3A Sanitary Standards for milk dairy industry

What are 3A Sanitary Standards and Why are They Important for Your Process Equipment?

If you’re in the food, beverage, dairy, or pharmaceutical industry, you know how important it is to maintain high standards of hygiene and sanitation for your process equipment. You also know how challenging it can be to comply with various regulations and requirements that ensure the safety and quality of your products. That’s where 3A sanitary standards come in. In this blog post, we’ll explain what 3A sanitary standards are, why they are important for your process equipment, and how Plygen Industries can help you meet them.

What are 3A Sanitary Standards?

3A sanitary standards are a set of voluntary standards and practices that specify the design, fabrication, installation, and maintenance of process equipment used in the food, beverage, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries. The standards are developed and maintained by the 3-A Sanitary Standards Inc. (3-A SSI), a non-profit organization that represents equipment manufacturers, processors, regulatory agencies, and other stakeholders.

The purpose of 3A sanitary standards is to ensure that process equipment is designed and constructed in a way that prevents contamination, facilitates cleaning and sanitization, and protects product integrity. The standards cover various aspects of process equipment, such as materials of construction, surface finish, weld quality, gaskets and seals, valves and fittings, pumps and mixers, heat exchangers and tanks, etc.

To understand 3A sanitary standards better, it is helpful to know some key terms:

  • 3-A Symbol: This is a registered mark that indicates that a piece of equipment has been verified by an accredited third-party evaluator to meet the 3A sanitary standards. The 3A symbol provides assurance to processors and regulators that the equipment is hygienic and safe.
  • Certified Conformance Evaluator (CCE): This is an individual who has been trained and authorized by 3-A SSI to conduct evaluations of equipment for compliance with 3A sanitary standards. A CCE can issue a 3A symbol authorization to an equipment manufacturer after verifying that the equipment meets the standards.
  • Sanitary Standard: This is a document that specifies the minimum sanitary requirements for a single item of equipment or a group of related items of equipment. A sanitary standard includes criteria for materials of construction, design features, fabrication techniques, installation methods, etc.

3A Sanitary Standards and The Dairy Industry

3-A Sanitary Standards have a longstanding history in the dairy industry, ensuring equipment and utensils meet stringent requirements. These standards are also applicable to systems like culinary steam or air used in contact with dairy products. They help comply with USDA regulations, as well as the Grade “A” Pasteurized Milk Ordinance and the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The key terms emphasized are “cleanable,” “readily accessible,” and “substantially flush.”

Cleanable: Equipment must be designed for easy cleaning, sanitizing, and inspection, employing methods like clean in place, clean out of place, or manual cleaning. Environmental monitoring is crucial for verifying sanitation controls for ready-to-eat foods exposed to the environment.

Readily accessible: Equipment surfaces should be accessible for cleaning, sanitizing, and inspection, regardless of the cleaning method. Dead ends that are not reachable by cleaning solutions should be avoided. The equipment should be located in a position easily reached by personnel for cleaning and maintenance.

Substantially flush: Gasketed joints and components must have mating surfaces that are nearly flush, with no more than a 1/32 inch (0.794 millimeter) offset, except for pipeline and tubular piping welds, which must meet AWS/ANSI D18.1 standards. Surfaces that are not substantially flush require disassembly for effective cleaning.

Why are 3A Sanitary Standards Important for Your Process Equipment?

Complying with 3A sanitary standards can provide many benefits for your process equipment and your business. Here are some of the reasons why 3A sanitary standards are important for your process equipment:

  • Safety: By following 3A sanitary standards, you can ensure that your process equipment is safe and sanitary for handling food, beverage, dairy, or pharmaceutical products. This can prevent contamination, spoilage, or infection that could harm your customers or consumers.
  • Quality: By following 3A sanitary standards, you can ensure that your process equipment is designed and constructed to preserve the quality and integrity of your products. This can prevent product degradation, loss of flavor or aroma, or alteration of chemical or physical properties that could affect your product performance or shelf life.
  • Compliance: By following 3A sanitary standards, you can ensure that your process equipment meets or exceeds the regulatory requirements and expectations of various agencies and organizations, such as the FDA, USDA, NSF, etc. This can help you avoid fines, penalties, or legal actions that could damage your reputation or business.
  • Competitiveness: By following 3A sanitary standards, you can demonstrate your commitment to quality and safety to your customers and consumers. This can help you gain trust, loyalty, and preference in the market and differentiate yourself from your competitors.

How Plygen Industries Can Help You Meet 3A Sanitary Standards

At Plygen Industries, we understand the importance of 3A sanitary standards for your process equipment. That’s why we offer a wide range of high-quality stainless steel process equipment that meets or exceeds 3A sanitary standards for various industries, such as food processing equipment, cosmetics processing equipment, chemical and pharmaceutical processing equipment, brewing and fermentation equipment, etc.

Our process equipment is designed and manufactured using high-quality stainless steel materials that are durable, corrosion-resistant, and easy to clean. Our process equipment also features smooth surfaces, sanitary welds, sanitary gaskets and seals, sanitary valves and fittings etc. that prevent contamination and facilitate cleaning and sanitization.