New technology to benefit Australian meat industry

A $4.8 million government grant for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) could have a big impact on the Australian meat industry.

Last week, Acting Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce announced an almost $5 million grant for MLA’s research and development program. The non-profit organisation said they will use the grant to develop new X-ray and 3D digital imaging technology to allow the industry to measure meat yield and identify traits to predict the quality of meat cuts.

According to MLA, three measurement technologies will be developed for use on-farm and within the processing sector to reliably and objectively determine carcase composition and even more accurately determine eating quality. These new technologies will allow processors to precisely value carcases, optimising market-based cutting and de-boning decisions. This information will then help inform producers’ on-farm decision-making and profitability.

“Providing improved carcase composition, eating quality and compliance feedback from ‘paddock to plate’ is vital for a more efficient and market-oriented supply chain …This project will deliver real value to producers, processors and the entire supply chain,” said Norton. 

“The evolution of this new technology represents a significant leap in the application of leading edge science for the industry, bringing us technology more commonly used in medical science.”

Funded through the Rural Research and Development for Profit program, this project will build on the findings of an earlier “insights to innovation” project to identify and capture new export market opportunities.

FC80 Free Chlorine Analyzer

Product Name: FC80 Free Chlorine Analyzer

Product Manufacturer: Electro-Chemical Devices

Launch date: September 2015 (digital version)

Ingredients (as listed on the packaging): FC80 Free Chlorine Analyzer + Instruction Manual

Shelf Life: 1 year

Country of origin: USA

Describe the product: The ECD Model FC80 Free Chlorine analyzer is designed to measure the concentration of Free Chlorine in drinking water, industrial cooling water, rinse water or other samples of fresh water that use chlorine in the range of 0-20 ppm as a disinfectant. Chlorine exists in water as a pH dependent mixture of hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion. The sum of these two components is referred to as Free Chlorine, sometimes Residual Free Chlorine.

The FC80 is a complete system for measuring Free Chlorine. The panel mounted system includes a Constant Head Flow Controller (#1), Free Chlorine sensor (#3) and Flow Cell, pH sensor (#2) and Flow Cell, Spray Cleaner (#5)and the T80 Transmitter (#4). Simply supply power to the T80 Transmitter and plumb the sample line in and the drain line out and the FC80 is ready to use.

The CHFC maintains a constant sample flow to the pH and Chlorine flow cells. Pressure regulators and rotameters are not needed to maintain a constant flow rate, the CHFC provides trouble free sample conditioning between 10 and 80 gal/hr.

The Free Chlorine Sensor (FCS) is an amperometric sensor with a PTFE membrane, gold cathode and a silver/silver chloride anode. 

The T80 analyzer applies a fixed voltage across the chlorine electrode and measures the current flow. Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) diffuses through the PTFE membrane and is reduced (gains electrons) by the gold cathode to chloride ion. Silver on the anode is oxidized (donates electrons) to silver chloride completing the current loop. With stable temperature and sample flow, the current flow is proportional to the free chlorine concentration.

Many competitive chlorine sensors require service on a monthly or bimonthly basis. The FCS uses a large surface area anode, combined with a large volume of electrolyte and a small cathode to provide operational cycles of up to a year without refilling.

The replaceable PTFE membrane is also designed for long term stability. A special support grid maintains a constant tension between membrane and the cathode minimizing effects caused by varying pressures and flow. Replacing the PTFE membrane and recharging the electrolyte is easily accomplished without the use of tools.

The Model T80 transmitter can be 24 VDC powered or 100-240 VAC line powered. The standard configuration has two 4-20 mA outputs, an RS485 serial communication port with MODBUS®RTU and 3 Alarm relays.

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Dr. Oetker takes a healthy slice of the pizza business

Founded in 1891, German food processor Dr. Oetker is cutting up the Australian Ready-to-Cook market with a blend of new pizza taste profiles coupled with their well-kneaded European pedigree. Branko Miletic talks to Dr. Oetker’s Executive Manager Marketing – Pizza, Paula Wyatt, about why this brand of pizza is fast becoming Australia’s favourite slice of pie.

Food Magazine (FM): What are the main differences between your pizzas and other brands in terms of ingredients, preparation and production?

Paula Wyatt (PW): Our main brands of frozen pizza here in Australia – Dr. Oetker Ristorante and Papa Giuseppi’s Bakehouse crust are both pan pressed pizzas, meaning the dough is pressed into pans, proved and baked.  This gives an extremely light crispy texture to the crust and gives the consumer a very consistent product each time. 

(FM): How does the Ready to Cook (RTC) market differ in Australia to Europe?

(PW): There are big differences in the frozen pizza market between Australia and Europe.  For example household penetration of frozen pizza is low in Australia at 47 per cent compared to Europe, which can range between 75-90 per cent.  
There are some significant consumer barriers in Australia to overcome, taste and quality being the main concerns, where consumers have not experienced frozen pizza for many years and remember the lower quality offerings of old.   There is a perception that frozen pizza is poor quality and is just for kids to fill them up.    
In the UK and Canada as two examples frozen pizza takes a 20 per cent and 27 per cent share, respectively, of total pizza consumption (including takeaway, chilled, and restaurants).  The share in Australia is 8 per cent.
There is significant potential to grow the market by attracting new households.  Dr. Oetker Ristorante has been and will continue to be a key driver of unlocking this growth – it has the highest loyalty and weight of purchase of any frozen pizza brand, once trialled, consumers are genuinely delighted with the quality and that it delivers on it’s pizzeria taste promise.  
The target is to bring this to a wider audience and demonstrate to Australian consumers that there is great taste available in frozen pizzas.

(FM): Are there certain flavours / combinations that sell more in Australia than overseas?

(PW): There is a definitely a bias towards meatier toppings in Australia.  BBQ Meatlovers is the best selling topping with Pepperoni and Supreme also performing well.  Again this is one of the ways that Ristorante offers something different to the market.  Our range of nine varieties is the widest of any frozen pizza brand where Mozzarella (slices of mozzarella, tomato and garnished with pesto), Spinaci (spinach garnished with garlic cream sauce), Funghi (sliced mushrooms with garlic sauce), Bolognese and Prosciutto sit with the more traditional Pepperoni and Hawaiian.

(FM): How much of the market do you currently have here and in Europe?

(PW): Dr. Oetker’s share of the frozen pizza market in Australia is 28 per cent inside the 5 years since launch.   This is second to McCain, who command 58 per cent share. (source: Nielsen Scan 52w/e 6/9/15).  The overall market is worth $AUD167.5m.    Market share varies in each country, by way of example in the UK it’s 40 per cent, in Germany it’s 37 per cent, in Spain it’s 30 per cent, and in Canada it’s 42 per cent.

(FM): You make meat-based pizzas here but import the non-meat ones from OS— are there benefits for this and are you planning to produce all your pizza’s here?

(PW): This remains a legacy of how we entered the market in Australia where vegetarian varieties were imported to “test” and establish the market before local production of meat based varieties started.   
At the moment we plan to continue to import these varieties, we often find our vegetarian flavours are more complex and contain more specific ingredients, it can be difficult to source the right ingredients locally to produce these efficiently at the quality we demand.  
We continue to work on this, as you can imagine it’s a long way to import these goods, adding some complexity to our supply chain.

(FM): Are you looking to diversify your range/offering in Australia and if so, to what products?

(PW): Our plan is to launch new concepts to help attract new consumers and grow the market here in Australia. 
We have a wide portfolio globally and expertise we can draw on – however it’s really important to bring concepts that appeal to Australian consumers, have the right taste profile and effectively target and convert these new consumers for future growth.  Therefore we invest heavily in consumer research to understand potential gaps and how best to fill these with the right concepts for this market.  
The market here is underdeveloped and a number of key areas are our focus for growth – for example crust styles, occasions (snacks, main meal, sharing), topping trends etc.

Silliker acquires MicroLabs

Silliker Australia, the Australian subsidiary of Mérieux Nutrisciences Corporation, has acquired DMG MicroLabs, an independent food testing laboratory in Brisbane.

Founded in 2003, by Mark Dawson and Bill Greene, DMG MicroLabs is a NATA (National Association of Testing Authorities, Australia) accredited microbiological service provider, offering testing in food, water and in-door air quality, but also chemical testing, consulting and training services.

In order to cope with the fast growth and the extension of scope of services delivered in its Brisbane laboratory, DMG MicroLabs activities have concomitantly been transferred to a new laboratory located in Eagle Farm, Brisbane.

This new laboratory allows Silliker Australia to take advantage of a fast growing region for microbiology and chemistry testing, but also to start offering fresh milk testing services, complementary to the milk testing laboratory located in its Blackburn (Victoria) laboratory.

“Already in Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia, it was key for Silliker Australia to have a laboratory in Queensland. This complementary location allows us to better cover the Australian market and thus to better serve our customers by being closer to them” said Philippe Sans, President and CEO of Mérieux NutriSciences.

“We have decided to rapidly move the existing DMG MicroLabs laboratory to a brand new facility as of December 2014 which will allow us to expand our range of service and additionally deliver fresh milk testing services thanks to a brand new specialised laboratory that will commence operations in February 2015” added Daryl Bird, Managing Director of Silliker Australia."


S-26 formula given all-clear

A batch of S-26 baby formula has been given the all-clear after a Sydney woman discovered a dead lizard in her tin.

Aspen Nutritionals has received the test results for a batch of S-26 Original Progress baby formula, with a report from the manufacturing plant stating that the batch is “wholesome and passed all chemical, physical, microbiological (including pathogens) and sensory specifications at the time it was released into the market,” a statement from Aspen reads.

The product, it confirms, is safe for consumption.

A Sydney woman discovered a dead lizard in her tin of S-26 earlier this month, and the NSW Food Authority has confirmed that a herpetologist (expert in reptiles) identified the lizard as a common house gecko, which can be found throughout Asia and also in Australia.

“Aspen Nutritionals cannot determine conclusively how and where the lizard entered the can. We have only received one complaint of this nature for this batch and believe this is an isolated incident,” the statement reads.

The batch of formula was voluntarily recalled after the lizard was discovered.


What’s the best production line for your food business?

There are a few key factors to consider when upgrading or investing in a new production line. Heat and Control has some pointers to help you get started.

Choosing the right kit is only half the story. It is not simply a question of buying the most suitable weighing equipment, or distribution system. Yes, speed, accuracy and reliability are vital, but you also need to choose a supplier with a service and support team that understands your wants and needs, and provides the right solution if ever a problem occurs.

Every food and beverage retailer is looking for something a little bit different in their product range, be it a different type of snack, flavour or pack presentation, so manufacturers need to be able to customise their products and deliver exact requirements to their customers.

These days, weighing and packaging systems have become compact with a smaller footprint compared to previous single multihead weighers and bagmakers. As an example, they are able to deliver around 130 bags per minute for chips and as much as 220 bags per minute for extruded snacks, on small target weights. This is compared to the 80 or 90 bags delivered by equipment of the past, with modern day technologies helping to achieve accuracy within one percent of the target weight.

Factors that you should consider when looking to upgrade, or looking at investing in a new distribution line, include:

  • Consideration for system layouts with a view to future requirements
  • Provision for accumulation and feed modulation
  • Methods to divert product, sanitation, operator safety, cross-contamination, sustainability and product quality control.

While price, delivery and other commercial considerations are important, technical performance should certainly be the primary factor when evaluating which production line is best for your business. 

Conveying (product delivery) has become an integral part of controlling the feed to the weighing and packing stations of any food product, and has become more sophisticated than simply moving product from point A to point B.

When selecting a distribution system a processor needs to ask‘do I need a vibratory conveyor or a horizontal motion conveyor for my line? 

Vibratory conveyors come in two drive types, electromagnetic drives, which produce variable speed movements with short amplitude (lift) and high frequency (speed). Electromagnetic drives are best suited for lightweight, easy flowing products, and for conveying limited bed depths, spreading product, and fines removal. The other is a more aggressive, mechanical vibratory drive.

While vibratory conveying systems are very useful for breaking up product and keeping it separate, the constant bounce and impact of product on the pan is aggressive and can often reduce the quality of the finished product. Vibration can cause micro-cracks in some products, making them more susceptible to breakage later in the packaging or delivery process.

Additionally, there is often coating build-up on a vibratory conveyor pan but not on horizontal motion conveyor systems.

Rather than bouncing the product, horizontal motion conveyors slide the product along the pan. This has become the preferred means of conveying fragile and coated foods such as snacks, fresh produce and frozen prepared foods. The horizontal motion virtually eliminates product breakage and cracking and does not shake off coatings, breading or seasoning. At the same time as being gentle on the product, an added advantage is that seasoning, oil and other coatings do not build up in the pan, which in turn increases downtime for cleaning. 

Horizontal motion conveyors are available with direct and inertia drives. The horizontal motion allows gentle short term product accumulation, whilst uphill horizontal motion conveying reduces product damage in return loops.

While sliding product prevents breakage, coating loss and noise, it also has some limitations that become evident in horizontal motion conveyors:

  • Product spreading can only be achieved with specially shaped pans
  • Product travel rates are slower than aggressive mechanical drive vibratory conveyors, but may be faster than high frequency electromagnetic drive designs
  • Uphill conveying is usually limited to about 1.5 degrees, although in some special cases, it is possible to convey product up to eight degrees
  • Does not level piles of product without pan modifications
  • Difficulty conveying limp or sticky products

Direct drives use long strokes, producing travel rates up to (12.5 m/min). In addition to greater throughput/pan size, direct drives can also stop and start instantly, offer modular expandability, provide fast travel rates to reduce stale product complaints and improve the efficiency of seasoning applicators, weighers, bagmakers, and overall packaging room performance.

(Inertia drives generally deliver slower product travel rates, have delayed stop and start operation, and do not work well in modular and packaging feed applications).

Selecting the proper type of direct drive will greatly reduce maintenance and energy usage, as well as improving safety and packaging feed efficiency.

Weighing and packing
Tasks usually performed by manual labour, involving sorting, counting, weighing, bagging and case packing can be replaced with consistent, accurate and high-speed systems, drastically reducing operational costs while increasing output and productivity.

Modern weighing technology brings with it higher speed and more accurate weighments, increasing product yield, which in turn relates to less “giveaway” per bag. Computer combination weighers deliver the performance processors needed to meet high production requirements for their products.

Modern stainless steel weighers provide more sanitary weighing systems, while new surface profiles and coatings virtually eliminate product sticking. High-amplitude feeder drives provide powerful control of product flow, while Pulse Width Modulation systems automatically tune dispersion and radial feeder drives for maximum operating efficiency.

Technological advances have resulted in further increases for packer profit with higher production rates, reduced product giveaway, and lower cleaning and maintenance costs. We can summarise the developments in weighing technology as follows:

  • Speeds up to 15 percent faster than earlier models
  • Control unit with Windows XP operating system and e-mail capabilities
  • Capability for full integration and monitoring of other equipment on the line through single panel operator interface
  • USB camera for real-time monitoring of product conditions on the dispersion and radial feeders
  • Automatic timing settings that optimise productivity and reduce operator inputs
  • Reduced energy consumption
  • Quick and easy set-ups and product changeovers

Finally, when designing/engineering your plant layout, packaging platforms also need to be taken into consideration. Modular packaging room platforms reduce installation and cleaning costs in meat and poultry, plants and sanitary production environments. 

Packaging platforms need to provide a safe, stable support for product distribution and inspection conveyors, weighers, control panels and other equipment. Lightweight structural members could cause vibrations that are not easily detectable but can translate into errors on the load cells of computer weighers.

The end result will be weight fluctuations that can cause weighing errors, reducing productivity and efficiency. Structural members need to be located correctly to eliminate flat surfaces where debris can accumulate.

Conveyors can also be elevated above the non-slip decking to facilitate cleaning. Another feature to consider is open frameworks that take minimal floorspace, and allow complete access to bagmakers, cartoners and other ground-level equipment.

Platforms are normally custom-configured for each installation and can include wash racks for weigher hoppers, plumbing and pre-wiring for single point connection to utilities, lighting, hose storage, catwalks, stairways, safety railing, floor drains and other features.  

Before you buy, consider testing your products. Some suppliers have equipment set up and ready for customer testing to help prove capabilities such as gentle handling, conveying uphill, or moving large quantities of product, as well as weighing and packaging demo centres. If this service is available, making use of it can be of value in the decision making process. During a product test or demo, you can also get firsthand experience with other features such as operator interface, ease of use, and possibly sanitation.

When choosing a supplier, as with any equipment purchase, the buyer is not just purchasing a piece of equipment but also entering into a long term relationship with the vendor. Choose a reliable supplier that understands your industry and offers up-front assistance with such things as system layout, sanitation procedures and avoidance of cross-contamination. Be sure that you are comfortable with the vendor's ongoing assistance such as warranty, training, spare parts and technical support capabilities. Price should not be the only consideration; choosing the wrong partner can cost you much more than you’d save by investing in a sub-standard supplier.

Robert Marguccio is business manager – packaging and inspection systems at Heat and Control, which manufactures food processing and packaging equipment systems. Contact them at or visit

Fast-track to accurate checkweighing

A new checkweigher from A&D Australasia will allow smaller operators to upgrade their production line to cater for increasing demand. Isaac Leung writes.

With a new consumer focus on organic and fresh foods and exotic ingredients, supermarkets are increasingly turning to small-to-medium sized Australian food manufacturers for their products.

While these contracts are lucrative, they also increase the demands on the manufacturers’ processes, necessitating faster production while still maintaining accurate portioning.

Accurate weighing of products is critical: it ensures manufacturers are not giving away too much of their product, and at the same time, are not short-changing their customers, which can lead to loss of contracts and fines.

According to Tom Armstrong, managing director of A&D Australasia, many smaller players in the industry tend to start by having operators manually sort product into packaging, and using static scales to weigh units individually.

However, this labour-intensive process can be costly, and slow. The obvious next step when scaling up operations would be to transition to an automatic process line and checkweigher system.

Fast and accurate
Checkweighers weigh products that are moving on a conveyor belt at very high speeds. A&D’s latest checkweigher, to be launched at AUSPACK PLUS 2013, for example, can weigh up to 200 0.5kg products per minute at a 0.1g resolution.

But with the speed of the checkweighers also comes issues with noise and vibration. These can obscure the actual weight of the package.

“As the package goes across the checkweighers, all sorts of variables are fed back to the indicator: the belt moving, the shaking, wind et cetera,” Armstrong explained.

An alternative approach
While competing checkweighers on the market tend towards preventing these variables by engineering very rigid and expensive mechanical structures, and dampening the loadcell, A&D’s approach uses the Japanese company’s expertise in analogue to digital conversion and digital signal processing (DSP) to quickly and accurately filter out the variables.

“For the last ten years, A&D has focused on digital signal processing, which is essentially looking at the variables coming from something under test, monitoring and measuring and simulating scenarios based on that information,” Armstrong said.

Previously, this DSP capability was used for testing and simulating automotive engines in Japan, but its application to the checkweigher means the electronics within the unit can “see” the process in slow motion, successfully isolating the actual weight of the package in under one-third of a second, as it speeds through on a conveyor belt at 120m a minute.

The flat pack advantage
Armstrong says the relaxed mechanical requirements of the A&D checkweigher poses many advantages to food manufacturers.

With an entry level price, small-to-medium sized food manufacturers can quickly upgrade to an automated production line without a massive initial outlay, but Armstrong says the specifications of the product will appeal to larger manufacturers as well.

Delivery, installation and maintenance are also made easier and cheaper.

“With conventional, rigid checkweighers, they come in big crates, and expensive technicians are needed for installation,” Armstrong said. “Our technology allows A&D to deliver it flat-packed, to be assembled on-site.”

“It’s all about reducing costs to the customer. Rather than have to have specialists travel out, with a big crate, this checkweigher can go in the back of someone’s car, and one of our retail partners can go out and do the installation.”

According to A&D Australasia, its sister company A&D TechEng can also help during installation if integration of the checkweigher with a PLC/SCADA system is needed. A&D TechEng is an approved Siemens Solution Partner and Rockwell Recognised System Integrator.

The checkweigher is designed to require minimal maintenance, and can be serviced by local weighing service companies without requiring special service tools or equipment, making it cost effective to run in the long term.

Australia will be the first country to get the new A&D checkweigher, when it is launched at stand 200 at AUSPACK PLUS 2013.


Food contamination – a weighty issue

Looking out for certain features of weighing equipment can help food manufacturers maximise their return on investment, and minimise the risk of contamination. Isaac Leung writes.

Food contamination can occur via any number of vectors, so constant vigilance is required during every step of the food supply chain.

One oft-overlooked source of food contamination is weighing equipment, a fundamental part of portioning in food processing.

Current international standards which govern hygiene in relation to weighing equipment in the food industry include the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group (EHEDG) guidelines, BRC Global Food Standard, SQF program, ISO 22000, and the NSF 3-A/ANSI 14159-1 standard.

Locally, the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code relating to Food Premises and Equipment stipulates that equipment needs to be designed, constructed, located and installed to ensure there is no likelihood they will cause food contamination, and can be easily and effectively cleaned.

In the case of food contact surfaces, for example, where a scale has foodstuff set on it during the portioning process, the rules are even stricter: in addition to the above, they need to be able to be sanitised, and be unable to absorb grease, food particles and water, and made of material which will not contaminate food.

Similar requirements can be found in the policies of food retailers. For example, Woolworths’ Quality Assurance Standard pertaining to Manufactured Foods require well-documented procedures for the microbiological and chemical cleaning of processing and handling equipment. These cleaning procedures are backed up by visual inspection, residue testing, and quarterly microbiological swabbing of surfaces and equipment.

Woolworths also requires planned preventative maintenance programs which include clean in place (CIP) operations utilising documented chemicals, hot water and energy like scrubbing or high pressure hosing.

According to Phil Hyland, project manager at Mettler Toledo, the last three to four years have seen a tightening of hygiene controls as a number of high-profile food contamination cases have emerged globally.

Weighing equipment manufacturers have kept an eye on these stringent demands, and designed their equipment to be correspondingly easier to clean, with less food traps and areas which could become sources of cross-contamination.

By virtue of their function, weighing equipment consists of a mix of direct food contact surfaces and non-contact surfaces.

On a scale, non-product contact surfaces can include the terminal, housing, and feet, but these can cause indirect contamination. Depending on the type of food being weighed, the feet of scales can also be in direct food contact.

Contact surfaces are defined as surfaces in direct contact with food residue, or where food residue can drip, drain, diffuse or be drawn. The scale platform is the most obvious direct food contact surface.

These surfaces need to be smooth, non-porous, non-absorbent, impervious; free of cracks, crevices, pitting, flaking, and chipping; corrosion-resistant; durable and maintenance-free; non-toxic, non-contaminant; cleanable and non-reactive.

The standard material for contact surfaces is stainless steel, which is corrosion-resistant and durable. 316 steel is preferred, while 304 stainless steel is also adequate.

To attain the requisite hygiene ratings, the surface needs to be polished to a smoothness of 0.8 micron or better. Rougher surfaces prevent effective cleaning as microorganisms become trapped in the surface, becoming a bacteria trap.

Of course, cleanability can also be dependent on the finishing technology, which can affect the surface topology.

Where other materials are used, plastics should be food grade, and smooth ceramics is also a common material.

According to Hyland, the common approach to use silicon-based potting material to protect sensitive parts of weighing equipment, such as the load cell, is insufficient for food-grade equipment. Certain cleaning products can shorten the life of silicon potting materials. A better approach is to protect the load cell with a welded, IP69 rated seal.

Designed for cleaning
The ability for equipment to handle heavy washdowns is one of the things which differentiates food-grade industrial weighing systems from, say, a kitchen scale. But Hyland says customers who only focus on the washdown capabilities of equipment may be overlooking other important factors.

“They often haven’t looked at the ability to clean the equipment properly, such as ensuring there are no food traps,” Hyland explained. “The converse applies: you could have a machine which is open and able to be washed down but the equipment eventually suffers from the cleaning.”

“We’re looking for something that can be cleaned to a satisfactory standard and yet be able to withstand that process.”

Equipment which is poorly designed may require more severe and prolonged cleaning. Aggressive chemicals and longer clean/decontamination cycles increase maintenance cost and downtime, and in the long run, can reduce the life of the product.

To avoid food traps, equipment should not have sharp corners and crevices, and mated surfaces should be continuous and substantially flush. Construction should allow easy disassemble for cleaning and inspection.

Internal angles should be rounded to standards-specified radii. Most standards specify the avoidance of sharp corners, less than 90 degrees.

Particular features which allow for easy cleaning include full stainless steel construction, smooth surfaces, continuously welded and completely closed columns with no disturbing cables, and ingress protection of IP68 or IP69K.

“IP69K sealing gives our food industry equipment very good protection against hot, high-pressure hosing,” Hyland said. “When you are in a meat room or a food processing area, the temperature often changes. If a freezer comes on, for example, you can have a large change in air temperature.”

To combat condensation within equipment due to temperature changes, the machines should be well-sealed, and properly vented.

“Food equipment in high-condensation areas will have Gore-Tex vents, which allow a balance of air pressure, so it doesn’t try to suck in moist air, but also does not allow moisture in through the vent,” Hyland explained.

Holistic approach
While the design of equipment is an important aspect of food safety, food safety auditors say many manufacturers often spend millions of dollars on equipment, only to find themselves out of step with their core customers’ requirements.

Standards like the Woolworths Quality Assurance Standards and the Coles Housebrand Supplier Program specify a comprehensive set of requirements, which relate to factors beyond equipment design like equipment placement, calibration, cleaning, interfaces with other equipment, and data retrieval and analysis.

By having a good understanding of all aspects of these requirements, in addition to equipment design, food manufacturers can minimise the risk of contamination, and ensure they are compliant with relevant standards.