Shelf Stable companies–such as Ingredient, Beverage, Cereal and Snack Food producers – face unique quality assurance challenges. Although bacteria risk may not be as high as a Meat or Poultry Facility, one of the biggest risks is Foreign Particle Contamination. With many products being mixed or blended, great care must be taken to eliminate foreign particles. Many processes in this sector involve baking, creating greater challenges in cleaning equipment from baked on residues. Allergen Control is also a major risk highlighting the need for sufficient Food Surface Contamination Prevention. An FDA study concluded that Shelf Stable producers were above average regarding concern as to Poor Plant and Equipment Sanitation.
The key to HAACP compliance for Shelf Stable 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 a contaminate an entire production run. Cleaning tools should be dedicated to their purpose and color coded to eliminate cross contamination. To ensure ultimate product Safety Metal Detectable items should replace production equipment and PPE that is non detectable. 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.