Refrigerated foods companies –such as produce, fresh cut fruit and prepared meals, face unique quality assurance challenges. Because employees are continually changing their protection garments when they take breaks or leave the production area, the refrigerated category of food producers has the highest use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) in the industry. Since the environment is always wet, one of the primary food concerns is listeria and food contamination prevention is the number one concern. Workers typically are using knives and bladed machinery in cold damp environments. As a result, they are exposed to greater risk of injury. An FDA study concluded that Refrigerated and meat and poultry products are the two main sectors to which the majority of the food safety problems are applicable. Contamination during processing due to foreign particles was cited by 81% of study participants as a significant food safety problem.
The key to HAACP compliance for refrigerated companies is durability of the hygiene equipment and the quality of the cleaning chemicals. The bacteria counts have to be reduced or re-cleaning will be necessary. Lesser quality tools not only break but one bristle from a brush can contaminate an entire production run. Cleaning tools should be dedicated to their purpose and color coded to eliminate cross contamination. To ensure employee and product safety cut protective wear including gloves, sleeves and aprons all help prevent line downtime. Employee morale and therefore productivity and retention is positively impacted in facilities where superior warm wear is used. Today, metal detectability and x-ray visible cleaning tools and PPE are available to further eliminate accidental product contamination and demonstrate your due diligence in protecting their customers.