Premier Food Safety and Hygiene: Best Practices for Food Production Lines

Choosing to automate some or all of your pizza, meal, or bakery production line is the perfect step towards achieving higher productivity, lower overhead costs, and improved meal products. However, automation brings another benefit to a prepared meal production line – premier food safety.

With all the ways that automation transforms the frozen food manufacturing process, food safety is another benefit, and one that’s certainly worth exploring. Premier food safety and proper food production line hygiene are critical for creating products that are safe for consumers. Compromised food safety can lead to customer injuries and fatalities, as well as downtime and recalls. So, it’s important to implement production line hygiene best practices, which include automation.

In this article, we’ll explore common food safety concerns that face the frozen food manufacturing process. We’ll also describe some food safety best practices by using automation in pizza production as an example. Lastly, we’ll go in-depth into assembly line hygiene while focusing on the automatic application of frozen pizza ingredients. Premier food safety is of the utmost importance – so let’s get started!

Frozen Food Manufacturing Process and Safety Concerns

Of course, a more productive frozen food manufacturing process and consistent products mean very little when products aren’t safe for consumption. It’s important to understand food safety concerns to improve hygiene practices during the frozen food manufacturing process. Automation improves efficiency, and your company can utilize automated equipment to implement food safety best practices. Here are some common food safety concerns and how automation addresses them.

Pathogen Contamination

A big concern in food safety is pathogen contamination, especially transmitted from employees. If an employee doesn’t wash their hands or doesn’t wear the proper protective equipment and they’re sick, they can easily transmit a food-borne pathogen onto ingredients and products. As a result, customers can get sick by ingesting the contaminated food. An easy way to prevent this from happening is to rely on automated equipment for the frozen food manufacturing process. The fewer employees that handle ingredients, products, and equipment, the less likely they are to pass on a pathogen to the food. Automation requires minimal staffing; it slices and applies ingredients so human employees don’t have to.

Machine Cleanliness

Another serious concern of food safety is machine cleanliness. As more and more food manufacturers are automating, they’re incorporating more equipment into their production lines. This means more machines to keep clean. The build-up of bacteria can compromise the safety of the food. Proper cleaning and sanitation can reduce bacteria on equipment surfaces. That’s why it’s important to use equipment that’s very easy to clean so it stays clean. At Quantum, our automated equipment is very simple to clean and maintain in-house so that your team can prevent build-up while limiting maintenance downtime.

Ingredient and Product Expiry

The last common food safety concern that we’ll explore is ingredient and whole product expiry. In a food production process, ingredients can go bad before they’re even applied to a product, and a product can expire due to insufficiencies in the freezing and transportation process. As a result, the product is unsafe for consumption. However, automated food equipment can provide premier food safety by working fast to avoid food expiration. Automated assembly lines from Quantum can produce hundreds to thousands of products a day, which keeps the ingredients and assembled meals moving to the next step. Ingredients aren’t sitting in their applicators, and the meals aren’t lagging through the assembly process. Plus, water spray conveyors help keep the assembled meal intact during freezing, transportation, and shelf life. These aspects of automation help maintain the freshness of ingredients and assembled meals.

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the most common food safety concerns and how automated food equipment can solve these issues, let’s look at some best practices to employ in automated pizza production. 

Automated Pizza Production: Food Safety Best Practices

Using automated pizza production as an example, below are a couple of food safety best practices for the frozen meals industry. Employing food safety best practices ensures that your company is creating the best products possible, ready for customers to enjoy. 

Optimize Your Pizza Production Line

The first food safety best practice we’ll explore is optimizing your pizza production line. What does optimization have to do with premier food safety, you ask? Strategizing the order of assembly for your brand not only saves time and resources, it also keeps ingredients moving along the line. High throughput ensures that ingredients are fresh as they’re applied to the pizza, which is important for the quality of the overall product. Constant mistakes in an assembly line can cause downtime, which leads to ingredients sitting in their applicators and assembled products that aren’t as fresh. 

Schedule Preventative Maintenance and Sanitation 

While regularly checking on the status of automated equipment might seem like a chore, it’s necessary to keep it running the best it can. Relying on easy-to-clean machines like those found at Quantum Technical Services makes regular maintenance simple. With stainless steel and sanitary designs, we make sure that regular maintenance and sanitation is easy. This is especially important in preventing the build-up of ingredients, mold, and bacteria.

Train Staff

Lastly, we recommend that you train your staff on proper food equipment maintenance and food assembly hygiene. We’ll discuss assembly line hygiene next, but training staff is a direct way to improve best practices and achieve premier food safety. Topics such as personal hygiene, personal protective equipment (PPE), and automated equipment operation and maintenance are all important topics to cover in a potential staff food safety and hygiene training module. 

Frozen Pizza Ingredients, Automation, and Line Hygiene

To break down food safety in pizza production lines further, let’s take a look at handling frozen pizza ingredients, automation, and line hygiene. Below are a few best practices when handling frozen pizza ingredients, but these can also be applied to a variety of frozen food assembly lines.  

Handle Ingredients Only When Necessary

As we’ve stated before, it’s crucial for employees to handle ingredients only when they have to. Instances such as restocking the ingredient applicators or moving assembled products off of the production line are examples of handling ingredients when necessary. This prevents pathogen contamination and ensures the quality of the meal. Let the automated equipment handle the ingredients! 

Learn About the Automated Equipment

In the frozen food industry, employees that oversee automated equipment operations must know about the equipment from top to bottom. This allows employees to recognize when there’s an issue with the machinery, when it needs to be cleaned, and how to improve the assembly line. Knowing all about the machinery helps employees catch issues that may compromise food safety. 

Maintain Food Safety With Quantum

Automation not only increases productivity and product quality, but it also improves food safety. At Quantum Technical Services, you’ll find a range of automated pizza, meal, and bakery equipment that will transform your production line, from consistent ingredient application to increased food safety. Contact us today to find out which automated solutions can work for your production line.