Food Safety Magazine

SANITATION SOLUTIONS | February/March 2010

Ensuring Safe Food Conveyance at Every Processing Stage

By Intralox

Ensuring Safe Food  Conveyance at Every  Processing Stage

Conveyor belts can have direct contact with your product during every stage of food processing. Selecting the wrong belts can lead to food contamination, product recalls and, ultimately, loss of consumer confidence. One crucial step toward achieving safe, hygienic conveyance of your food products is partnering with a conveyor belt provider that can offer both a full line of hygienic technologies and the expertise to recommend the right belt for each of your applications. Arming your plant with conveyance solutions designed specifically to combat contamination and backed up by expert recommendations is a proactive measure that will help you achieve and maintain the long-term hygiene of your plant—and product.

Intralox’s line of FoodSafe technologies is the culmination of 40 years of food safety research and experience. These solutions are custom-engineered to provide quick, easy and effective sanitation. For example, the SeamFree™ modular belt is an excellent alternative for abusive applications, such as cutting on the belt or when handling sharp bone-in product. The lightweight material makes installation and repairs easy and unlike metal belts, there are no pockets or sharp corners to catch and hold debris.

With the addition of ThermoDrive® technology, this product line now includes positive-drive, low-tension belting with a continuous, easy-to-clean surface. Such belting requires no pre-tension and is sprocket driven, thus the tensioning and mistracking problems associated with traditional flat belts are eliminated. This solution excels in applications with extremely high sanitation requirements (such as ready-to-eat), a great deal of abrasion, those that require troughing or a 100% closed surface for containment and situations where preventing allergen cross-contamination is essential.

FoodSafe products cover every stage of processing. During primary processing, these solutions can be employed when you need an exceptionally durable belt for butchery or chopping, or a low-maintenance, easy-to-clean belt for washing, trimming or peeling. Whatever the application, such solutions make safe, efficient handling of raw food materials possible. Similarly, the company’s line of EZ Clean accessories facilitates quick and effective sanitation at every processing stage. For example, Angled EZ Clean Sprockets promote sanitation in primary processing by allowing access to 100% of the critical belt underside, whereas normal in-line sprockets block cleaning access to the drive area.

Secondary processing often involves combining food in such a way that its physical properties are altered. At this stage, it is imperative that processors are able to reach optimal levels of sanitation in as little time and with as few resources as possible. Using these solutions allows for problem-free sanitation and helps to ensure the safety of your goods as they are converted to edible food products.

During secondary processing, the 100% closed surface of ThermoDrive belting, as well its ability to be scraped and troughed, translate to reduced product waste. Likewise, the substantial reductions in water, chemicals and cleaning labor and time that this belting provides allow sanitation personnel to quickly reach desired microbiological levels of cleanliness without draining plant resources.

SeamFree belting is the definitive solution when strength and durability are needed in secondary processing. Unique features such as cam-link hinges that prevent debris from clogging the belt and a patent-pending flume design that channels water and debris to the belt edge facilitate fast and easy clean-up.

Finally, these solutions can provide the ultimate protection against contamination in the stage where sanitary conveyance is critical—further processing. Properties such as non-porous belt materials and minimal or no seams make it possible to deliver consistently superior levels of hygiene when food is at its most vulnerable. Additionally, they give food processors the power to respond to changing customer demand for items such as “ready-to-eat” and “heat-and-serve” meals, without sacrificing product safety.

While selecting FoodSafe solutions will bring you closer to optimal hygiene levels, choosing the wrong belt for an application can have serious consequences. Intralox employs food safety consultants with in-plant experience, as well as Ph.D.-level researchers, to develop belt recommendations. These experts stay on top of the latest food safety regulations and continually test products in both the lab and the field to discover the most effective cleaning practices. As hygienic standards become more stringent, food processors should strive to stay ahead of the curve by adopting the most effective products to combat contamination. To attain exceptional hygiene, select products designed to eliminate contamination and those recommended by specialists with the tools to ensure that any belt technology recommended is exactly what is needed.

www.intralox.com