Hygienic design

Blog | 1 November 2018

The hygienic design of food processing facilities and equipment is critical to food safety. Poorly designed facilities and equipment can lead to:

  • pathogen harbourage in buildings and equipment that provides a source of contamination which may cross-contaminate foodstuffs;
  • the inability of facilities and equipment to be cleaned of allergens between allergen containing and allergen free product SKUs;
  • foreign body contamination from e.g. damaged materials, lubricants, pests.


The importance of hygienic design has been recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and they have established a Hygienic Design of Facilities and Equipment, Technical Working Group (TWG).  The GFSI is a forum for the world’s leading food safety experts from food manufacturers, food service operators and retailers to produce benchmark food safety standards that are subsequently adopted by food safety certification programme (CPOs) owners such as BRC in their audit programmes

The Hygienic Design of Facilities and Equipment TWG has a mandate to develop the hygienic design elements of the GFSI benchmark standards to improve the hygienic design of food processing facilities and equipment along the farm to fork chain.  It is hoped that this can be achieved via developing better links between facility and equipment designers and constructors and their customers, the food industry.  The first meeting of this TWG took place in Greensboro, North Carolina in the USA on the 11/12 October 2018 and was chaired by Holchem’s Technical Director, John Holah.  The TWG is expected to take 18 months to develop appropriate hygienic design benchmark standards.

Holchem are advocates of hygienic design and support the activities of the European Hygienic Engineering Design Group (EHEDG).  Representatives of Holchem are directly involved in the formulation of hygienic design guidance through participation in various EHEDG Working Groups such as Cleaning and Disinfection, Cleaning Validation, CIP, Hygienic Building Design and Training.  Hygienic design knowledge is fundamental to Holchem’s service provision in the food manufacturing and food service environment as if facilities and equipment are difficult to clean because of inherent design problems, Holchem must be able to provide mitigating solutions.

Specifically, Holchem can provide support by:

  • identifying poorly designed equipment and facilities as part of our customer support audits;
  • help mitigate such design flaws by e.g. periodic equipment dismantling programmes for deep cleaning and/or continuous environmental disinfection routines;
  • working with customers to ensure hygienic design is part of the specification for newly purchased food processing equipment and/or helping customers make an effective choice of new equipment based on hygienic design principles;
  • working with equipment manufacturers to ensure food processing equipment is inherently hygienically designed and that customers are advised on appropriate cleaning methods to maintain its hygienic performance;
  • working with customers to ensure building refurbishment programmes are suitably hygienically designed and that the refurbishment programme is undertaken in a way that minimises food safety concerns:
  • working with architects and construction companies to ensure new food processing facilities, particularly those for ready-to-eat food products, are inherently hygienically designed.



EHEDG web site

Interested in participating in GFSI working group initiative?