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Recognising that the drain, gully and floor may need an upgrade is the first step to reducing the risks of a non-hygienic environment, writes ACO Australia’s Kate Jennings.

In food processing, floors can be exposed to water, grease and chemicals, heavy foot traffic and hard-wheeled trolleys, pallet jacks and forklifts.

The temperature range a floor can experience ranges from sub zero freezers through to hot water washdown.

As a consequence, drains, floors and the joints between the two elements can deteriorate and become impossible to clean.

Cracks may develop in the sub-surface under the grate, the epoxy flooring may come away from the edge of the gully or stagnant water can pool in joins and crevices, all of which are potential sites for bacteria growth.

We describe these scenarios as hygienic installation failures.

The most common case is a floor installation compromised by a visible fracture, crack or separation that is difficult to clean and disinfect and harbours microorganisms.

The other failure is structural, which usually occurs after a hygienic failure event, often leading to a slip or trip hazard.

Once the facility manager has identified that a drain needs an upgrade, it is important to consider the extent of the work.

In most food processing facilities, upgrades depend on a few factors including the risk profile of the room, whether the equipment and drainage points meet the needs of the processing being conducted, and if the production flow is at its optimal level.

For older installations with ageing pipework, a complete overhaul may be necessary.

Damaged terracotta or concrete pipes may mean it’s time to bring the system up to current standards.

For food production that has a high risk profile, like ready-to-eat meals, greater consideration needs to be given to ensure optimum hygiene standards.

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