Hygienic coating approved for the F&B industry
In Australia, many industries deal with strict hygiene and other regulations for safety reasons. The food and beverage industry together with health care and chemical sectors are the most regulated businesses when it comes to safety and sanitation. Therefore, hygienic coating is in a crucial position in these sectors; it keeps surfaces free from bacteria, preventing contamination and contributing to safety.
As uses of hygienic coatings are numerous, the focus of this article lies on the hygienic coating for food and beverage industry. We will outline the different hygiene coatings for floors and wall as well as taking a look at the Australian regulations for food safety regarding construction and design.
The general requirements for hygienic coating in places where food is prepared, processed or treated include:
- Easy to maintain and durable; hard, impervious, and non-absorbent
- Prevents contamination during and between tasks
- Easy to clean and chemical resistant allowing for disinfection
- Minimises airborne contamination and prevents fungi and mould growth
3 signs of a high quality hygienic coating
A hygiene coating must be seamless, easy to clean and resistant to aggressive cleaning chemicals. When you are looking for a hygienic paint, you will want it to be antibacterial or antimicrobial, and to conform to food safety regulations. When choosing a hygienic coating pay attention to the following three things:
- HACCP certification to make sure requirements are met
- Whether they conform with the relevant Standards
- Antimicrobial additives such as silver to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth
If the hygienic paint fulfills all the aforementioned requirements, you know you are dealing with a coating that certainly helps your facility meet the strict construction and design standards.
HACCP coating – globally recognised
The most important of the three factors is the correct certification. HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) is a globally recognised benchmark for food safety, its main purpose being minimising foodborne illnesses by providing an advisory framework for facility construction and design. The Australian food safety authorities also recognise and rely on the HACCP certification.
An HACCP coating is therefore certified to meet both national and international. Additionally, goods produced in facilities with HACCP certification are more easily exported than those without, especially to other HACCP-recognising countries like the United States.
Hygiene coatings for floors form the basis of clean environment
Australia New Zealand Food Authority specifies requirements for floors in areas where food is handled, excluding dining areas, drinking areas and other areas open for public. According to the publication Food safe Australia, the floors must be suitable for the area in terms of cleaning opportunities and contamination prevention.
In fact, an absolutely hygienic environment cannot be achieved unless also the floor contributes to preventing bacterial growth and spread. Therefore, hygiene coatings for floors are of key importance in many food processing facilities. The right type of hygienic coating for floors is dependent on what is expected from the floor itself. Therefore, we have drawn up 5 scenarios where you may need hygienic coatings for floors, to help you identify the most suitable hygienic coating for your project.
1. A decorative finish is required for a light or mid-duty area
When you require a decorative finish your best choice is a polyurethane floor paint, available in a wide range of colours. As well as having an attractive finish, it is flexible underfoot and pleasant to walk on – perfect for foot traffic or restaurant flooring, for example.
Coatings: Polyurethane coatings
2. Hygiene must be maintained in a heavy duty area
In heavy duty food processing plants such as dairy production plants, slaughterhouses and distilleries, the floor must be absolutely resistant to abrasion by vehicular and foot traffic as well as heavy mechanical loads. In those cases the best option is a hygienic epoxy floor coating.
Coatings: epoxy resin floor coatings
3. Fast return to service is necessary
A food processing plant cannot always accommodate long shutdowns for coating procedures. To avoid lengthy downtime, you need a coating that is fast to apply and cure. In such a case, you should look for either MMA coatings or polyurea, for which the curing time is between 30 seconds and 2 minutes. These coatings are suitable for medium traffic areas and are easy to clean (and keep clean).
Coatings: MMA (methyl methacrylate) coatings, polyurea floor coatings
4. Hygiene coatings must be applied but food is present during the application
Sometimes a hygienic coating for floors is urgently needed, and the presence of foodstuffs during application cannot be avoided. Then you must look for hygienic coatings for floors which have a minimum VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) content, such as a 100% solids coating. These coatings can also be applied as thick layers, reducing the need for extra coats. The application of these coatings may take longer than applying alternatives. Another option is a water based hygienic paint for floors which is faster to apply than 100% solids yet it may not be as durable.
Coatings: 100% solids epoxy or polyurethane, waterborne flooring systems
5. The concrete floor is damaged but requires a hygienic paint with minimum effort
You are opening a new business but the floor is in a very bad condition, or your floor requires a new layer of hygienic coating but the current layer is damaged. To minimise downtime and avoid high surface preparation costs, you should look for a self smoothing system; it is easy to apply and it fills in gaps and cracks requiring less preparation work.
Coatings: self smoothing flooring systems
Hygienic coating for walls to protect vertical surfaces
Also walls of food processing – and preparing areas are subject to similar regulations as floors. They must be appropriate for the area and protect food from contamination. They must be easy to clean and they must inhibit pests. Sometimes it is required that the walls and ceilings protecting food are sealed to further prevent dust, dirt and pests in the area; the sealing is often done by coatings that rely on nanotechnology.
Additionally, there are three types of resin coatings that, when they contain the appropriate antimicrobial additives, can be applied as hygienic wall coatings:
- Epoxy: This the most durable of the hygienic wall coatings. It is extremely chemical resistant and endures abrasion; you can even use a pressure washer to clean it.
- Polyurethane: As on the floor, so on the walls. These hygiene coatings are decorative, easy to clean, and able to resist chemicals and medium abrasion.
- Acrylic: These hygienic wall coatings are easy and fast to apply, yet they may not provide the best abrasion and chemical resistance. This means that they should be used on areas that have a lower risk for contamination.
Hygienic paint specialists in Australia
In most cases the application of hygiene coatings should be left to a professional, certified contractor. Not only may the application be complex, but the surface also needs to meet standards; only a certified contractor can provide you with the appropriate documentation proving the coatings’ contribution to overall hygiene and proving their compliance with the Australian food safety standards. To make your search a little easier we have compiled a list of Australian hygienic coating specialists. In case you require more information about the local contractors, or wish to find HACCP coatings for F&B sector, do not hesitate to contact us. We at Coating.com.au are happy to help!