A wave of change is coming as engineering for the future of food safety is inspired by the solutions necessitated by the COVID pandemic, predicts Greg Janzow, Haskell Director of Food Safety.

January 16, 2024

Airflow, Allergens and Automation Among Evolving Food Safety Topics

Learn how the design and engineering of food processing plants are now incorporating lessons learned during the pandemic's supply-chain disruptions.


The beverage industry has undergone significant evolution since Haskell performed the first of more than 1,000 jobs for Anheuser Busch (now AB InBev) 45-plus years ago. Similarly, food production is vastly different than it was four decades back when Haskell’s initial project for Frito-Lay took team members to the first of 50 cities in 30 states and five countries.

Now Greg Janzow, Haskell’s Director of Food Safety, says another wave of change is coming as engineering for the future of food safety is inspired by the solutions necessitated by the COVID pandemic.

“The pandemic really disrupted our food supply,” Janzow said. “We know something is going to happen again to disrupt the food supply, and as engineers, we need to be prepared for whatever comes next. It’s all about innovating solutions.”

Food Industry Expertise
Haskell has been ranked in the Top 5 of Engineering News-Record’s Food & Beverage Manufacturing Contractors for the past 12 years, including seven consecutive years in the Top 2. Our expertise spans the grocery aisles, from emerging sustainable proteins and pre-packaged food service items to confectionery sweets and baked snacks.

Janzow has more than two decades of experience on both the facility management and contractor sides of the food production industry and offers deep subject matter expertise in highly regulated food and beverage manufacturing operations.

He said measures like temperature monitoring, air purification and distancing, while already standards to some degree, will be incorporated into the design and engineering of food processing plants.

Environmental control through air purification in food processing is essential. Contaminated air carries microorganisms and dust. Clients and employees must have confidence that a facility is removing contaminants.

Allergens are a critical issue in food processing, Janzow said. And a new one – sesame seeds – recently has been added to the list by the Food and Drug Administration.

“Allergens are one of the FDA’s top three reasons for product recall,” he said, “and it’s enormously expensive to a company in terms of money and reputation.”

In engineering, detectability is critical in the airflow and the production line, so there needs to be technology for eliminating the allergen and a detection methodology to validate the absence of residue.

Janzow also thinks the industry will see touchless factories.

“Handwashing is still one of the best practices to reduce the transfer of microorganisms and contamination,” he said. “But reducing the need for hands to be involved in completing a task goes to the next level.”

Food processing plants can be designed and engineered to automate or eliminate doors, automate handwashing and sanitation and integrate food cleaning technology, he said.

Although many are still in their infancy, robotics and similar technologies can reduce the number of people in an operation and their proximity to each other. Those advancements save money for companies, reduce mundane work and enhance human safety.

Haskell’s large and growing engineering teams span the engineering disciplines and include specialists in all facets of engineer, procure, construct (EPC) solutions. Having ranked as one of Engineering News-Record’s (ENR) top-two-ranked Food & Beverage Contractors each of the past seven years, it is well-positioned to update an existing facility or build the manufacturing center of the future from concept to commissioning.

Haskell’s Process, Packaging and Food Safety expertise is unparalleled in the architectural, engineering and construction industry. Contact our teams to stay ahead of the production curve.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

Related News & Insights

Privacy Policy

Our website uses technology to offer you a personalized experience. We need your consent use cookies in accordance with our privacy policy. By clicking “Accept,” you agree to our use of cookies.