All posts by Whitney Lee

How to Choose the Right Brush for Food Processing

Proper cleaning tools can increase plant hygiene and make it easier for food processing facility staff to do their job. Finding the right brushes for each job is easier when you understand the role bristle stiffness, brush type, and bristle/block attachment play in how a brush functions.

Hygienic Design of Brushes

Drilled and stapled brushes are made by drilling a hole into the brush block and stapling bristles into it. Higher quality versions will have only small gaps near the attachment point, making it less likely for contaminants to become trapped. Low-quality versions may have issues with bristles falling out and will have larger gaps around the fiber attachment points, making it easier for microorganisms to hide and multiply. For many food processing needs, a high-quality version of this type of brush is appropriate.

Resin-set brushes pose a variety of hygiene concerns. For this brush, holes are drilled in the block, filaments are stapled into them, and resin is added for extra bristle security. Resin itself isn’t approved for food contact and often gets trapped in between bristles and falls out, creating a source of contamination. This type of brush isn’t suitable for food manufacturing.

Ultra Safe Technology (UST) brushes from Vikan improve bristle retention and brush hygiene. These innovative brushes have a unique construction and design. Bristles are fully molded into individual bristle security units. Those units are then molded directly into the brush block, eliminating holes, gaps, and contamination traps. Because of this production technique, bristle security units can be arranged in patterns that allow brushes to be cleaned easily while maximizing cleaning efficiency. These ultra-hygienic brushes are ideal for food production plants that make infant formula, baby food, and ready-to-eat food.
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Remco Products Partners with Top Dog Manufacturing to add Hygienic Worker Protection

Remco Products expands its color-coded tool selection to include high-quality PPE through Top Dog Manufacturing

Remco Products has partnered with Top Dog to offer a line of food-safe aprons, gowns, and sleeves. Top Dog offers a line of reusable die-cut color-coded worker protection gear that perfectly complements Remco and Vikan’s core color offerings.

Top Dog’s high-quality reusable garments are made from 100% pure polyether polyurethane, which makes them durable and hygienic. There are no seams to come loose and no crevices for bacteria to build up in. After use, they can be put in the washer and dryer for easy cleaning. Since the garments don’t absorb moisture and aren’t affected by paint, chemicals, bleach, ammonia, acids, food coloring, glue, and more, the washer and dryer will be enough to get them ready for use again.

These polyurethane garments are:

  • Food safe (FDA-compliant)
  • Reusable, for around 3 months with regular use
  • Virtually non-stick and non-staining
  • Resistant to chemical and acidic sanitation products
  • Impervious to animal fats and degreasers
  • Odor-free and have no off-gassing
  • Non-porous—won’t host bacteria or mold
  • Washer and dryer safe
  • Able to be used in cold and hot environments without cracking or stiffening
  • Easily repairable
  • Able to return to its original shape after stretching
  • Completely latex free
  • Recyclable
  • Waterproof
  • Highly abrasive resistant

Remco is proud to add such high-quality products to its color-coded sanitation line. The five colors Top Dog offers pair with the core colors of Remco and Vikan tools, increasing the effectiveness of end users’ HACCP plans. Color-coded garments provide food manufacturers an additional tool for quick visual verification. This helps ensure that the right people are using the right tools for specified zones. These products are durable and hygienic, making them an excellent complement to Remco Products’ cleaning and material handling tools.

About Remco Products

Remco provides color-coded tools for cleaning and material handling where hygiene and safety are critical. The introduction of a food-safe poly shovel more than 30 years ago established Remco as an industry pioneer of hygienic design. In addition to its hygienic shovels, scoops, and scrapers, Remco features Vikan’s advanced line of brushes, brooms, and squeegees. Together with Vikan, Remco supports color-coding plans by offering more tools in more colors than any other supplier. Remco also provides training and support to end users, helping ensure regulatory compliance. Regardless of an operation’s size or complexity, Remco has the tools and expertise to help execute HACCP color-coding plans.

About Top Dog

Located in the Prince Edward Island province of Canada, Top Dog Manufacturing uses pure polyether polyurethane because of its suitability for industries in which hygiene is a top concern. The company’s aprons, gowns, and sleeves are all CFIA, FDA, and USDA compliant.

How to Choose the Right Broom for the Job

Maintaining hygienic standards is easier when employees have access to the right tools for the job, including the proper brooms. The staff in charge of cleaning will be better able to carry out cleaning tasks effectively and efficiently when they have tools that are fit-for-purpose.

Hygienic Design of Brooms

Drilled and stapled brooms are produced with the traditional method of folding bristles and stapling them into a block. This creates a tight fit that holds bristles in place. When a tool is well-designed, there are minimal places for contaminants to hide in and multiply. However, bristles have been known to fall out, though less frequently on better-quality tools. For most food industry purposes, this provides a high level of hygiene and supports sanitation efforts.

Resin-set brooms have cropped up in recent years, but they present a host of hygiene concerns—namely, that the resin itself isn’t approved for food contact and have been known to fall out of the broom, creating and spreading its own contamination. This type of broom isn’t recommended for food processing.

Ultra Safe Technology (UST) brooms from Vikan are state-of-the-art tools that have a unique design and construction that improves bristle retention and hygiene. Bristles are fully molded into bristle security units in patterns that maximize efficiency while allowing the broom itself to be cleaned easier. This level of hygiene is appropriate for facilities that require a higher level of cleanliness, such as ready-to-eat food, baby food, and infant formula processing plants.
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Remco to Give Hygienic Design Talk at IPPE 2018; Will Be Available at Booth B4716

The hygienic color-coded tools company will be at Booth B4716 during the Expo

Remco Products will give a presentation on hygienic design standards at the International Production & Processing Expo on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The presentation will be titled “Hygienic Design for Cleaning and Food Handling Tools,” and will take place from 10-10:20 a.m. in Booth B8715.

Rob Middendorf, business development director at Remco Products, will be delivering the presentation. Along with some of his colleagues, he’ll be available to answer questions at Booth B417 throughout the three-day Expo. Topics covered in the presentation include specific hygienic design standards, such as BRC, FSSC 22000 v. 4.1, and SQF Code Edition 8, and real-world applications. He will also include information on HARPC, preventive controls, and cleaning tools as vectors of contamination.

Participants interested in attending the session should make their way over to Booth B8715 about 10 minutes early to ensure a good spot. Plan on the presentation lasting 20 minutes, hopefully with time for questions. Those who are interested in food safety, want to know more about HARPC or any updated design standard such as SQF Edition 8, or are in charge of food industry sanitation measures won’t want to miss this.

Remco Products Will Have Booth at IPPE 2017

Rob Middendorf of Remco Products will give a presentation on hygienic design at IPPE 2018

Remco Products will give a presentation on hygienic design standards at the International Production & Processing Expo on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. The presentation will be titled “Hygienic Design for Cleaning and Food Handling Tools,” and will take place from 10-10:20 a.m. in Booth B8715.

Rob Middendorf, business development director at Remco Products, will be delivering the presentation. Along with some of his colleagues, he’ll be available to answer questions at Booth B4176 throughout the three-day Expo. Topics covered in the presentation include specific hygienic design standards, such as BRC, FSSC 22000 v. 4.1, and SQF Code Edition 8, and real-world applications. He will also include information on HARPC, preventive controls, and cleaning tools as vectors of contamination.

Participants interested in attending the session should make their way over to Booth B8715 about 10 minutes early to ensure a good spot. Plan on the presentation lasting 20 minutes, hopefully with time for questions. Those who are interested in food safety, want to know more about HARPC or any updated design standard such as SQF Edition 8, or are in charge of food industry sanitation measures won’t want to miss this.

The Importance of Hand Washing in the Food Industry

Hygienic nail brush being used in hand washing
Handwashing in the food industry is one of the first lines of defense in food safety. Along with being a consumer health risk, inadequate personal hygiene can lead to costly and reputation-destroying recalls. However, it’s not just the responsibility of individual employees to ensure proper handwashing procedures are followed. Managers must cultivate a culture of food safety where taking time-off from lines to wash up is encouraged. Facilities also must be equipped with adequate hand washing stations.

Not only will setting the scene and creating the culture for effective handwashing help protect consumers, it will also help protect your business.

When to Wash

Employees knowing when to wash their hands is just as important as knowing how to properly wash them. High-visibility signs posted around the facility can teach and remind employees about handwashing. 

Signs posted around the facility make for great reminders, but the topic should also be covered in training seminars. Don’t forget to translate instructions in whatever languages required to communicate with all of your employees.

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Remco and Vikan Introduce New UST Detail Brush

New ultra-hygienic detail brush cleans hard-to-reach areas or works as an FDA-compliant pastry brush

Remco Products proudly introduces the UST Detail Brush from Vikan, the smallest brush to join the Ultra Safe Technology line. The small brush is ultra-hygienic, FDA-compliant, and fully molded. Useful as either a cleaning tool or a pastry brush, this product is appropriate for bakeries, food manufacturing facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and wherever hygiene is a top priority.

Corners, crevices, narrow gaps, and other hard-to-reach areas make perfect hiding places for dry debris, including allergens. These areas are also difficult to clean without just the right brush. With its optimized soft bristles, great ergonomics, and UST advantages, the UST Detail Brush is ideal for cleaning these areas. The narrow block and long bristles allow the brush to get into the crooks and crannies other brushes can’t touch, and the soft bristles easily clear soils away.

The UST Detail Brush is the latest Vikan brush to feature Ultra Safe Technology. UST brushes incorporate hygienic design principles and the fully molded UST bristle system, giving users:

  • Vikan’s best cleaning efficacy
  • Easier hygienic cleaning of the brush
  • Lower risk of bristle loss
  • FDA-compliant material
  • Minimized risk of cross-contamination

The Detail Brush can also be used as a pastry or glazing brush. The bristles are soft enough to spread butter, eggs, and oil over delicate pastries without damaging dough or the finished product. The brush’s small size gives workers superior control when in use, too. It’s also a more hygienic option to standard pastry brushes and comes in eight colors to support color-coded HACCP plans.

Along with other brushes in Vikan’s Ultra Safe Technology line, the Detail Brush can take end users to the next step toward the greater hygienic certainty that only Remco and Vikan delivers.

Remco Products and Vikan Introduce New Stainless Steel Scrapers

Hygienic stainless steel scrapers handle tough messes for food processing industry

In response to customer needs for a better solution for sticky, dried and burnt-on soils, Remco Products and Vikan have launched a new selection of FDA-compliant, color-coded Stainless Steel Scrapers. Remco’s hand-held scrapers feature a beveled blade edge that is particularly effective in scraping away food materials. Vikan’s new stainless steel scrapers can be mounted to a handle, greatly extending the user’s reach.

Both handheld and handle-mounted versions (compatible with Euro-threaded handles) are available in two popular sizes and up to 9 colors.

Remco and Vikan developed their respective Stainless Steel Scrapers to deal with some of the toughest applications in the food and beverages industry, including:

  • Dough, confectionery gels, and pastes
  • Soft chocolate and cheese
  • Dried powders and other bakery debris
  • Hardened chocolate
  • Burnt-on meat and other soils

Stainless steel blades, a high-strength attachment point, and – in the handheld models – an ergonomic finger rest enable forceful soil removal without the excessive use of hot water or detergents.

Gentle on surfaces
While tough on soils, Vikan’s scrapers feature rounded blade corners and a non-beveled edge ensuring that these scrapers go easy on surfaces, so that cleaning staff can protect tables, counters, equipment, and utensils while keeping them cleaner.

The Remco and Vikan scraper family
In addition to Remco’s and Vikan’s new offerings, both manufacturers build several additional scrapers to fit customer needs. Constructed with FDA-compliant materials (polypropylene, nylon and stainless steel), there are are scrapers available in multiple colors and suited for various tasks.

“The soils these tools are designed to remove are amongst the most stubborn you’ll encounter in food and beverage facilities,” said Vikan Global Hygiene Specialist Debra Smith. “The new scrapers enable staff to remove these soils more effectively and easily – which means more hygienic environments and, ultimately, less risk of food safety issues.”

Remco Lobby Dustpan Set Recognized with Innovation Award at the 2017 Process Expo

The Lobby Dustpan Set received two nominations in the prestigious competition

Remco Products competed as a finalist in two of seven categories at the 2017 Process Expo’s Innovation Showcase with its new Color-Coded Lobby Dustpan Set. The new offering, developed by a strategic partner, won top honor in the Pet Foods category.

Each category had three finalists that were chosen in advance of the Expo by members of each industry’s trade press. At the Expo, each finalist gave a 3-minute product presentation to a panel of food processor judges.

Products were evaluated based on:

  • Innovative distinction from other products currently on the market
  • Benefit to the industry, processor or consumer
  • Disruption to the market status quo
  • Practicality of implementation
  • Value for the cost

The Lobby Dustpan Set was deemed best in its category for Pet Foods and competed as one of three finalists in the Confectionary/Candy/Sweets category.

“Processors need color-coded tools that are durable, hygienically designed and FDA-compliant,” Remco Products President Mike Garrison said. “The Lobby Dustpan Set has seen a high demand since its debut thanks to its ability to fill these challenging customer needs.”

Remco has been working with the food industry for over 30 years and their long-standing strategic partnerships uniquely position them to provide products that meet the industry’s changing needs. It’s this knowledge that led to past innovations like their hygienic polypropylene shovels, stainless steel scrapers, and condensation squeegees.

Remco’s Color-Coded Lobby Dustpan Set is a durable, ergonomic, and FDA-compliant alternative to standard broom sets. The dustpan has no hard edges or witness lines that could trap food residue or bacteria and can be easily disassembled and reassembled for regular washing and sanitizing. The large, 7×14 inch bin allows for big and small cleanup jobs, while the tall, 37-inch handle alleviates back pain that stems for leaning over shorter dustpans. The lobby dustpan was created with food processors and food service workers in mind. More features, benefits, and specifications.

Food Safety Culture – Color-Coding for the Color-Blind

Food production facilities often rely on color coding their tools and workstations to create zones of control. These zones can designate areas where allergens are used to prevent cross-contact incidents, separate raw – from finished products to avoid cross-contamination issues, or visually represent different shifts to account for concerning potential direct-contamination trends. Color coding is generally easy to understand and provides a universal language for people of all levels of literacy -and – language background.

However, for 1 in 12 men and 1 in 200 women, some colors may be difficult or impossible to discern. Color-blindness comes in many forms, but the most common type is partial color-blindness, where the person can’t distinguish between a couple or a few colors. Of those, the two forms of red/green color-blindness: deuteranopia (reduced sensitivity to red light) and protanopia (reduced sensitivity to green light), occur most frequently. That doesn’t imply color coding as a zoning solution doesn’t work for color-blind employees, but it does mean that colors should be chosen carefully to avoid the most common color-blindness pairings.
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