This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.6 Equipment
BRCGS Packaging Issue 64.6 Equipment
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3
Not applicable
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 46.1 Equipment
FSSC22000 Version 5.1ISO 22000:2018 7.1.3 Infrastructure
IFS Food Version 74.17 Equipment
SQF Edition 911.1.7.4 Product contact materials
11.1.7.5 Hygienic design and location

It’s essential that equipment is designed, positioned and commissioned so that it doesn’t pose a risk to the product and to ensure that it processes the product consistently.

Equipment design

All equipment in product handling areas must be clean, maintained and capable of processing product consistently.

The materials that are used to make up the equipment must be appropriate for the use and for use with food.

The equipment must not pose a risk to the product, so should include things like extraction if diesel powered.

Equipment positioning

The positioning of equipment in product handling areas, must:

  • Not pose a risk to the product.
  • Be placed so it’s accessible for maintenance.
  • Be sealed to the floor to prevent debris from building up in gaps.
Maintenance eDocs

Product contact equipment

Equipment which is in direct contact with food or food contact packaging must be suitable for food contact use and meet legal requirements. The purpose of this is to ensure that any chemicals in the materials which are used to manufacture product contact equipment, doesn’t migrate into the product, therefore contaminating food.

New equipment must be purchased with a certificate of conformity or specification demonstrating that its food contact materials, are suitable for food use.

Where older equipment is in use where certificates of conformity or specifications for the equipment aren’t available, a risk assessment must be created.  The risk assessment must determine if the equipment is safe for use with food or food contact packaging. And if there are any controls that are required, to verify that it continues to be safe to use.

So, to comply here, you’ll need to generate a list with engineering, of all the direct food contact materials as a minimum – such as food contact conveyors, seals, filters etc. Don’t forget all of your tools, such as scoops or scrapers.

For each material, you’ll then need to gather evidence to show that the material is suitable for food use. The best way to prove that they comply, is to ensure that the specification for the materials state that they meet the requirements of local legislation:

  • UK and Europe the Regulation 1935/2004 – The Materials and Articles in Contact with Food.
  • America is the FDA’s 21 CFR: Packaging & Food Contact Substances regulations.

Just so you know, where you’re using stainless steel – make sure that it’s either 304 or 316 grade, as these are suitable for food use.

New equipment

Where new equipment is to be purchased, an equipment specification must be generated which details:

  • Operational requirements.
  • Design.
  • The materials.
  • Cleaning and maintenance requirements.
  • Process control checks.
  • Commissioning and factory acceptance testing.

Commissioning

New equipment must be commissioned prior to use, including processing, cleaning and maintenance trials. Commissioning trials must be documented.

Commissioning is when new equipment is first brought into use. It involves processing trials to get the equipment set up, so that it’s working correctly. And then product trials to check that it can process the product to the required specification consistently.

Where equipment is to replace current equipment, the commissioning must be managed following the change management procedure.

Maintenance eDocs

Have your say…

2 thoughts on “Equipment and product contact materials

  1. An important point is be careful where you buy production machinery. Very little now comes from the UK and most cheaper and E Bay etc ones from the far East and China. Ensure that what you buy has a strong UK spares support behind it so that routine maintenance and repair can be carried out . If you buy with a return to base warranty – BEWARE. The supplier may not have their own support service and may only order replacement parts on receipt of the equipment for repair. If not held in stock they will becoming from the manufacturers country. Even some of the really well known large suppliers with glossy catalogues can be in this position.

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