For processors of low-moisture foods, finding the right equipment is enough of a challenge—let alone knowing which mechanical specifications are necessary for a piece of equipment to conform to which particular food safety regulatory rules. To simplify the building and selection of equipment used in low-moisture food applications, PMMI’s Alliance for Innovation & Operational Excellence (AIOE) has distilled the best specifications from appropriate sources and galvanized them in the document, “One Voice for Hygienic Equipment Design for Low-Moisture Foods.”

Led by AIOE’s Engineering Solutions Group, the One Voice initiative for low-moisture foods released its Draft 1.4 document for peer review in early May. It is expected to be finalized and published in time for this year’s PACK EXPO. Developed through an industry collaboration of consumer packaged goods (CPGs) and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the document provides a uniform approach to the basic criteria for hygienic equipment design in low-moisture food manufacturing, according to Stephen Perry, AIOE managing director.

The document has two parts. Part 1 describes the joint collaborative process, while Part 2 contains design criteria and information provided by several industry sources and compiled into a “what is important and how to achieve the basic hygienic design needs” tool. Part 2 also includes general information and references, definitions, construction materials, and equipment design and construction.

While the document doesn’t pretend to be the final authority on every piece of equipment found on the plant floor, it does offer hope for common design practices for a vast majority of equipment. “It is a uniform approach to the most common non-proprietary equipment designs to meet basic food safety requirements,” says Perry. “We hear the CPGs and OEMs in the group saying that, instead of having so many design variations for base-level equipment used in low-moisture foods manufacturing, let’s agree on a ‘base model’ that satisfies the design criteria for 70 to 80 percent of the various pieces of equipment.”

Of course, OEMs may design more food safety features into their equipment if they wish, and CPGs can ask for more “bells and whistles;” the concern is creating equipment that at least satisfies the basic food safety requirements that pertain to it. “We are not writing any new standards, guidelines or checklists, per se,” adds Perry. “We are not a standards development organization [SDO] and don’t intend to be. We rely on 3-A where it’s appropriate, or ANSI, ISO or EHEDG. For example, some processors and OEMs were using USDA, while others used GMA or AMI. This document is an attempt to help them cut through all these standards and get to a common, food-safe point in their designs.”

The goal of One Voice is to simplify equipment design solely for non-proprietary applications. “We try to eliminate the ‘one-offs.’ If it’s not proprietary, why re-invent it?” asks Perry. The goal is to get to 80 percent agreement, perhaps more, on basic design criteria through One Voice in five years. Of course, reaching 100 percent in the future is probably impractical since there will never be total agreement on any one design.

Perry expects the final document to be ready in early October. “We’ll be doing a session at this year’s PACK EXPO, and we’ll have presentations at PMMI and other industry events. We’ve already done a couple of successful webinars on One Voice with Food Engineering, so there is a lot of interest from both processors and the OEM community.”

The One Voice project has the support of many processors and OEMs, including Snyder’s-Lance, ConAgra Foods, Cargill, Interbake Foods, Campbell Soup, Kellogg, MOM Brands, Post Foods, Land O’ Lakes, Intralox, GE, Kollmorgen, Hosokawa Bepex, ADCO Manufacturing and many more.

Watch for more on “One Voice for Hygienic Equipment Design for Low-Moisture Foods” in future editions of FE.

For more information, contact Stephen Perry of AIOE at,

To learn more about sanitary equipment design, see pages 81-91 in Food Engineering’s April 2014 edition.