Household kitchen utensils and appliances may not be adequate for commercial food processing

In order to produce safe food products, you must take care when choosing kitchen tools and appliances.

Many times, beginning food processors try to save money by using utensils and appliances from their home kitchen. This practice is not advisable; however, some home kitchen “tools” may be adequate to insure good food manufacturing practices.

Equipment should be made of food-grade materials. In other words, when used properly, the equipment should not pose a bacterial, chemical or physical hazard. Surfaces should be made of a hard impervious surface, where bacteria can be controlled. For example, stainless steel would be preferred over wood in a food processing facility because wood surfaces would tend to be a harborage for bacteria. Utensils and surfaces made of non-toxic materials that do not “leach” chemicals into the food. In all cases, utensils and surfaces should be made of materials that are resistant to chipping, which would cause an adulterated food product to be made.

Bins and containers used to store food need to be made of easily-cleaned impervious materials. Other containers used to store inedible materials should be clearly marked, and cleaned at regular intervals. Surfaces such as countertops should also be constructed of materials that allow for easy cleaning and sanitizing.

Additionally, protective clothing should be made of materials that are easily cleaned and resistant to bacteria and other hazards that may contaminate food. It is not acceptable for protective clothing to be stored on counter tops, floors, or from fixture and appliances. Racks should be provided for storage of protective clothing, and soiled clothing should be removed from the facility, to be laundered or discarded.

Food processors who are evaluating equipment for their operations and others who need assistance in determining how start and operate food processing facilities, can call educators from Michigan State University Extension and Innovation Counselors at the Michigan State University Product Center assist businesses in the establishment of good practices to improve business effectiveness.

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