People. It’s the title of the iconic song that legendary Barbra Streisand made famous starring in “Funny Girl,” the Broadway musical and the movie.
You Might Also Like
Explore This IssueAugust/September 2017
Also By This Author
And it’s the number one consideration in food sanitation.
So says food scientist Ronald Schmidt, PhD, professor emeritus at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and active industry trainer in food safety and hygiene.
“Regardless of the type of processing or food handling operation, it is people who set the rules, follow the rules, and also break the rules of sanitation,” Dr. Schmidt points out. “A sanitation program is as good as the attitude, willingness, and efforts of people. That is why the most important aspect of a sanitation program is ongoing personnel training.”
It is essential that the full meaning of sanitation and its wide economic scope be accepted by everyone concerned in the food system, including management, Dr. Schmidt emphasizes.
“Personnel training should include appropriate sanitation principles and food handling practices, manufacturing controls, and personal hygiene practices,” he elaborates. “Personnel training should instill and nurture an understanding of the desirable hygienic features of food handling facilities, environment, and equipment, the processing steps and technologies for each product manufactured or handled and where potential problems exist, and create a keen desire to satisfy and guard the consumers’ interests.”
To that end, the SaniTimer handwashing timer is proving to be an effective tool for enhancing hand hygiene protocols in commercial food facilities, according to Charles Abraham, marketing director, SaniTimer, Fort Worth, Texas. “Our clients represent fast food chains, restaurant chains, and food processing facilities including dairy, meat, poultry, and nuts,” Abraham says.
“Installed quickly and easily on handwashing faucets throughout food establishments, the patented SaniTimer offers employees a visual and audio aid for assistance in meeting the CDC time requirement of a minimum of 20 seconds for handwashing each time,” Abraham points out. “SaniTimer raises compliance rates for hand hygiene up to 90 percent.”
Introduced commercially in 2016, the SaniTimer is slated to be included in a new study gearing up at Purdue University on changing behaviors to enhance food safety, Abraham notes.
Abraham says Elite Spice, an industrial seasonings manufacturer, was one of the companies selected to use the SaniTimers on a trial basis starting in 2015.
“We installed SaniTimers on all the handwashing sinks at the entrances to our production areas,” says George Meyer, manager of the 160,000-square-foot Elite Spice headquarters, Jessup, Md. “Before we had SaniTimers, it was a challenge to train our employees to wash their hands for the correct amount of time each time. And it was difficult to document that training. Even with instructing employees to sing recommended songs like ‘Happy Birthday,’ handwashing times were not consistent.”
Meyer reports that SaniTimers have taken all the guess work out of handwashing time for his entire team. “SaniTimers are simple and straightforward to use,” he relates. “You turn on the water, you see the timer right in front of you, you wash your hands. When the timer goes off, you know you have been washing for 20 seconds and you turn the water off. Now with this tool our employees know exactly how long to wash their hands every time, so consistency has improved dramatically. Using SaniTimers has been incorporated into our handwashing training protocol.”
“We are on a mission to correct the misstep of improper hand hygiene in food safety, while raising food safety standards along the way,” Abraham says. “We have found that providing a tool for food safety professionals to use in accomplishing this goal is getting all components of the industry close to constant compliance standards for hand hygiene. We are pushing the FDA review board to require handwashing timers as a tool to ensure the current hand hygiene code that requires employees to wash for a minimum of 20 seconds is complied with.”
Washing one’s hands for the minimum of 20 seconds using approved soaps and scrubs and creating enough friction for bacteria removal is the ideal way to get employees compliant, Abraham emphasizes. “Putting a timer right in their face is a no-brainer approach to this concept.”
Addressing cleaning and foreign object contamination concerns is Total MDX Hygienic Tools, a line of fully metal detectable brushes introduced in the U.S. in 2015 by Hillbrush Company Ltd., Mere, Wiltshire, England, a manufacturer of cleaning tools for hygiene sensitive environments.
“These brushes complement our other metal detectable cleaning tools, including scoops and scrapers, which were first available in the U.S. in 2010,” says Mike Rutt, Hillbrush’s quality manager.
“Every element of the Total MDX Hygienic Tools product line is metal and X-ray detectable, including the brush back, antimicrobial resin, and filaments,” Rutt relates. “If a piece of this tool is broken during cleaning, provided you’re using correctly calibrated detection equipment, it can be detected and then removed from the product.”
Metal detectable cleaning tools enhance Hillbrush’s portfolio that includes Resin Set DRS (Dual Retention System) and Anti-Microbial Hygienic Tools, all commercially available in the U.S. also since 2010.
“Resin Set DRS brushware directly answers the number one brush related concern for food processors, ‘How do I prevent filament loss?’” Rutt says. “Resin Set DRS brushware is manufactured using FDA approved materials and contains food grade, stainless steel staples to hold filaments securely into place. Antimicrobial epoxy resin is then floated into every part of the brush back, locking the filaments into position.”
According to Rutt, Anti-Microbial Hygienic Tools get to grips with the second biggest brush concern of food processors, how to prevent bacterial contamination. “If bacteria are unable to grow on the brush, scraper, or squeegee, they cannot reproduce and will therefore die,” Rutt points out. “This product line meets ISO standards and contains silver-ion technology, which actively inhibits the growth of bacteria for the lifetime of the product.”
Hillbrush’s Total MDX Hygienic Tools are manufactured with Resin Set DRS technology, including antimicrobial resin, so they are at once metal detectable, filament locking, and antimicrobial.
With the exception of Total MDX and Anti-Microbial Hygienic Tools, which are manufactured in navy blue and purple, respectively, Hillbrush’s hygiene range is available in up to 10 colors.
“Hillbrush’s technologically advanced color-coded cleaning products not only support HACCP initiatives for workplace segregation, but actively support good hygiene practices,” Rutt emphasizes.
Ford Gum & Machine Co., Akron, N.Y., a manufacturer and distributor of gumballs and gumball machine banks, as well as a private label confections manufacturer, has been using the Hillbrush Total MDX products since early 2017.
“Not only are these Hillbrush products more durable than other brands of hygiene tools we previously used, we consider their metal detectable capabilities a real food safety advantage,” says Kevin Dunnigan, Ford Gum’s quality assurance manager.
In early 2017, Sealed Air launched several new hygiene solutions in its suite of Diversey Knowledge-Based Services, including CIPTEC, which offers precise clean-in-place (CIP) monitoring so CIP cycles can be shortened; and Dynamic Flow Monitoring, an advanced water management improvement program.
These offerings augment the company’s provision of services, such as CIPCheck and AquaCheck, that have been in place for many years, says Roger Wagler, director of technical services for Diversey Hygiene North America, Charlotte, N.C.
“Our Knowledge-Based Services offer a holistic approach to help food and beverage manufacturers measure, monitor, and improve operational efficiency and food safety throughout their operations,” Wagler relates. “These services are designed to streamline processes, increase efficiency, and reduce food safety risks, all while closely managing costs and pursuing the efficient use of resources.”
CIPCheck. Diversey CIPCheck focuses on the technical, environmental, and economic optimization of CIP installations to help a plant discover if its CIP system is underperforming, says Eric van der Beek, a Diversey Hygiene sector specialist.
“While CIP systems are designed to automate a plant’s cleaning process and efficiently clean and sanitize enclosed processing equipment, we have found that more than 50 percent of CIP systems run unvalidated, using the original settings,” van der Beek points out. “With today’s emphasis on improved resource management, it’s important for food and beverage processors to consider a detailed analysis of their CIP system to determine whether incremental improvements like balancing out line capacity or adding a recovery tank to re-use water will improve efficiency or resource use.”
When a system hasn’t been fine-tuned to perform optimally for a specific plant, including needed modifications to accommodate any production process changes that occurred since installation, the plant may not be getting the full operational benefit from its CIP system investment, van der Beek points out.
For the CIPCheck process, the Diversey service team conducts a detailed probe into the CIP system to assess the system design; audit current cleaning procedures; map the current water, energy, and chemical usage; and measure cycle time.
“As necessary, we conduct additional assessments into the cleaning result, microbiological standards, and specific soils or allergens,” van der Beek relates. “Clients get an analysis benchmarking their plant’s performance against industry standards and a detailed report identifying areas of improvement.
“CIPCheck results help food and beverage manufacturers prioritize areas of improvement and take action, so a repeatable clean can be delivered sustainably with each cycle,” van der Beek adds. “The CIPCheck program helps processors improve cleaning results, maintain microbiological standards, and safeguard food safety.”
CIPTEC. Diversey CIPTEC harnesses the power of light to monitor a CIP system in real time. A series of patented CIPTEC spectrophotometers are placed through the CIP system to measure light traveling through the liquids inside a CIP system, van der Beek explains.
“Traditional CIP metrics measure the flow, conductivity, and temperature, which can indicate that the cleaning cycle has met predefined parameters, but this data cannot indicate the level of clean,” he points out. “Typically, CIP cycle times are based on empirical averages, generally resulting in cleaning cycles that are too long. In some cases, however, even these long cycles can fall short, impacting the safety of a product or the efficiency of an operation. We have found that the majority of CIP systems are over-washing by as much as to 50 percent.
“The light spectrum more accurately measures the contents of the CIP system, and CIPTEC data can tell the difference between water, chemicals, or milk residues, which conductivity can—but not to the level that CIPTEC can,” van der Beek elaborates. “CIPTEC systems and our statistical data analysis methods calculate the optimal regime to eliminate over-rinsing and over-washing. In many cases, we’re able to reduce cycle times by more than 50 percent, while maintaining a safety margin at Six Sigma level.”
According to van der Beek, benefits of CIPTEC include reducing the water, energy, and chemical used unnecessarily; improving the recovery of product by measuring more accurately the soil and chemical level; shortening the overall CIP time; reducing waste water generation, carbon dioxide emissions, and chemical oxygen demand loading; ensuring the correct level of hygiene is achieved during the CIP process without over-washing; improving quality control monitoring of the CIP system, in real time; and providing the plant with additional time for valuable processing and packaging.
Dynamic Flow Monitoring. In most food processing operations, open plant cleaning (OPC) is a resource intensive event that incorporates water, energy, labor, and chemicals, according to Barry Sperling, a global applications expert for Diversey Hygiene. “However, because in most facilities, cleaning events take place outside of normal operations, OPC doesn’t typically receive the same level of resource use analysis as does regular production,” he says. “This creates the opportunity for ‘leakage’ or wasteful processes that can go unnoticed, costing food and beverage processors significant dollars each year.”
Diversey Dynamic Flow Monitoring provides an ongoing water use monitoring and management program that facilitates process improvement opportunities based on the day-to-day impact of OPC. Sperling explains that it is the next generation of water management improvement programs built from the Diversey AquaCheck model.
AquaCheck is a three-step program that audits, quantifies, and analyzes. It also recommends holistic improvement for water use optimization. “AquaCheck sets a baseline strategy and defines goals, then Dynamic Flow Monitoring digs deeper into day-to-day operations to let a client know the impact of water use during all OPC events, and shows their water usage in real-time,” Sperling relates.
“Dynamic Flow Monitoring enhances visibility to resource usage across an entire facility,” Sperling says. “The analytics then facilitate adjustments that can lead to significant cost savings from the reduction of critical resources used during cleaning including water, energy, chemicals, and labor.”
Leake, doing business as Food Safety Ink, is a food safety consultant, auditor, and award-winning journalist based in Wilmington, N.C. Reach her at LLLeake@aol.com.