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Plant equipment tested under the standard includes thermal processing (heating and refrigeration) equipment, as well as conveyors, grinders, mixers, etc.
Based on USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) sanitation guidelines designed to prevent listeria and other food contamination problems, ANSI/UL 2128 was designated by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) on July 5, covering hygienic design, construction, and test methods for equipment that handles, processes, and packages meat or poultry products or ingredients.
The standard includes performance-based requirements that supplement or supercede the requirements formerly applied in the USDA’s prior acceptance equipment program.
This standard “will be the single, definitive source for the hygiene of meat and poultry plant equipment,” said Tom Blewitt, manager of UL’s Environmental and Public Health Services Department.
Blewitt said that demonstrating compliance is becoming increasingly important following USDA’s implementation of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, designed to reduce the risk of food-borne illness due to meat and poultry contamination.
Under this system, it is the responsibility of plant owners/operators to address sanitation issues as part of their HACCP plans. They must be able to document effective maintenance and cleaning procedures, and also document the means by which acceptably designed and constructed equipment is being put to use in their facilities.
“Food processors and regulators will benefit from nationally recognized requirements that can be uniformly applied and updated as technology and the marketplace evolve and change.”
The standard draws on the expertise of government (state agricultural departments, FSIS, Canadian Food Inspection Agency), regulators, academia, meat and poultry plant operators, equipment manufacturers, and others.
For more information on the standard, refer to UL’s Web site at www.ul.com/eph.