Food hazards in slaughterhouses: drainage systems for the meat industry

The risk of bacterial contamination is much higher in food processing facilities such as slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, therefore maximum hygiene is paramount. There exist many hazards which can affect food safety, but at the heart of all of them there are problems related to workplace hygiene issues. In a nutshell, meat processing plants need to be designed and constructed with food safety in mind as the higher hygiene standards are, the safer the meat we eat is. Food hazards should not be underestimated throughout the entire meat production process, from slaughtering to delivery and storage. In this article we will focus on the important role that drainage systems play in terms of hygiene in slaughterhouses by removing waste water and also collecting meat waste.

The three types of food hazards in slaughterhouses

In slaughterhouses and meat processing plants there are basically three types of food hazards: chemical, biological and microbiological. We are neither going to take into consideration the first as it’s linked to detergents and disinfectants used in cleaning operations nor the second which is due to the parasites of cattle, but our focus will be on the latter. Indeed, drainage systems come into play to prevent the microbiological risk of food contamination caused by pathogenic microorganisms such as viruses and bacteria, which may occur in any stage of meat processing. Besides walls, ceilings, switches and handles, another possible source of contamination are floors and drainage systems installed to drain waste water; for this reason drainage systems must comply with safety guidelines set forth by HACCP protocol which, in Italy, sets out good hygiene practices for all operators in the food chain.

HACCP in the meat supply chain: the role of drainage systems

Since the HACCP protocol clearly states that not only food-contact surfaces but also walls and floors must be easily washable and disinfectable in food processing plants, drainage systems undoubtedly plays a delicate and key role by avoiding water stagnation on the floor where germs may proliferate. Yet, mold and bacteria growth might occur on drainage channels and gullies as well, affecting the hygiene of the entire work environment. That’s why it is so important to choose easily disinfectable drainage systems made of stainless steel, the only material that ensures durability and resistance to corrosion. In order to provide a superior hygienic performance, Inoxsystem® has developed the innovative Inoxsystem® Total Hygienic line. The design of these top-of-the-range drainage systems does not allow bacterial growth as channels roundes internal and gullies removable odor trap and filter basket kits ensure easy and thorough cleaning.

A few good recommendations for maximum hygiene in slaughterhouses

One of the major problems connected the meat industry is water disposal. First of all, filter baskets should have proper dimensions and capacity in order to collect solid waste originating from meat processing. Then, drainage systems should be suitable also for cold rooms where very high standards of hygiene are required. Inoxsystem® offers a floor drain with double odor trap, which means a double barrier against germs and smells, further strenghtened by a super resistant "O-ring" gasket. Another big issue that affects cold rooms is low temperatures. The risk of freezing is high for the water inside the odor trap system, so we recommend to install a direct outlet in cold rooms and relocate the odor trap away from cold as without water it would otherwise not work.

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