The correct design of equipment and facilities is an important aid to thorough cleaning as it
prevents soils and associated micro-organisms from building up and contaminating foods. In
this technical brief some simple principles are described which can be used to check the design
of locally made or imported equipment and the facilities for creating adequate hygienic
standards. Correctly designed, easily cleaned equipment and facilities also promotes better
hygienic standards by operators - people will clean a piece of equipment regularly and properly if
it is not difficult whereas a time-consuming and laborious cleaning procedure is more likely to be
ignored or only partly done.
A food processing unit should not be located near swamps, ditches, refuse dumps or other
places where insects and rodents are likely to be found in large numbers.
The site should allow wastewater to drain away freely and have suitable facilities for removing or
disposing of waste food, peelings etc outside of the site. A supply of clean water is usually
The site itself should be cleared of undergrowth and kept clean of debris and waste food which
would attract rodents. Trees provide useful shade, but also attract birds which are a potential
source of contamination of foods.
A clean uncluttered room gives a good impression to visitors and inspectors and also encourages
good hygiene practices by the workers. Walls and floors should be smooth for easy cleaning and
free of cracks in which liquids and bits of food can collect. The room should ideally have a
ceiling, which prevents dust falling from rafters into the food and helps keep birds and insects
Where possible pipes and cables should be laid together and covered for easy cleaning. High
level pipes are more difficult to clean and collect dust which can fall into the food or equipment.
Window ledges should be sloped for the same reason, and also to prevent people leaving cloths,
bottles etc lying around.
The type of material used in the construction of equipment is an important factor for ease of
cleaning. Wood is used for barrels, vats, bins and sometimes for machine supports when metal
is too expensive. It is also widely used for chopping/cutting boards. However, wood is difficult
to clean properly, particularly when used as chopping boards, as soils collect in cracks and
fissures. If possible, metals and plastic should be used in place of wood, although this will
increase the cost of the equipment. If wood is used, particular attention should be paid to
thorough scrubbing with detergents and sterilants.
Cast iron has similar problems to wood and the above comments apply. Iron rusts easily and not
only becomes difficult to clean, but also risks contamination of food with pieces of rust. It
should be painted if it is used in a processing room but it should never be used in contact with
wet foods and especially not with acidic foods such as fruit products, yoghurt etc. Stainless steel
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