Food processors are being invited to help shape standards for equipment under development by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
Scott Cedarquist, ASABE's director of standards and technical activities, outlined the initiative in a talk at IPPE, the International Production and Processing Expo, on Jan. 25. Basically, the initiative will consider incorporating existing European standards for processing and packaging equipment into the overall standards of ISO, the international organization for standardization.
Machinery manufacturers who want to export to Europe must already meet the standards, known as TC 326. The question is whether they should be incorporated into ISO as is or be altered.
"What we're trying to do is get word out that the standards are coming," says Jean Walsh, ASABE's standards administrator.
The TC 326 standards are specific to many kinds of processing and packaging equipment. Broadly speaking, priorities include hygienic design and safety for both products and workers, Walsh and Cedarquist say.
Under ISO rules, each country gets to deliver one set of input on proposed standards, and has one vote on them. ASABE is now soliciting commentary on the standards from processors and other players in the food chain.