Elements of the Hygienic Zoning Program 

Always a detailed risk evaluation is needed it to build a robust sanitary zoning program. The following aspects are identified in this risk assessment: 

  • Areas with a medium risk, a low risk, and unregulated areas.
  • Zones of high-risk within zones of lower risk.
  • Certain portions of a plant may want to be quarantined to prevent existing risks from spreading, such as locations where raw meat or raw agricultural items are processed or stored, and areas where metal grinding and drilling take place.
  • Specific sites where the environment is at danger of change (area transitions).
  • Methods and means (vectors) for hazards to transfer from uncontrolled to higher-risk regions.
  • Vectors that carry known hazards across or near exposed products to higher-risk locations.
  • Disparities between current hygienic zoning protection and desired hygienic zoning protection. 

In their Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) risk assessment, when it comes to sanitary zoning, industries tend to concentrate solely on microbiological risks, but physical and chemical dangers must also be considered. Hygienic zoning policies can minimize danger, but vulnerabilities in these systems can raise risk. Environmental pathogen testing, master sanitation schedules, preventative maintenance plans for buildings and equipment, and associate training are all programs that affect hygienic zoning. Also, a very well-prepared risk assessment team must be in place. At a minimum, there should be representatives from production, sanitation, maintenance, facilities, and quality. It would also be great if the engineering and warehouse organizations got involved. The team leader must program the most at risk areas in the plant as the first assessment area. Typically, this will be an area with finished products on display, such as a packing room. Subsequent assessments will focus on progressively lower risk areas until all areas of the plant have been assessed.

Also, it is important to assess proper vector types and consider all of them, such as for example:

Wheeled Equipment

The World Health Organization has released a list of transportable items that could be used in the event of an outbreak. Portable conveyors, coders, carts, dollies, forklifts, jacks, chairs, and buggies are just a few examples. Gaps may exist due to a lack of required wheel disinfection between zones or the sharing of wheeled equipment between locations with varying levels of risk.

Traffic Patterns

The purpose of the walks patterns and who is walking is an important consideration. Also the identification of the potentials gaps is necessary to be identify. For example, unnecessary traffic into medium-risk and high-risk locations would be one example of a gap. Routes through damp flooring would have significant gaps.


The most typical way for organisms to travel around a factory is through water. “Water is to microbes what fuel is to fire,”. When there is less water in the environment, there are fewer organisms and less mobility of these species.


Trash, recyclables, human food that has been diverted to animal feed, and other similar materials collected in the evaluated area must be identified.


It’s crucial to evaluate personal tools, operator tools, and sanitation cleaning gear. Insanitary storage conditions are a common source of contamination. Some tools, such as cabinets, racks, and shadow boards, have their own specific location and storage. Foreign material dangers arise from improper use and maintenance. Insanitary storage and damaged or missing rubber or chromium coating are examples of flaws. Sanitizing equipment prior to use on food contact surfaces or storing tools over exposed product are both significant flaws.

Building Structure

The general condition of the building structure is very important as well. For example: rusty pipes, peeling paint, deteriorating cinder block walls, uncovered skylights, drain lines immediately above exposed merchandise, and failing floors and drains are just a few examples of common gaps.

Air Handling

The type, condition and maintenance of all parts and conditions of the general air handling system is important. For example intakes and exhaust, conduits, screens, louvers, filters amongst others.

Factory Floor Verification

The actual area assessment in order to determine its accuracy is important for this type of assessments.


All this vectors, including its identified gaps and deficiencies must be very well documented to determine the proper corrective actions to taken and next proceedings. These will be part of the outputs of the risk assessments for further evaluations by the proper specialized involved personnel.


A thorough risk assessment identifying high, medium, and low risk areas, the respective hazards, and methods (vectors) that affect those dangers is the critical element of a robot-providing hygiene project. The value of barriers and routines to monitor hazardous movement will become apparent when these hazards and vectors are identified. This will make it easier for employees, visitors, and contractors to learn about this value.