PHT-South Africa, a subsidiary of the global hygiene and technology company with the same name headquartered in Germany, recently donated a high end three-part hygiene facility worth R350 000 to the Department of Food Science at the University of Pretoria (UP).
This hygiene system (Mano Complete Type 23765/23775) installed at the entrance of the food processing pilot plant consists of three parts. The first part provides optimal hand sanitation, including synchronised hand hygiene, contact free activation and paperless hand drying. This leads to a log 5 (50 000 bacterial cells) microbial load reduction. The second part consists of an automated non-contact sensor-activated hand washing basin for washing and drying hands inside the processing plant. The last part is a sole cleaning system, equipped with rotating brushes with detergent for removing soil on shoes or boots.
The launch of this system took place at the Annual South African Society for Dairy Technology (SASDT) Students' Dairy Evening in August. As a sponsor of the event, PHT-South Africa's Director, Mrs Deléne Boshoff, mentioned how proud she was as an alumna of the Department of Food Science, to reciprocate, especially at a time when it is crucial to expose students to the latest food processing and hygiene technologies. This would familiarise students to advances in the sector prior to joining the food processing environment. 'In Germany, it is customary for food companies to partner with education and training institutions through provision of equipment and training. So on one of my visits to that country I decided to donate the state-of-the-art equipment to UP. I called the Head of Department to enquire whether if it was feasible,' Mrs Boshoff said.
On her part, the Head of the Department, Prof Elna Buys, mentioned how having such an advanced system – the first of its kind in South Africa – will expose students to the highest level of hygiene standards within food processing. The system reinforces the commitment that companies such as PHT-South Africa have in building capacity within food science in South Africa. They echo the 'public-private' partnerships as seen in many national and international development goals.
The evening also saw oral presentations from four honours, one masters' and two doctoral students whose research topics had a direct link to food safety within the dairy industry. Ms Rufaro Nduna (honours), Mr Richard Beardsley (master's) and Mr Thulani Sibanda (doctoral) took home prizes for best presentations in their respective groups. The evening culminated in a networking and interaction evening over dinner with dairy industry professionals and students.