The annual Sanitary Design Workshop took place on March 29 and 30 in Chicago, attracting participants from across the snack and bakery industries representing equipment companies, snack producers, bakeries and more. This sold-out workshop provides an approach to food safety that is unique and based on the belief that food safety starts with sanitary equipment and plant design.

The workshop theme, “Equipment & Plant Design for Allergen & Pathogen Control in Low Moisture Foods,” explored a comprehensive set of sanitary design principles established to help snack producers and bakeries develop sanitation standard operating procedures (SSOPs) that position their businesses to meet and exceed regulatory standards, streamline sanitation operations and provide the safest-possible foods for public consumption. This included analysis of equipment design fundamentals integral to sanitary design.

Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery is the exclusive media sponsor of the Sanitary Design workshop, and it was also sponsored by AIB International. The workshop is presented by members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) Sanitary Share Group and is supported by the American Bakers Association, AIB International, American Society of Baking, Biscuit & Cracker Manufacturers Association, Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds/BEMA, Food Processing Suppliers Association, National Confectioners Association, National Pasta Association and SNAC International (formerly the Snack Food Association).

Key takeaways from the workshop included:

  • Implementing sanitary design through early management
  • Getting buy-in from corporate management and members of the food safety and sanitation teams
  • Understanding the costs related to the entire life-cycle of equipment implementation and maintenance
  • Minimizing and eliminating food-safety risks
  • Utilizing GMA checklists
  • Applying zoning concepts
  • Understanding that sanitary design should not be secondary to equipment functionality
  • Matching designs and cleaning methods
  • Controlling water
  • Factoring in employee safety
  • Using all available resources
  • Building a culture of sanitary design within your organization

Presenters at the workshop included food-safety leaders from top snack and bakery companies like General Mills, Kellogg Company, PepsiCo, Kraft Foods, Post Consumer Brands and Nestlé. Equipment and other suppliers participating in the workshop included Kollmorgen, Unifiller, Indue and Buhler.

Attendees of the Sanitary Design Workshop appreciate the unique aspects of this vital food-safety forum, including:

  • The openness and sharing of practices and knowledge—the Sanitary Design Workshop is an open forum, with the goal of sharing knowledge and putting food safety first
  • The skill level brought from several different companies and the different positions within those companies—the presentations are highly informative and delivered with the assurance of many years dedicated to operational food safety
  • Receiving essential checklists, practical knowledge and informational tools
  • Talking and interacting with people from other companies that face the same challenges

For a video featuring feedback on the workshop from participants, see “2016 Sanitary Design Workshop Insights.” Complete details on the Sanitary Design Workshop are available at