KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Industry experts in food processing sanitation shared ideas about the fundamentals of sanitation, sanitary design and pathogen-control techniques at Weber Inc.’s Sanitation Symposium held March 22-24 in Kansas City, Mo.

Joe Stout, former director of global product protection, sanitation and hygienic design at Kraft Foods and current president of Commercial Food Sanitation LLC, opened the program with a discussion on the basics of sanitation. “The industry now agrees that pathogens are the enemy and there has to be zero tolerance for pathogens,” he said. “Sanitation has changed over the years, we now have to clean to a microbiological level.”

Although sanitation protocols must be facility-specific, the basics remain the same. The most important component, according to Stout, is “having access for cleaning, inspection and sampling.” Without access, he said, there’s no way to ensure true sanitation.

Rory Redemann, Sanitation Lead at Oscar Meyer/Kraft Foods, echoed Stout’s sentiments during his presentation on sanitary equipment design. “I believe in a common-sense approach to sanitary design – if you can’t see it or you can’t reach it, then you can’t clean it.”

Sanitary design is a continuous improvement process, he said. “You have to continue to learn about your equipment in order to know the best way to clean it.” Working directly with equipment companies is the best way to ensure sanitation requirements are met and obstacles are overcome, he said.

Tuesday’s opening day of Weber’s 3-day sanitation symposium also included presentations on the “7-Step Cleaning Process” by Doug Craven, corporate manager of sanitation at Hormel; “Swabbing a Weber Slicer” by Christine Hurckes, food safety manager at Land O’Frost; “Seek and Destroy” by Steve Tsuyuki, senior director of food safety at Maple Leaf Foods; and “The Signs of Issues Ahead” by Steve Jones, food safety director at Land O’Frost.

The symposium will also include demonstrations of equipment inspection, sampling and swabbing and various sanitation techniques at Weber’s North American Technology Center in Kansas City.