Helping You and the People Around You to Stay Healthy
Helping to Ensure a Clean, Safe Environment
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only three percent to five percent of foodborne illness outbreaks have been traced to food processing plants failures. However rare, when outbreaks occur, the consequences to the manufacturer can be catastrophic! Typically, implications include product recalls, legal repercussions, erosion of public confidence, loss of sales and drop in stock value.
When a foodborne illness is linked to a processing plant, the effects can be crippling because of rapid distribution of goods and consolidated supply lines. For this reason, depending on the type of food prepared and the manner in which food workers handle it, proper hygiene can be of significant importance at food processing plants.
Contamination can be introduced during shipment or storage with raw materials, from environmental sources, such as air, water, and facility surfaces, or by plant personnel, if personal hygiene lapses occur. These are areas that should be considered when developing your standard sanitation operating plan.
Poor personal hygiene, inadequate cooking, contaminated equipment, raw materials and unclean facilities all contribute to foodborne illnesses. Implementing responsible hygiene practices, both individually and company wide, is an important step you can take to keep food processing facilities safe.
"The easiest way to reduce the spread of germs is the simplest and most effective, and it's old, tried and true -- Hand Washing, using warm water, soap and friction."
Jane Tustin R.N., President of the National Association of School Nurses
The main obstacles that prevent proper Hand Washing in schools are lack of education, supervision, motivation, supplies and equipment. School administrators need to make Hand Washing a priority and schedule time for students to wash their hands throughout the day.
Implementing a Hand Washing program in your school not only reduces the rate of infection, but also lowers absenteeism. High absenteeism creates an economic trickle effect that keeps parents home from work to care for their sick children, increases costs for substitute teachers, creates a burden on teachers who must play "catch up" with the absent kids, and ultimately affects school funding - which is determined by measures of both attendance and performance.
Rags, towels and sponges can harbor dangerous pathogens. Use of disposable paper products and hands-free dispensers can greatly help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
Food processors must identify and control potential hazards, while at the same time comply with government/industry regulations, and keep operating costs in check. Use of anti-bacterial soap, hygiene requirement signs, Hand Washing stations, and personal hygiene training are sanitation practices most often enforced the by the USDA. The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system can help to ensure food safety and regulatory requirements are met in your facility reducing the likelihood of a costly foodborne illness outbreak. Hygiene issues are usually covered under a company's sanitation program, which is considered a prerequisite for HACCP. Companies must have a good sanitation program for HACCP to work.
Important Sanitation Areas in Food Processing Facilities
- Processing area (wash stations).
- Packaging areas.
- Plant locker rooms/restrooms.
- Maintenance shop.
- Office restrooms.
- Cafeteria/Break room.