If you’ve been considering automation to improve the sanitary conditions at your bakery, you’re hardly alone. Preventing bacteria-borne illnesses from cross-contamination incidents at manufacturing plants is a top priority among many food producers today.
From the executive level to the plant floor, the responsibility for food quality and safety falls into the hands of every member of your organization. However, if there’s one thing most humans have in common, it’s unpredictability. With that in mind, errors attributable to human intervention can be costly, and there’s a lot at risk to a brand’s reputation when contaminated products find retailer shelves.
It’s safe to say that almost everyone in the bakery industry is vested in optimizing food safety and eliminating cross-contamination at their respective plants. And just as the quality of your staff dictates the outcome of your products, the quality of your plant’s sanitation program is a good indicator of the volume of food contamination issues you’re bound to encounter as you conduct your regular operations.
Fortunately, a rapid expansion of innovation in bakery automation equipment and industrial automation software has allowed bakery owners to enhance operational efficiency and improve worksite safety. At the same time, automation helps bakeries prevent food-borne illnesses that start with cross-contamination incidents along their production lines.
Why is cross-contamination a top concern for food producers?
It goes without saying that food safety remains at the forefront for every manufacturer in the food and beverage industry. Bakeries, because they deal with so many perishables, are particularly vulnerable to cross-contamination. Spoilable items can lead to dangerous cross-contamination events attributable to unsanitary equipment and human operator errors at the plant.
While most bakeries emphasize food safety and hygienic practices like frequent hand washing and equipment sanitizing, it’s easy to overlook the potential impacts of a food safety incident. The negative financial consequences of a recall, for instance, are often considerable because they rattle consumer confidence in your brand.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that one in six people living in the US fall ill every year because of cross-contamination at restaurants and food manufacturing facilities. Most food and beverage producers take food safety seriously. The recovery process after just one mistake can take years, while the expenses to achieve this can be dire.
Preventing cross-contamination in industrial bakeries
Cross-contamination is a phenomenon that’s largely associated with human error, but it’s also more broadly the result of the human intervention factor. Commercial bakeries have relied on human operators as critical elements in the production process for centuries if not millennia.
However, as federal and state regulatory environments continue tightening, more bakeries are seeking to refresh their strategies for eliminating cross-contamination at their plants. In response to the global pandemic, many food industry businesses have tried to offset the risks of contamination with the use of personal protective gear and increased hand washing.
While this approach might be effective on a few fronts, they’re somewhat limited as tools for preventing contamination in food and beverage manufacturing plants. When wearing a surgical mask and gloves, it’s still possible to spread dangerous pathogens, including harmful bacteria like Listeria and E. coli.
It doesn’t take much for an employee to fail to adhere to hand washing policies and mishandle personal protective gear before touching your products and equipment. This is why more bakeries have been looking to automation as a means of reducing human intervention and lessening the risks of cross-contamination at their facilities.
Bakery automation improves product quality and safety
Automation has been shown to play a substantial role in reducing cross-contamination risks in bakeries of every size. Industrial automation software and bakery equipment, likewise, improves the efficiency and quality of your overall production. When you automate your manual processes, you can bring the risk of cross-contamination in your plant down to virtually zero.
The latest automation equipment lets you automate every phase of your manufacturing. These new innovations for industrial bakeries support what’s known as hygienic design, food manufacturing systems that are easy to clean and promote an optimally sanitary production environment.
End-arm-tooling technology reduces the risk of grippers holding onto food ingredients that turn into harmful bacteria. Modern automated food manufacturing equipment incorporates a closed-loop system that prevents food materials from entering the system’s airlines.
Bakers prefer this closed-end system to open-ended alternatives because these systems are hard to clean and debris can easily penetrate their airlines. Closed-loop systems, while they’re more hygienic, require fewer cleaning intervals.
The reduced maintenance requirements and automated maintenance scheduling mean you can rest at relative ease about recalls and make more efficient use of your manufacturing resources.
Why consider bakery automation now?
Automation technology should be at the forefront of your operational facility upgrade plans because the cost to implement the solutions only continues to increase. Moreover, labor expenses are on the rise, too, as are government regulatory fines.
The money bakeries can save by improving food safety and sanitation efficiency is substantial. After automating your production lines, it won’t take long to realize an ROI worth mentioning. Automated slicers, dicers, and cutters are hygienic in design, but automating these potentially hazardous tasks also improves workplace safety.
Industry analysts anticipate the global food automation market to continue climbing to 14.3 billion dollar industry by 2025. This means more of your industry counterparts are leveraging the latest manufacturing technology. At some stage, you’ll likely have to automate at least some aspects of your operations to remain competitive.
Ready to automate your bakery?
If you’re looking into the latest bakery automation technologies to enhance safety and sanitation at your manufacturing plant, consider working with the automation experts at EZSoft.
We’re a full-service systems integrator of process control systems serving businesses in the life sciences, food and beverage, and chemical manufacturing industries. Learn how bakery automation equipment can prevent recalls and protect brand value by connecting with a food manufacturing expert at EZSoft today.
For more on pricing, complete our request for contact form online. Or, to speak with a senior technician now, dial (484) 568-5040.