In January 2011, President Barack Obama signed The Food Safety Modernization Act. This act gave the Food and Drug Administration power to regulate how food is grown, harvested and processed. This law was proposed following several outbreaks of food-related illness and tainted food during the 2000s.
Since manual applications of food handling have a higher rate of error and chance of contamination, material handling robots are being brought in so facilities can hold up to the new standards and regulations.
Not only do robots promote a more sterilized environment, they also take more precise counts during production, which leads to the ability to track a package that might be tainted back to its origins.
Food material handling robotic systems have a protection rating of IP 67, meaning that they are not only coated to withstand rusting and growth of bacteria, but they are also dust-proof. These robots are versatile enough to perform several different material handling applications, including pick and place and packaging.
Along with standing up to regulations, food material handling robots speed up production. Some robots can pick 220 food items per minute. The food material handling systems also raise safety levels by removing human workers from taxing, tedious and sometimes injury-inducing jobs.