Modern IQF solutions provide a much-needed service to the industry by reliably supplying premium-grade frozen goods. At the same time, more attention needs to be paid to the way the freezing process is performed, ensuring that a high level of food safety is guaranteed. Not only because of industry regulation and general health hazards but especially in the wake of a global pandemic that had uprooted much of the world as we knew it.
In the food industry, food safety is often a primary concern, as outbreaks or contaminations, left unnoticed, risk leaving a permanent mark on the food processors’ reputation. Here is everything you need to know to make sure your IQF business will remain successful.
Factors to consider
When looking to improve the food safety of your business, your freezing equipment will play the biggest role. Considering various IQF Freezers, there are certain things that you can pay attention to especially, that will help ensure a high food safety standard across your freezing business.
For one, the level of automation tends to be directly correlated with the overall food safety provided by the machine. The fewer hands the goods must go through before they’re fully frozen, the smaller the chance for human error, leading to a lessened chance for contamination and/or subsequent waste.
Here, of note, is the fully automated processing line from OctoFrost. It is the only completely automated freezing line on the market and provides a much-needed guarantee for food safety that exceeds industry regulations considerably. When working with products that require more attention to food safety, such as shrimp, automation is an invaluable tool for reliably getting the job done.
Another key factor for ensuring ahead-of-the-curve food safety is technological innovation. Simply put, there is only so much you can do with old technology. To keep up with the modern world and modern industry demands, it is crucial to constantly engineer and develop novel approaches to old problems. Here too, OctoFrost can serve as a primary example of it being done right.
Their patented bedplate technology is unique across the industry and serves as a better alternative to belts. The bedplates are fully removable, so maintenance is greatly simplified. As belts are a major safety risk due to cross-contamination, when working with various products, bedplates present themselves as a highly attractive option.The OctoFrost bedplates allow food processors to change the bedplates and clean them outside the freezer, without stopping the freezing process. .
It is possible to extract bedplates and immediately replace them with clean ones. No time is lost on maintaining and replacing bedplates, with spares in tow, and processing can continue without a hitch. It’s a direct upgrade and a leader in terms of food safety and hygiene. Moreover, the newer version of the bedplates called ‘half-size bedplates’ make it possible for only one person to replace them.
Food safety from the ground up
In addition to the earlier factors, you need to ensure the freezing technology you use is well-equipped to enable the level of food safety you require. Pay special attention to the following factors:
An intelligently designed freezer with high quality material used will be effectively hydrophobic, or at the very least ensure no water absorption can take place at a material level. Moisture or water tends to present favorable conditions for bacteria to grow, so it is crucial that there is no place for it in your freezer in order to ensure food safety.
The design of your freezer should make it simple to maintain a prominent level of food safety, and that comes first and foremost with excellent maintenance. Octofrost’s mono-block design is exemplary in this regard, leaving out no space or grove for bacteria to rest in, as the entire surface is made easy to clean. The freezer should be simple to access from the outside to have full reach inside of it and be able to clean thoroughly and ensure a high level of food safety. Multiple human access points that provide total coverage are the only way to make sure.
Additionally, make sure the outside of the freezer can be thoroughly cleaned as well. It is one of the ways bacteria could access your products before or even during freezing, depending on your configuration. A free-standing design can enable you to clean under the freezer easily.
As previously discussed, introducing humans into your processing loop never comes without inherent risk. The same is valid for cleaning your IQF equipment. The fewer people interacting with your food product before it’s delivered to your customers, the easier it is to ensure an excellent food safety rating. With a well-developed coil cleaning system and automatic foam cleaning built inside the freezer, Octofrost provides high-quality self-cleaning solutions as part of their freezer..
But don’t just base your approach on listening to just one source. References are your best bet, especially when the actors in the industry aren’t numerous. Direct experience working with technology and an honest chat with industry partners can be just what you need to figure out what to keep in mind when it comes to food safety. Cover both the challenges the frozen food enterprises faced, as well as solutions they opted for and to what degree they’ve contributed to successfully solving the problems/concerns.
Practice beats perfect
At the same time, take stock of the exact areas your business is struggling with when it comes to food safety. These are the aspects you should cover as well when consulting with experts in the field. For instance, if fast product changes are an operational necessity for your business, then cross-contamination should be identified as one of your primary concerns and you should compare notes on that topic specifically. Avoid the pitfall of looking for the perfect freezer in theory, and approach it from a practical angle, to find the best freezer for your unique IQF freezing process.
Improving your food safety during processing, done right, is both simple to do and provides savings in terms of time while improving overall frozen product quality. We hope this guide will help your business excel in terms of food safety.