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Food Safety: A Proactive Approach to Sanitary Design in the FSMA Era

10 Essential Principles for Food Processors and How CLX Products Can Help

Clean Logix Strengthening your food safety plan: tackling pinch points

Each year, about 48 million Americans fall ill, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases, according to the CDC

To combat this largely preventable threat, proactive food safety measures are essential. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was enacted by Congress in response to these challenges, introducing new standards that require food manufacturers to follow current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) and upgrade their procedures.

Effective sanitary design enables food processors to mitigate food safety risks, protect their brand reputation, and avoid the costly consequences of failed inspections, recalls, or associations with foodborne illness outbreaks.

The meat and poultry industries, which are experienced in sanitary plant production, offer valuable insights. The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) established its “10 Principles of Sanitary Design” two decades ago. The objective was not only centered on improving sanitary design to reduce and eliminate potential harborage areas where undesirable microorganisms might gather, but also on maintaining and extending product shelf life and other product quality attributes.

These principles remain relevant and applicable to both meat and produce processing, guiding processors in complying with FSMA and protecting their products.

10 Principles of Sanitary Design

Principle 1. Cleanable to a microbiological level

Food equipment must be designed and maintained for efficient cleaning and sanitation to eliminate all food materials, preventing bacterial ingress and growth on both product and non-product contact surfaces.


Foam or Sanitizer application, Our Equipment Has You Covered.

SLX products provide unmatched functionality and serviceability, guaranteeing seamless cleaning for your facility. From manual spray applicators to automated equipment and mixing dispensing stations, the SLX Sanitation series meets all your cleaning requirements, delivering flawless results with foam or sanitizer.

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Principle 2. Compatibility of Materials

Construction materials must be compatible with the product, environment, and cleaning chemicals, ensuring equipment surfaces are inert, corrosion-resistant, nonporous, and nonabsorbent to minimize microbial harborage areas.

Principle 3. Accessibility for Maintenance

All equipment parts should be easily accessible for inspection, maintenance, and cleaning without requiring tools, optimizing sanitary conditions and facilitating effective cleaning protocols.

Principle 4. Elimination of Liquid Collection

Equipment should be self-draining to prevent accumulation of food product, water, or liquids, reducing microbial growth and contamination risks.

Principle 5. Hermetic Sealing of Hollow Areas

Hollow areas must be eliminated or permanently sealed to prevent moisture and food materials from collecting, minimizing microbial growth and cross-contamination risks.


Designed to Clean and Be Cleaned

BLX Boot Scrubbers

BLX Boot Scrubbers offer top-tier hygiene and sanitation helping minimize the entry of harmful pathogens and bacteria into facilities, enhancing sanitation efforts for rigorous food production settings and other critical industries

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Principle 6. No Niches

Equipment surfaces should be free of pits, cracks, and recesses to eliminate microbial harborage points and minimize contamination risks during equipment modification or installation.

Principle 7. Sanitary Operational Performance

Equipment must operate to minimize unsanitary conditions and microbial growth during normal operations, ensuring product quality and safety throughout production runs, areasares near product contact surfaces should be treated as if they were contact zones.


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The entryway foamer automatically dispenses a bed of foam to the floors of any critical zone or entryway to ensure people, carts, or vehicles are clean before entering or exiting an area. Available in centralized (pump-fed) or decentralized (venturi) setups. It features a touchscreen controller for setting timer cycles and reporting activity.

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  • Patented split-body design to quickly remove clogs or replace parts

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Principle 8. Hygienic Design of Maintenance Enclosures

Maintenance enclosures and human-machine interfaces (HMIs) including valves, handles, switches, as well as push buttons and touchscreens, should be designed to avoid the accumulation of product residue or liquid. Enclosures should have a slope or pitch, which helps prevent the area from being used as storage.

Principle 9. Hygienic Compatibility with Other Plant Systems

Equipment design should ensure compatibility with plant systems to minimize contamination risks and facilitate efficient operation and maintenance. Sanitation crews should assess both the equipment and its sub-systems together rather than individually. The first eight principles should be used in the evaluation of compatibility.

Principle 10. Validated Cleaning and Sanitizing Protocols

Cleaning and sanitation procedures must be clearly documented and proven effective, with recommended chemicals compatible with equipment and manufacturing environment, ensuring successful cleaning and sanitation practices.


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When an FDA Inspector Visits your Facility, Will You Pass the Test?

In response to mounting foodborne illness cases proactive food safety is critical. The FSMA mandates upgraded standards, emphasizing effective sanitary design to mitigate risks and protect brand reputation. Collaborate with Clean Logix for compliance and a culture of safety, safeguarding your products, employees, and reputation.

Set up a Consultation with Clean Logix to ensure the quality of your products and processes, keeping your employees, customers and reputation safe.

Please reach out to our dedicated support team at or 616-438-9200.


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