Understanding 3-A Sanitary Standards

Understanding 3-A Sanitary Standards

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Are you familiar with the 3-A Sanitary Standards? If not, then you should be. These standards are important for the health and safety of all parts washing operations. The 3-A Sanitary Standards set out specific requirements for design, construction, and operation of food processing and packaging equipment in order to ensure that they meet a certain level of sanitary performance. In addition, they are used to help ensure that parts washing operations are safe and effective.  

Ensuring food safety requires food and beverage processing and handling equipment to be designed, constructed, and installed according to sanitary design principles is the goal of this organization. The equipment is hygienically designed so it can be adequately cleaned and sanitized. Guidelines require that surfaces in contact with food must be corrosion-resistant, made of non-toxic materials, and impervious to contaminants and pathogens to protect consumers from potential risks of food contamination. This blog post will provide an overview of 3-A Sanitary Standards and explain why they are necessary for parts washing. 

What IS 3-A Sanitary Standards?

3-A Sanitary Standards, Inc. is an independent, voluntary standards organization aiming to advance food safety through hygienic equipment design. Various interest groups representing regulators, processors, and equipment manufacturers established the organization with the goal to: 

  • Protect food from contamination
  • Ensure all food product contact surfaces can be mechanically cleaned.
  • Equipment can be dismantled easily for manual cleaning or inspection.

In particular, the organization is comprised of three groups of volunteers who develop and update all 3-A Sanitary Standards and 3-A Accepted Practices: 

  1. Government agencies such as the USDA and FDA 
  2. Food processors and manufacturers 
  3. Equipment manufacturers that build equipment used in food processing 

How are 3-A Sanitary Standards Met?

The 3-A criteria help companies comply with USDA requirements and develop the required written food safety plan and preventive controls to comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

Additionally, to receive 3-A certification, processing equipment must undergo a Third Party Verification process to ensure that it meets 3-A standards. Although 3-A has standards and certification for equipment, it provides Accepted Practices for complete systems comprised of separate equipment components. Equipment such as pumps and heaters have standards; however, when built into a system, that system is built into an Accepted Practice but needs to be certified. 

What are the General Aspects of Sanitary Design and Construction of Food Equipment?

Food equipment surfaces are classified into 1) food product contact surfaces and 2) non-product contact surfaces. 

Food Product Contact Surfaces 

For sanitary design, food product contact surfaces should be: 

  • smooth
  • impervious
  • nonporous
  • non-absorbent
  • free of cracks and crevices
  • corrosive resistant
  • non-contaminating
  • non-toxic
  • durable
  • cleanable

Non-Product Contact Surfaces 

Non-product contact surfaces of food equipment can cultivate pathogens and harbor insects and rodents. For this reason, these surfaces must be constructed with appropriate materials and fabricated to be cleanable, corrosion-resistant, and maintenance-free. 

What kind of metals meet 3-A Standards? 

Stainless steel is the preferred metal for food contact surfaces because of its durability and corrosion resistance. Generally, 3-A Sanitary Standards require 304 stainless steel for most surfaces. Manufacturers, however, typically use 316 as it is the most corrosion-resistant steel used in food and pharma applications. They only allow 304 stainless steel for utility usage. 

What kind of Non-metals meet 3-a Standards? 

Various non-metal materials (i.e., glass and rubber) used in equipment, such as probes, gaskets, and membranes, are also food contact surfaces. These materials should also meet the same sanitary design and cleanability requirements as metals. 

Internal Angles 

Internal angles should be covered or rounded; there is no seam.   

Permanent Joints 

All joints should be smooth and durable. Equipment standards generally stipulate that welded joints on stainless steel product contact surfaces be continuous. 

Connections and Attachments 

Connecting pipes, probes, thermometers, etc., must be combined in a way that does not create a dead-end or area where food particulates can accumulate. 

How does Better Engineering Part Washing Equipment Meet 3-A Standards?

Better Engineering designed our sanitary line of (316) stainless steel cleaning systems to the highest hygienic standards with industry-leading capabilities. These fully automatic machines are generally built to “clean design principles” and meet virtually all 3-A standards, although not 3A certified. Cabinets are sterile by design, with sanitary spray and dry manifolds, sloped floors to avoid standing water, and continuous inside welding (TIG). 

Except for continuous conveyor systems, all systems feature a self-cleaning work tank that can fill and empty with each stage. They have an “open architecture” for complete access. Options include an optional holding tank to reuse the wash solution, an optional hot water supply tank, and an optional drying stage. Furthermore, the systems can incorporate robotic integration, multi-lane, adjustable lane options, and steam or electric heating. 

Moreover, different food processing operations require other cleaning methods. With this in mind, available systems are tailor-made to the food and beverage industries and include: 

  • batch washers
  • bin washers
  • vat washers
  • rack washers
  • turntable cabinet washers
  • conveyor/tunnel washers
  • other custom-made solutions

Significantly, these highly versatile systems optimize production processes and ensure effective hygienic cleaning and sanitizing of various food and beverage processing equipment and parts. 

How do 3-A standards apply to parts washing?

It turns out that many of the same principles that apply to food and pharmaceutical processing also apply to industrial parts cleaning. This is especially true when it comes to sanitization, which is a crucial part of the parts washing process.  

When we talk about sanitization in the context of parts washing, we’re referring to the process of removing any harmful contaminants from the parts that are being cleaned. This is important for a variety of reasons – for example, contaminated parts can lead to product failures or recalls down the line, which can be costly and damaging to a company’s reputation.

how do 3-A Sanitary Standards come into play when it comes to sanitization in parts washing?

Essentially, these standards provide a framework for ensuring that any equipment or materials used in the parts washing process are designed and fabricated in a way that minimizes the risk of contamination. This includes things like choosing materials that are easy to clean and don’t harbor bacteria, and designing equipment that allows for thorough cleaning and inspection.  

In summary, 3-A Sanitary Standards are a set of guidelines designed to ensure the safety and integrity of food and pharmaceutical products. However, many of these same principles apply to industrial parts cleaning, particularly when it comes to sanitization. By following 3-A Standards in the parts washing process, companies can help to ensure that the parts they produce are free of harmful contaminants and meet the highest standards of quality and safety. 

Why do 3-A Sanitary Standards Apply to Parts Washing?

The primary goal of 3-A Sanitary Standards is to ensure the safety and quality of food products. However, these standards also apply to parts washing because of the crucial role sanitization plays in the process. Parts washing machines are often used in industries where cleanliness and sanitation are paramount, such as the food, pharmaceutical, and medical device industries. Any contamination from previous cycles can lead to serious safety and quality issues. Thus, the application of 3-A Sanitary Standards in parts washing helps to minimize the risk of cross-contamination and ensure the effective removal of contaminants, resulting in clean and safe parts. Additionally, these standards promote consistent cleaning procedures and proper equipment design and maintenance, ultimately enhancing the overall efficiency of the parts washing process. 

How do 3-A Sanitary Standards Affect Parts Washing?

3-A Sanitary Standards are important in maintaining cleanliness and preventing the spread of bacteria and other harmful microorganisms. These standards ensure that equipment used in the food and beverage industry is clean and sanitized to avoid any contamination of products. 

In the parts washing industry, following these standards means that parts are not only clean but also sanitized to prevent any possible contamination when used in the manufacturing process. It is important to note that sanitization goes beyond just removing visible dirt and debris. It also involves using specific chemicals and processes to ensure that the parts are free from any harmful bacteria or viruses that could lead to product contamination. 

When 3-A Sanitary Standards are followed in parts washing, it results in a safe and effective cleaning process. Parts are not only cleaned thoroughly but are also sanitized, ensuring that they are safe to use in the manufacturing process without risking any product contamination. 

In addition to ensuring that parts are clean and sanitized, following 3-A Sanitary Standards in parts washing also means that the equipment used is designed to prevent the buildup of dirt and bacteria. This helps in ensuring that the cleaning process is always effective and consistent. 

Overall, 3-A Sanitary Standards play a crucial role in the parts washing industry. By following these standards, manufacturers can ensure that their products are free from contamination and that their processes are safe and effective. 

What are the Benefits of Following 3-A Sanitary Standards in Parts Washing?

The benefits of following 3-A Sanitary Standards in parts washing are significant. By adhering to these standards, you can ensure that your equipment and processes meet strict sanitation guidelines. This will help you to prevent contamination and ensure that your parts washing is safe and effective. 

Sanitization is a key component of the 3-A Sanitary Standards. This means that equipment and processes are designed to promote the efficient and effective removal of contaminants from parts. This can include debris, grease, oils, and other materials that can affect the performance of the parts and the cleanliness of the equipment. 

By using parts washing equipment that meets 3-A Sanitary Standards, you can be confident that your parts are being properly cleaned and sanitized. This can help to extend the lifespan of your parts and equipment, and reduce the risk of costly downtime and repairs. 

In addition, following 3-A Sanitary Standards can also help to improve the overall efficiency of your parts washing process. By using equipment that is designed for easy cleaning and maintenance, you can minimize downtime and reduce the need for frequent repairs and maintenance. 

Ultimately, by following 3-A Sanitary Standards in parts washing, you can ensure that your equipment is safe, efficient, and effective. This can help you to maintain the quality and consistency of your products, reduce the risk of contamination, and ensure that your customers are satisfied with your products and services. 

What is Our Promise to Quality?

Better Engineering’s sanitization machines offer the highest quality levels with trackable and repeatable results that don’t change over time. Our machines meet all regulatory food and safety standards SMA, HACCP, and GMP set. Furthermore, our research lab can demonstrate the full potential of our washing systems using your parts. Send us the items you want to be cleaned, and we will test them to find the best machine recommendation. Contact us for a free test parts cleaning. We guarantee we’ll find a solution that meets all your needs- it’s part of our commitment to customer satisfaction! 

In Conclusion

In conclusion, 3-A Sanitary Standards play an important role in ensuring the safety and effectiveness of parts washing. By adhering to these standards, manufacturers can provide customers with high-quality parts washing systems that meet the highest levels of cleanliness and sanitization. Failure to follow these standards can result in contamination, costly recalls, and even harm to individuals who come into contact with the washed parts. At Better Engineering, we recognize the importance of 3-A Sanitary Standards and have implemented them into our parts washing systems to ensure the best possible results for our customers. By choosing a parts washer that meets these standards, you can have peace of mind knowing that your parts are being thoroughly cleaned and sanitized to prevent contamination and ensure quality. 

Updated June 23rd, 2023



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