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.
Continue reading “The Importance of Hand Washing in the Food Industry”
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.
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.”
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 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.
Continue reading “Food Safety Culture – Color-Coding for the Color-Blind”
As an AFDO industry member, Remco Products Corporation is proud to have participated in the 121st Association of Food and Drug Officials Conference this June. Over 400 members from federal, state, and local agencies, as well as members of industry groups, trade associations, consumer organizations, and academia, made the trip to Houston for the recent conference.
AFDO has, over time, become a recognized voice in promoting uniform, simplified, and efficient laws, regulations and guidelines related to food safety and public health. Their humble beginning predates the existence of the FDA by 10 years when in 1896, two state commissioners from Michigan and Ohio met in Toledo to discuss the difficulties of manufacturing food in one state and shipping it to another, where the same product may not have complied with the local statutory regulations.
The push for states to collaborate and come to a mutually acceptable solution eventually resulted in a streamlined regulatory solution across the states. With time, AFDO became a forerunner in publishing model codes and guidance for various foods, which have been used to formulate aligned state regulations. The defining moment arrived in 1998, when AFDO was the first to offer a vision of a national Integrated Food Safety System (IFSS) that would empower state and local authorities to collaborate effectively with their federal counterparts. The crowning glory came with the passage of FSMA in 2011, which shifted the FDA’s focus from the reactive to the preventive mode of addressing food safety risks, which also mandated the adoption of IFSS across the food supply network.
Continue reading “AFDO Journeys Toward the Integrated Food Safety System Vision”
HACCP vs. HARPC: A Comparison White Paper
HACCP and HARPC share more than just four letters. They’re both food safety standards based on prevention, but they do differ on execution. Their differences and the similarities aren’t as important as the way they fit together for most food processors, though. A HARPC plan shouldn’t be considered as a replacement, but as a necessary upgrade to the conventional HACCP plan. Understanding how the systems fit together is the first step toward implementing both.
This white paper will help you understand:
- Key comparison points between
- HARPC as an upgrade to HACCP
- How HACCP works
- 12 steps of HACCP
- How HARPC works
- 7 steps of HARPC
Download this White Paper
Optimizing Food Safety Through Good Cleaning Tool Maintenance
by Debra Smith
Global Hygiene Specialist – Vikan A/S
Cleaning is a critical step in the management of food safety and quality. Consequently, the correct maintenance of cleaning tools by the food industry is essential to minimize the risk of microbial, allergen, and foreign body cross-contamination. This, in turn, aids compliance to relevant regulatory and legal requirements, HACCP prerequisite programs, and audit standards.
This white paper will help you understand:
- What the Global food safety schemes say about cleaning tool maintenance
- What you need to do to comply with these safety schemes
- Identifying the hazards
- Risk Assessment
Download this White Paper
Remco and Vikan to sponsor 12 sessions on food safety and hygienic design
Remco Products and Vikan will present a series of short technical food safety seminars at this year’s IAFP convention. Eight speakers will deliver 12 timely sanitation and hygiene presentations. Each 15-minute presentation will take place at booth #321.
Presentation topics include hygienic design, minimizing cross-contamination, food safety regulation, validating cleaning processes, metal detectable brush bristles, and trends in food safety. Each speaker will take questions after their brief presentation, and the final session on Sunday offers a more interactive experience with a hygienic design of brushware workshop. The workshops begin at 8 p.m. on Sunday; 12:15 and 5:15 p.m. on Monday; and 12:15 p.m. on Tuesday.
Dr. John Holah, technical director of Holchem Laboratories, will start the series off on Monday. Holah is an applied microbiologist whose work focuses on the prevention of microbial, chemical, and foreign body contamination during food processing. He has written over 100 publications and given over 200 external presentations and is highly respected as a teacher.
Dr. Edyta Margas, food safety and hygienic design expert at Bühler AG, performs research, consultancy, and training in areas related to emerging processing methods and factory hygiene issues.
Deb Smith, Vikan’s global hygiene specialist, has over 30 years of food safety/research training and experience and has written and co-authored numerous food safety and hygiene publications.
Other speakers include:
- Duane Grassman (market hygienist at Nestlé), who has over 40 years of sanitation, hygiene, and food safety experience.
- Bill Bremer (principal, food safety compliance at Kestrel Management), who heads the food safety consulting group.
- Dr. Stine Lønnerup Bislev (hygiene and compliance manager at Vikan), who holds a PhD in protein science and an MSc in biotechnology.
- Amit Kheradia (education & technical support manager at Remco Products), who has over 12 years of food safety/quality and process technology training and experience.
- Tom Kirby (director of national accounts at Accuform), who has over 27 years of experience with lean manufacturing techniques and 5S.
To see the schedule of presentations and learn more about the speakers or Remco Products and Vikan, please visit remcoproducts.com/IAFP2017.
HACCP and HARPC share more than just four letters. They’re both food safety standards based on prevention, but they do differ on execution. Their differences and their similarities aren’t as important as the way they fit together for most food processors, though. A HARPC plan shouldn’t be considered as a replacement, but as a necessary upgrade to the conventional HACCP plan. Understanding how the systems fit together is the first step toward implementing both.
|(1) Is the preventative approach based on a standard, guideline or a set of laws?
|Based on a guideline recommended by CODEX and NACMCF
||Based on FSMA act and principally, the Final Rule for Preventive Controls for Human Food
|(2) What food safety risks are considered using the preventative approach?
|Conventional – Biological, Chemical, and Physical
||Beyond the conventional risks for actual and potential food safety hazards
|(3) What is the goal of the preventative approach?
|To prevent, eliminate (or) reduce hazards to a safe level (in that priority)
||Preventive controls that prevent or significantly minimize “known or reasonably foreseeable” risks
|(4) Who is primarily responsible for the development and maintenance of the preventive plan?
|Primarily, a competent HACCP coordinator with assistance from multidisciplinary team
||Trained Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) as described in the FSMA Act
|(5) At what frequency is the preventive plan being reviewed by the facility?
|At least once a year, or when required
||At least once in 3 years, or when required
|(6) The plan is mandatory for what type of establishments?
|For FDA and USDA mandated establishments, or when required for certification purposes
||For all establishments along the food supply chain that serve U.S. consumers, unless exempted
|(7) The plan is excluded or exempted for what type of establishments?
|Unless mandated or required for certification, HACCP is voluntary, and GMPs are mandatory
||Exemption list is provided by FDA, but this does not exempt facilities from following at least CGMPs
|(8) Who is the interested party here? For whom is the plan for?
|Stakeholders: auditors, inspectors, and customers
|(9) What is the documented approach for making the preventive plan?
|12 Steps of HACCP (includes 7 Principles)
||7 Steps of Developing a HARPC Plan
HARPC as an Upgrade to HACCP
HACCP, or Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points, is already widely used due to requirements from retailers, auditing standards, and inspectors, though the USDA and the FDA only mandate it for meat, seafood, and juice products. As a global standard conceptualized the 1960s, HACCP has been continually developed and updated. HACCP requires a multi-disciplinary team for implementation and follows prescriptive steps.
Continue reading “How is HARPC Different From HACCP?”