Guideline Cover

Doc. 49 Hygienic Design Requirement for processing of fresh fish

First Edition, October 2017


The guideline is intended to provide guidance on hygienic design criteria for equipment manufacturers (when designing the equipment) and the plant for the fish industry (during the procurement process and installation, plant design and microbiological sampling). It stresses the current best practices in design of fish processing equipment and plant to highlight typical hazards and challenges of fish processing and emphasizes the importance of control of the environment.

This guideline does not cover other sources of hazards (air, water, personnel).

Microbial contamination of fish during processing may arise from various sources including processing equipment and plant that has not been hygienically designed or adequately cleaned and disinfected. All surfaces, whether in direct contact with product or not, may harbour sources of contamination of fish. Fish processing equipment reported as sources of pathogenic bacteria (particularly Listeria) include conveyors, washing tanks, trimming tables, gutting machines including vacuum systems, filleting, trimming, skinning and pin-boning machines, refrigerated water systems and ice-machines. Floors and drains are also important sources of pathogenic and spoilage bacteria in the plant.

To ensure safe product through adequate cleaning and disinfection programs, both the equipment and plant used for processing and handling food (fishery) products must be designed, fabricated, constructed and installed according to sound hygienic design principles.

Although different stages of processing and manufacturing may demand different risk based hygienic design solutions, the fundamental principle of the design of equipment must be to reduce the probability that relevant microorganisms may concentrate or be allowed to hide and increase.

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