Food safety is an international concern, as huge number of food borne cases have been reported since past few years after consumption of unsafe food. According to the latest report published by WHO, every year about 4, 20,000 people across world dies due to food poisoning. These reported cases of food borne diseases have resulted in decreasing confidence of consumers towards Ready to eat food products. In order to regain that trust, industries are making all necessary efforts to transform their premises into food safety compliant, one which have all basic requirements for either avoiding or reducing the risk of making food unfit for consumption. Installment of Food Quality Accessories is one such effort on which company invests significantly to render product safety.
Food Quality Accessories can be defined as the umbrella term for all the supporting instruments, tools or equipments that helps in achieving food safety inside the food manufacturing industries for proper handling and storing of food in a way that effectively reduces the risk of individuals exposing to hazard.
Food Safety Accessories can be grouped into four classes depending on the principles of food safety for avoiding contamination of food and causing food diseases.
- Maintaining personal hygiene:
It is important for any food service safety that their workers must be familiar with general hygiene practices that help to maintain hygiene and prevent the spread of diseases. The quality accessories which help in maintaining the personnel hygiene are described below:
- Hair Net- Disposable caps to stop hair falling into food, sensitive machinery or onto paintwork by providing full head coverage. Generally, made from soft polypropylene, are ideal for use in laboratories, food production area.
- Gloves: People who work in the food and beverage industry use disposable polypropylene gloves on a regular basis, which act as a barrier in order to prevent the spread of germs and keep consumables from becoming contaminated.
- Hand Dryer: Generally installed inside toilets, food production area and manufacturing premises for drying wet hands of the person for preventing microbial contamination as wet hands, becomes the fastest vector for spreading food borne microbes. Hand dryer with SS 304 and Polycarbonate ABS casing construction are suitable for installation within food industries.
- Shoe Covers: Disposable shoe covers made from cast polyethylene to prevent contamination of the workplace from debris or bacteria brought in on from worker’s shoes, and protect footwear from splashes or staining. Each shoe cover has an elasticated opening that makes them quick and simple to put on and take off, while also ensuring that they stay securely in place.
- Over sleeves: Disposable over sleeves are designed to protect forearms and sleeves without having to put a jacket or set of overalls on. Generally, these are elasticated at both ends to ensure that they stay securely in place and help prevent splashes from entering underneath.
- Beard Net: Disposable beard snoods which are made from soft non-woven polypropylene, and are elasticated to ensure that they stay securely in place while working. Wearing a disposable beard snood or beard net protects against small hairs falling into food, sensitive machinery. The use of a beard snood also helps to reduce the risk of long hair being caught in rotating equipment.
- Disposable Aprons: These are disposable LDPE aprons which are ideal for protecting clothes from stains caused by splashes and dirt in the workplace, and have waist ties that offer a close fit and help to ensure that the disposable apron doesn’t get in the way of work or caught in machinery.
- Properly cleaning and sanitizing all surfaces, equipment and utensils
Cleaning and sanitizing are the most important aspects of any sanitation program; therefore, sufficient time should be given to outline proper procedures and parameters. Detailed procedures must be developed for all food-product contact surfaces (equipment, utensils, etc.) as well as for non-product surfaces such as non-product portions of equipment, overhead structures, shields, walls, ceilings, lighting devices, refrigeration units and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems, and anything else which could impact food safety. Identification of type of the cleaning tool is the crucial step of any plant sanitation program. Tools used for the cleaning in food industry are described below:
- Wall Bracket: These are not only used for storage of cleaning equipments but also ensures good hygiene practices and extends shelf life of brush wares. This must be designed such that there are no crevices for bacteria buildup and are easy to clean. These are generally made up of Stainless Steel and Polypropylene.
- Brooms: A broomis a cleaning tool consisting of usually stiff fibers (often made of materials such as polypropylene, polyesters and Stainless Steel) attached to, and roughly parallel to, a cylindrical handle, the broomstick. It must be designed in such way that provides effective cleaning.
- Dustpan: It is usually used in combination with broom for collection of food debris and dust from floors and work surfaces. It is generally made up of Stainless Steel and polypropylene.
- Brush: These are used for easy cleaning of equipments and hard-to-reach corners. The suitable material of construction is Stainless Steel and polypropylene.
- Scrappers: These are Ideal for cleaning powder towers and other surfaces where extra force is needed to loosen dirt. Generally, scrappers used in food processing industry are made up of Polypropylene or Stainless Steel 304/316.
- Maintaining Controlled Environment:
Uncontrolled temperature and moisture in any part of the food production cycle can often leads to the growth of bacteria, mildew, or mold which can mean the difference between a product being safe and fresh versus unsafe and spoiled. Fortunately, these risks can be easily mitigated by using quality accessories like:
- Air Curtains: These are also known as air doors which are installed at doors and windows of food processing facilities for reducing energy costs, containing smells, maintaining temperature and keeping flying insects out.
- Strip Curtains: Food process industries uses strip curtains that are transparent curtain made up of non-phthalate material which are ideal for maintaining an ambient temperature of warehouse or cold store or any other area, keeping out dust/flies/pests, restricting the movement of air pollutants and control noise.
- HVAC System: HVAC systems are milestones of building mechanical systems that is designed on the principles of thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer which provides thermal control and indoor comfort for product and workers respectively.
- Floor Marking Tapes: These are Vinyl tapes which are used to demark specific area to maintain safety standards in the industry. It also helps workers to put materials and equipment back in right place.
- Implementing effective pest control
In food processing environments, flies and rodents infestation are considered as a big problem which can put product and business reputation at risk. Therefore, Pest control is an essential part of Good Manufacturing Practice in food processing from a hygiene, economic and regulatory viewpoint. Various Quality Accessories that act as gold standard in pest control are described below as follows:
- Rodabox: These are rat catcher which is installed with mouse glue trap that act as wonderful tool to get rid of mouse as it more looks like surface of ordinary carton and box thus this easily traps mousse/rats. This is usually made up of iron and strong build.
- Fly Catchers: It is an electrical device, which uses ultraviolet light to attract insects toward an electrified wire grid where they are electrocuted (making a zapping sound). These are used as chemical alternatives for pest control. They work by attracting all kinds of flying insects to a blue ultra-violet light. The insects then hit the killing board situated behind the fluorescent tubes. A small electrical current safe to our touch is passed through the ‘killing board’ humanely and instantly killing all types of flying insects. Usually, they are of two types, Fly Cather without glue pad and with glue pad. Former is installed in non-food processing areas whereas later one is installed in food processing area as it prevents the scattering of ashes of electrocuted insects.
It is of utmost importance that quality accessories being used inside food manufacturing premises can lead to the unhygienic conditions as well. Hence, it is recommended to use or give special preference to the selection of accessories being used, like its MOC, design and other parameters that can cause hazard. Just installation won’t be that effective, and each accessories requires specific cleaning and maintenance schedule should be strictly adhered with.