With implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) under way, sanitary design migrated from a nice-to-have to a must-have for the processing and handling equipment inside food & beverage manufacturing facilities.

Cleanability has moved from afterthought to a central consideration in total cost of ownership of equipment, particularly when there is direct contact with food. FSMA extends that consideration to include incoming materials, both food and nonfood, environmental conditions and the physical structure. Cross contact with allergens receives special attention in Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Food, the FDA guidance document issued in August.

Building and equipping a plant from the ground up is one way of addressing sanitary design, but the vast majority of companies must work with the facility they already operate. Fortunately, even legacy sites can clear the higher sanitary bar, as evinced by General Mills’ $25 million commitment to its 110-year-old Buffalo, N.Y., cereal plant.

Read more: Equipment Designed With Sanitation In Mind Can Ease Processors’ FSMA Requirements