By Julie Ackerman, PMMI

Today’s tightening food safety standards are driving innovation in manufacturing equipment to promote sanitation, but in the competitive dairy industry, plant managers and CEOs must focus on innovations that can achieve multiple operational needs. Fortunately, many technologies that enhance food safety also have a positive impact on the efficiency and productivity of dairy operations.

Food Safety through Machine Design

Packaging and processing machine designs share many of the same features — from applications for fluid milk, margarine, cheese, butter, ice cream, yogurt and more. New machinery is being designed with fewer crevices to prevent debris and streamline the cleaning process.

Mechanical components are also being manufactured with ease-of-use in mind to better assist engineers to complete tasks quicker, while still adhering to food safety standards. New tool-less components, such as versatile frame sections, are able to swing up or open, make cleaning simpler and more efficient, while reducing the risk of lost parts on the production floor.

Improvements in CIP

It’s no secret that clean-in-place (CIP) technologies are an important component in dairy food safety. These systems help speed up the sanitation process by controlling the flow of cleaning solutions, boosting productivity and equipment reliability while reducing the need for manual labor.

New and innovative CIP technologies offer a wide range of benefits including the reduction of operation time needed to open a component like a pump. This mitigates exposure to external contamination and ensures product integrity, while enhancing efficiency.

Partnerships and packaging in dairy food-and-beverage processing

Safe, retail-ready packages also play a role in dairy food safety. High-speed packers are positively impacting the industry through the use of food-grade robotics made specifically for dairy environments and by promoting rapid-changeover during plant operations.

In addition to machinery and technological advancements, dairy manufacturers are looking to their supply partners and the industry itself for guidance on food safety standards. Maintaining strong, open relationships with suppliers from the advent of a project will help increase efficiency, while simultaneously meeting the industry’s strict regulatory measures.

Dairy manufacturers learned more about the latest trends in food safety and dairy sanitation at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013. With features such as BNP Media’s Food Safety Summit Resource Center, attendees can learn from subject matter experts (SMEs) who can speak to the regulations and implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) as well as other important food safety issues in the industry.

PMMI is a trade association representing 600+ packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers.