General Information about Certification
Authorized EHEDG institutes are offering several types of certification to the benefit of both equipment suppliers and food manufacturers:
- Equipment suppliers:
Their equipment can be approved by EHEDG authorized organisations to be in compliance with EHEDG criteria. In certain cases, approval may only be granted after testing by a laboratory accredited by a notified body, using EHEDG test methods.
- Food manufacturers:
They may select hygienically designed equipment although acquirers must still validate that such equipment is adequate for its intended use.
EHEDG may authorise the use of the EHEDG Certification logo for equipment complying with the EHEDG hygienic design criteria at the date of issue (month + year). Certification may involve testing of equipment according to the certification class type.
EHEDG has authorised several institutes to certify the use of EHEDG compliance logo. Testing and certification are independent activities and may be done by different organisations.
The Test Methods Working Group consists of members from EHEDG Authorised Institutes who perform the EHEDG Test Methods, equipment manufacturers, food processors and Regulatory officials. The purpose of the Group is to maintain and develop test methods and assessment schemes for equipment to ensure the manufacture of safe and wholesome food. Guidelines on different test methods have been published and are reviewed periodically. New test methods are also under development, e.g. open equipment.
History about EHEDG Certification
Beginning in 2000, EHEDG established the EL certification scheme for liquid handling equipment. This EL certificate was mainly meant for equipment intended to be Cleaned In Place (CIP) without dismantling. The equipment was certified (and a logo placed on the equipment) if it met EHEDG Document No. 8 Hygienic design criteria. Equipment was subjected to practical testing using Guideline Doc 2 to demonstrate compensation for non-compliance for essential technical or functional reasons and suitability for cleaning in-place applications. Prolongation was required annually and the EL certificate included the original date of certification.
Due to many inquiries from the industry requesting certification of other component types, EHEDG began revising the EL certification scheme and introduced several new certificate types since 2009. Equipment is now categorized as class I and class II according to the definitions of equipment which can be cleaned in-place (class I) or must be dismantled for cleaning (class II). Equipment, which is used in aseptic applications, can be certified according type EL Aseptic. Another special type is the certificate for equipment used for dry cleaning procedures, type ED.
Certification of equipment now uses criteria in EHEDG Document No.8 and any additional criteria contained in other relevant Guidelines applicable to the equipment. These new certificates also list the elastomers that were tested.
The knowledge and the demands in the industry are changing over the time. Therefore EHEDG decided in 2014 to review the whole certification process and introduced a complete new scheme. New types of certificates were introduced to show an extra certificate for equipment used in open processes, beside the product contact, but could be soiled and must be cleaned in place. These kind of equipment (e.g. conveyor drive) are now categorized in type EL Class I AUX for auxiliary equipment. The existing type ED is divided into two categories according the EHEDG definition into type ED Class I and ED Class II.
The lifetime of the certificates does not end any more with a change of the design of the component. On a 5-year basis all certificates are checked if the requirements of testing and certification have been changed. If this is the case the certificate is out of date and must go through the whole certification process again.
Knowledge about Hygienic Design, materials and manufacturing processes is getting more and more. Only equipment, which is designed according the latest state of the art, is good enough to be installed in food processing plants to guarantee food safety. Consequently, only new certificates (not older than 5 years) are up to date. Old certificates are based on the requirements at that former time.