When looking at the requirements of commercial food equipment to be reviewed against, and certified as complying with an NSF/ANSI Standard, the various areas of the equipment are assessed as being in one of three zones*: Food Zone, Splash Zone, and Non-Food Zone.
The FOOD ZONE are equipment surfaces intended to be in direct contact with food, equipment surfaces that food or condensates may have contact and then drain, drip, or splash back into food, or onto surfaces that are intended to be in direct contact with food. The SPLASH ZONE is defined as the equipment surfaces, other than those in the Food Zone, that are subject to splash, spillage or other food soiling during normal operation of the equipment. The NON-FOOD ZONE are equipment surfaces other than those in the Food Zone or Splash Zone.
All standards require that “equipment shall be designed and constructed to prevent the harborage of vermin and the accumulation of dirt and debris, and to facilitate the inspection, maintenance, servicing and cleaning.” This is further defined by requirements that specify: cleanable surfaces and corners; sealed, smooth permanent joints and seams; and restrictions on the use of fasteners in food contact areas.
NSF/ANSI Food Equipment Standards use unique terminology. For example, Removable and Readily Removable; Cleanable and Easily Cleanable; Accessible and Readily Accessible. Removable allows you to use simple tool (another unique term) while readily removable must be removed without the use of tools. Easily Cleanable requires that food and other soiling material may be removed cleaning by hand with appropriate cleaning tools. Cleanable allows the use of other cleaning methods.
Food Zone surfaces need to be readily accessible (exposed without the use of tools) and easily cleanable (food and other soiling material may be removed cleaning by hand with appropriate cleaning tools). If a readily accessible design is not feasible (for example, the tubing interior on a beverage dispenser), the manufacturer’s cleaning and sanitizing instructions can be verified by test.
Splash Zone surfaces need to be accessible (exposed with the use of simple tools) and easily cleanable (food and other soiling material may be removed cleaning by hand with appropriate cleaning tools).
Non-Food Zone surfaces need to be accessible and cleanable.
These standards include design and construction requirements for the design of legs and feet, casters, shelving, cutting boards, hinges, catches, handles and other hardware used on the equipment.
Material requirements are expanded upon in NSF/ANSI 51 – Food Equipment Materials and are similarly defined by the zone that the surface is in. Metallic materials are to be corrosion-resistant and are assessed against lists of acceptable alloys. Non-metallic materials in the Food Zone must be manufactured from or composed of substances that may not reasonably be expected to become a component of food, impart color, taste, or odor to food. They are generally recognized as safe (as defined by the FD&C Act or are regulated as indirect food additives under the US Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21 Sections 174 through 189 (21 CFR 174 – 189); or they are exempt from regulation under 21 CFR 170.39. NSF/ANSI 51 also specifically restricts the use of lead, arsenic, cadmium, or mercury as intentional ingredients. Food Zone materials need to be reviewed against these requirements by the certification agency. However, many material manufacturers have chosen to have their materials certified under NSF/ANSI 51 by one of the certification agencies.
Heated and refrigerated equipment need to be tested against temperature study test requirements, dishwashers need to pass cleaning and sanitizing test requirements, and equipment that is to be cleaned in place are seeded with bacteria and their cleaning and sanitizing instructions are put to test.
Dishwashing Equipment have Dish Contact Zones, Trash Compactors have Refuse Contact Zones, Powered Equipment have Power Zones.
Why you should Attend:
Commercial food equipment (restaurant kitchen appliances) needs to meet food protection and sanitation requirements for the materials, design, fabrication, construction and performance of food handling, processing, and storage equipment. In the past, these requirements were established by the AHJ – the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Today most AHJs defer to the NSF/ANSI Commercial Food Equipment Standards – and certification of the equipment by an ANSI-Accredited Certification Body (CB). NSF has been doing this for over 75 years; today there are four CBs: NSF, Intertek (ETL Semko), CSA International, and Underwriter’s Laboratories.
What are these food protection and sanitation requirements?
Areas Covered in the Session: