Contamination of products produced in food processing plants is a major cause of public health risks. Food recalls can destroy a brand too - remember what happened to Topps Meat Company in 2007?
A food recall can potentially cost a food company millions of dollars from lost sales, the recall execution process, and brand reputation management.
To prevent food contamination and food recalls, food manufacturing plants should be proactive when it comes to public safety. A public safety initiative can be reached through the implementation of a company-wide voluntary compliance with food inspection and preventative controls that adhere to the standards set by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The Importance of Clean Uniforms
Safe food processing starts with your food plant employee uniforms. Make sure your uniform company useslaundering methods that meet Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) with a uniform wash cycle that includes uniform sorting based on soil level, color or material, food industry specialized wash formulas and finishing processes, and poly bag options.
Your food processing uniforms should be hygienically clean and sanitized. Depending on your food manufacturing process, uniforms may include butcher coats, coveralls, jackets, pants, clogs, or steel shoes and boots. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) may include hard hats, hair nets, caps, visors, masks, rubber aprons, rubber gloves, or rubber boots.
Preventing a Class 1 Recall
Class 1 recalls are most often due to bacterial food contamination and pose the greatest potential to have a negative impact on public health, sometimes causing death by food poisoning. The most common bacterial contamination comes from E.coli, Salmonella, Coliform, and Staphylococcus. The foods most susceptible to bacteria contamination include eggs, milk, chicken, meat, soups, and sauces.
It is imperative for food processing plants to demand quality assurance at all levels of food production, starting with food manufacturing employees.
Employees can inadvertently contaminate food with poor personal hygiene and the insufficient cleaning of food processing equipment. The key to avoid a Class 1 recall is to set clear standards.
Food Processing Employee Hygiene Guidlines
- Clean hands, clean hair, clean skin and nails
- Body odor and heavy fragrances can contaminate food
- Follow proper hand washing procedures
- Adherence to personal item and jewelry policies
- Keep food processing uniforms and PPE clean and in good condition
- Teach employees about the proper reporting procedure for when a contamination does happen. Be specific on how your employees must label contaminated food, alert management, and follow traceability procedures.
- Establish a uniform policy:
- What uniform pieces should they wear?
- In what order should employees put their uniform pieces on?
- When and where should employees put their uniforms on?
- How should soiled uniforms be handled?
- How should uniform repair and replacement requests be handled?
- Set hand washing procedures:
- What temperature of water should be used?
- What type of soap should be used?
- Where are hand washing stations located?
- After what types of activities should employees wash their hands?
- Set food processing equipment cleaning procedures:
- How often should equipment be cleaned?
- What are the steps for cleaning specific types of equipment?
- What are the proper cleaning chemical and tools to be used?
A food recall is the last thing a food processing company wants as the negative impact has an exponential reach. By setting standards and educating your food processing workers, you will be well on your way to meeting food processing regulations and preventing a Class 1 recall.
Clean Rental is the expert in renting and cleaning food processing uniforms. Clean Rental ensures food processing uniform cleaning and uniform delivery meet your food manufacturing plant's needs by providing specialty detergents and adhering to your specific handling and temperature washing procedures. Clean Rental's employees are routinely trained to ensure your food processing uniforms meet industry standards established by the FDA, USDA, and HACCP. Contact Clean Rental today for information about food processing uniforms for your food processing, food distribution, or food manufacturing business.