standards Manager for Marks and Spencer

Why do we need innovation in Hygienic Design?

Across the globe, there are six hundred million cases of foodborne disease each year, with 420,000 deaths. Although not all of these cases are linked to manufacturing, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that around six percent are caused by the contamination of an environment or piece of equipment. This means that over 25,000 deaths are the direct result of poor cleaning and cross contamination. As a food industry we have a collective responsibility to reduce these numbers. 

What are GFSI Scopes JI and JII?

Scope JI

Relates to the hygienic design of food buildings and processing equipment. It is directed towards building constructors and equipment manufacturers. 

Key points from this scope include: 

Buildings and equipment shall be of a cleanable design, to meet all cleaning objectives. 

The hygienic design and suitability of buildings and equipment shall be evaluated throughout their life cycle from the design concept, through construction, purchasing and during use. 

A purchasing procedure should ensure all inputs to the process, including externally purchased materials and services, conform to specified requirements as well as regulatory requirements. 

– A Hygienic Design Management System shall be established, implemented, maintained and continuously improved. 

– A review process of the specified requirements or specifications shall be in place. 

Scope JII

Relates to the hygienic design of food buildings and processing equipment. It is directed towards the users of these buildings and equipment. 

Key points from this scope include: 

The intended use of the building/equipment shall be described, as a specification for the intended purchase of new buildings and equipment 

Change control shall be undertaken and documented to evaluate the impacts of any changes/ modifications on equipment/building hygienic design. 

Hygienic design principles shall be adopted to ensure the maintenance of the hygienic performance of the buildings/equipment, appropriate for their intended use. 

Employees and contractors shall be trained in hygienic design principles appropriate to their tasks and to the hygienic design requirements of the building or equipment for its intended use. 

 

To read these specifications in full and to access your copy of Version 2020, follow the link below, download Benchmarking Requirements for CPOs Version 2020.1, then jump to Scopes JI and JII.  

How do you identify and maintain Hygienic Design?

When it comes to identifying and maintaining Hygienic Design across your site, there are seven factors to consider.

Design – When you are evaluating the design of a piece of equipment, it’s important that you think closely about what it is going to be used for. Along with budget, sustainability, and problem-solving, you also need to keep user requirements at the forefront of your mind.  

Build – This step is the responsibility of your original equipment manufacturer. They need to make sure they are following your specifications at every stage of the building process and that you are getting exactly what you paid for.

Validation – Once the build is complete, it then becomes your responsibility to validate the equipment you receive – making sure your specifications have been met and are reflective of the latest guidelines and requirements. 

Installation – Even equipment that boasts a hygienic design can be compromised if it is installed incorrectly. Your equipment needs to be used in the way in which it was intended. It also needs to be easily accessible so that it can be cleaned on a regular basis.  

Factory Validation – Cleaning Validations and Process Validations will help you to ensure everything in your factory is working as it should be.  

Operate and Maintain – There is no point investing in kit that has been hygienically designed only for your workforce to make troubling alterations such as adding guards where they shouldn’t be or even removing essential parts of the equipment. Even if this doesn’t take place, all equipment needs to be cleaned on a regular basis.  

Change Control – Any amends throughout the lifespan of your equipment need to be carefully considered and well documented. Similarly, when you are introducing any new equipment to your site, you will need to update the rest of your processes to ensure everything is in sync.  

The role of BRCGS

Although Scopes I and II are currently optional, certain aspects have already been incorporated into audit standards, with BRCGS leading the way. The requirements present in Issue 9 of the BRCGS Global Food Safety Standard currently only apply to new additions to a factory, but there is always the possibility of them being extended to cover legacy equipment.  

In section 4.6 of Issue 9, the BRCGS states that “all production and product-handling equipment shall be suitable for the intended purpose and shall be used to minimise the risk of contamination of product.”  

Clause 4.6.1 asks for a documented purchase specification for any new equipment and suggests that, depending on the intended use of any new equipment, it may require authorisation from a multi-disciplinary team, along with evidence from the supplier that it meets the necessary site requirements.  

Clause 4.6.2 states that “equipment that is in direct contact with food shall be suitable for food contact and meet legal requirements where applicable.” The design and construction of this equipment must also be based on the risk of foreign-body, microbiological, or allergen contamination. 

Clause 4.6.3 asks for:

  • A documented, risk-based commissioning procedure to be in place. 
  • A documented hygiene clearance procedure to follow all installation work. 
  • New equipment to be inspected by an authorised member of staff before being used. 
  • The commissioning procedure to include the update of any other site procedures that are impacted by the new equipment.  
  • Equipment to be designed and placed so that it can be effectively cleaned and maintained.

For more information on Issue 9 and to download a copy of the release, follow the link below. 

Katie’s Top Tips for Hygienic Design

1. Remember the old saying: “buy cheap, buy twice”  

Formalise the procurement process to make sure you’re not just opting for the cheapest equipment. This will save you money in the long run. Instead of risking expensive product recalls, having to replace broken equipment, and losing funds to wasted time and labour, you and your factory will be set up for success.  

2. Raise the profile of hygienic design 

You need to make sure you have documented user requirements based on hygienic design principles. It’s important to raise the profile of hygienic design wherever possible, encouraging team members at every level to understand the thought process and requirements behind the equipment at your site.  

3. Don’t forget to verify! 

When it comes to the installation of your equipment, it is important that you pay close attention to the verification of its quality and build. You should be working closely with your OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to ensure hygienic design is at the front and centre of everything you do. 

4. Enhance change control 

One of the most important aspects of becoming a factory that prioritises hygienic design is ensuring everyone is aware of the changes being implemented. Your documentation and cleaning schedules should also reflect any new considerations.   

The Food Safety Conference 2024

If you have enjoyed Katie’s talk and would love to be there in person for the Food Safety Innovation Conference 2024, you can reserve your place today and even access an early-bird discount. 

If you are inspired to embrace the benefits of hygienic design, the Klipspringer team would love to guide you through our wide selection of high quality products. Simply enter your details below for a free consultation.