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Sanitary Standards for Dairy Equipment Enhances Consumer Safety

May 08, 2023

How Following 3-A Sanitary Standards for Dairy Equipment Enhances Consumer Safety

For dairy processing companies, ensuring safety and cleanliness is vital to reduce downtime and pass inspection. Learn how the 3-A Sanitary Standards for dairy equipment help keep consumers healthy and safe.

The Use of Stainless Steel in the Dairy Industry

Stainless steel equipment is used throughout the dairy supply chain to process, transport, and store dairy products safely. In order to follow guidelines for consumer health and safety, the stainless steel used in any part of the process must be easily cleanable and corrosion-resistant.

Stainless steel is used widely in the dairy industry because it behaves neutrally and does not alter milk’s taste. Unlike other materials, it can also be easily cleaned and disinfected without causing corrosion.

Cameron Manufacturing & Design provides equipment using stainless steels T304, T304L, T316, and T316L for common applications and Hastelloy and Inconel for high-corrosive applications. Our skilled engineers and technicians are deeply experienced in creating safe, cleanable equipment for our customers in the dairy industry, helping them comply with regulatory standards and pass inspections without issue.

The Dangers of Unsanitary Equipment

Like any food product, dairy products can create food-borne illnesses when handled improperly. Milk can contain any of these harmful microorganisms — Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Yersinia enterocolitica, Bacillus cereus, Clostridium botulinum, Mycobacterium Bovis, Brucella abortus, and Brucella melitensis.

Improper sanitization of dairy equipment can also lead to chemical hazards in finished dairy products. Having the correct equipment handled correctly contributes immensely to protecting finished dairy products from chemical contamination.

3-A Sanitary Standards for Dairy Equipment

Since 1956, 3-A standards have been widely accepted and recognized in the dairy industry for manufacturers of safe, well-designed, and -fabricated equipment. From the official 3-A sanitary standards website: “Voluntary use of the 3-A Symbol on dairy and food equipment conveys assurance that equipment meets sanitary standards, provides accepted criteria to equipment manufacturers for sanitary design, and establishes guidelines for uniform evaluation and compliance by sanitarians.”

There are standards for each different type of equipment and accepted practices that ensure cleanliness and safety. In order to receive certification and become authorized to use the 3-A Symbol on a piece of equipment, an applicant must first find and purchase the specific standard and then undergo a strict inspection process before achieving confirmation.

Equipment that displays the 3-A Symbol has undergone an independent Third Party Verification (TPV) inspection by a Certified Conformance Evaluator (CCE). This ensures that any deficiencies will be identified and must be rectified before a piece of finished equipment can display the symbol.

Who Benefits from 3-A Standards?

Equipment buyers in the dairy industry rely on the 3-A Symbol to indicate easier cleaning, maintenance, and inspection during their purchasing process. Since regulatory sanitarians and enforcement authorities contributed to the creation of each 3-A Sanitary Standard, processors can trust that equipment with the symbol will be easier to disinfect appropriately and help inspections run smoothly.

Regulatory sanitarians themselves also benefit from 3-A standards since they create more uniform guidelines and a better understanding between regulators and processors. They can start a processing facility inspection already knowing that the equipment design and manufacturing processes followed a stringent set of standards compatible with industry regulations as verified by a certified third party.

Equipment manufacturers like Cameron Manufacturing & Design also benefit from the 3-A Sanitary Standards because it allows for broad industry acceptance of their equipment across the U.S. Having uniform standards in place also allows manufacturers to create equipment faster and with less expense, as not needing to create custom dies and tools each time leads to lower production costs and lead time. Sanitary design criteria allow manufacturers to guarantee the safety and effectiveness of their machinery in the dairy industry.

Verifying 3-A Sanitary Standard Certification

3-A SSI (3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc.) provides databases for each of their certificates in order to make it easy for equipment purchasers to verify certifications quickly and easily. It is important to note, however, that only equipment that displays the 3-A Symbol is considered to be certified to 3-A Sanitary Standards.

3-A SSI’s database of current certificates allows users to look up current 3-A licenses by company name, certificate number, or equipment type. The RPSCQC directory allows users to search for manufacturers that have received general Replacement Parts and System Component Qualification Certification for equipment that is not otherwise eligible to receive 3-A certification. The process certification directory allows users to search for manufacturers that follow the requirements set forth by 3-A SSI in their design, manufacturing, and installation processes for all related equipment.

Reach Out to Cameron Manufacturing & Design for Dairy Equipment You Can Trust

Cameron Manufacturing & Design adheres to USDA and 3-A Industrial standards to expertly serve customers in the dairy industry. Reach out now to discuss our capabilities.

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