Food processors can spend a large amount of time and effort trying to clean surfaces that have been contaminated but often overlook how contamination can be minimised or stopped at its source. 80% of contamination entering your critical environment does so via footwear or wheels (Source: ISSA). Therefore, controlling contamination at or near floor level is an essential and fundamental part of any risk management policy or HACCP plan.
Controlling the contamination of your floors is essential, it is in fact a requirement for conformance to GMP and Risk Management Systems, such as HACCP, to have measures in place to reduce the risk of contamination. Additionally, regulatory bodies such as MPI and other auditing teams for customer imposed audits, all recognise the importance of managing contamination by implementing an effective control system that limits the transfer of contaminants between zones.
Here’re 10 things you should know before looking at options to control contamination or cross contamination, via the floors in your factory:
1. The dirt you didn’t know about:
Tests proven that the volume of dirt entering facilities, like yours, through one main thoroughfare alone, is in excess of 20kg per week. Imagine taking 20kg of finely ground dirt and spreading it throughout your facility. It settles on finished goods and equipment without you even realising!
2. What you can’t see:
Dirt you can see is easy to manage, but what about what you can’t see, the bacteria and other unwanted microorganisms that will hitch a ride on footwear or wheels? A report from the MPI states that: “Major incidents involving Listeria and other pathogens have been traced to floors (for example) where Listeria has formed biofilms and has been unable to be removed. Listeria may be transferred from these sites by the likes of trolley wheels. Floors and drains should always be considered to be contaminated with Listeria.”
3. Engineer’s workshops:
These are often in an integral part of the food factory, with direct access to processing environments. Standard entrance mats remove some of the soil, but the likes of swarf entrenched in the tread of the boots and on trolley wheels can be difficult to remove and is a potential hazard in the processing environment. Product recalls due to swarf have cost NZ food manufacturers many thousands of dollars.
4. Boot exchanges:
Often in facilities, especially in the dairy industry, boot exchanges with a physical barrier are seen as the only fail-safe way to stop contamination being transferred between zones. The downside of these are that they are expensive to install and maintain, as they require a separate zone or room that has to be cleaned each day and separate footwear required in all sizes, but that’s only a small cost when you consider the ongoing downtime. Say you had 50 staff all going through a common entrance 8-10 times a day, each time taking between one and two minutes, that is over 11 hours lost productivity EVERY DAY! This was proven recently by a food manufacturer in New South Wales that stopped using boot covers in favour of an alternative solution. They saved over 13 hours a day in lost production time, not to mention the cost savings of over 1000 pairs of boot covers a day!
5. Optional cleaning stations:
If your contamination control from a pedestrian point of view is reliant on the likes of automatic cleaning machines, or stationary boot scrubbers, make sure these aren’t standalone units that become an optional choice. Inevitably staff won’t use them consistently, which means that a fundamental part of your factory entrance can’t be bypassed.
6. Contamination in the form of moisture:
Moisture transfer from a wet area to a dry area is never a good idea. Dry tolerant bacteria are often viable but not active until they are exposed to moisture.
7. Slippery when wet:
Moisture can find its way into warehouses on forklifts or trucks, this can cause health and safety issues, both for pedestrians with risk of slips and falls as well as forklifts with potential loss of traction.
8. Sanitation controls:
Foot bath wells/matts or doorway foamers are acceptable in some situations, but the surrounding area often creates a pool of moisture, which then gets tracked further into facilities and can become slippery. These only work for staff in gumboots, visitors in dress shoes or wheeled trolleys can’t pass through them.
9. Cost of cleaning:
With contamination being inadvertently tracked throughout factory and warehouse floors, the associated cost is the cleaning bill. Often staff or contractors are spending a lot of time and resources cleaning floors. This could be significantly reduced if an effective contamination control system was in place.
10. Footwear cleaning:
Boot scrub or cleaning stations are only effective for cleaning the tops and sides of the boots. The underside of boots, especially those with a deep tread, are very difficult to clean effectively whilst standing at a boot scrub station.
All of the above challenges can, and have been overcome in factories around the world, just like yours, by installing the unique Profilgate System. Scientifically proven to remove and capture the dirt from tires and shoes, as you drive or walk over it, before reaching the critical zone. A system originally developed for the high-end German car industry can now challenge traditional thinking in three specific areas of food factory design. The patented system actively scrubs off the dirt from tires, wheels and shoes when they pass over the ProfilGate grates and its unique angled brushes. Dirt and foreign matter fall down and are collected in the capturing tray, underneath. The system operates automatically and does not need any external energy supply. Used dry or available as a ‘wet’ version which not only cleans the shoes and wheels but also applies sanitising solution to them as they pass over. By strategically placing ProfilGate® throughout your building, you can now capture up to 90% of dirt – which is otherwise attached to your wheels, casters and tires – before it migrates and enters your production facility.
If you are looking at reducing the costs in your factory and improving the level of hygiene, then this fresh approach to a traditional problem could be your answer. For more information on anything to do with ProfilGate, or to arrange a trial contact our solutions team.
6 Good Reasons for ProfilGate
Improved cleanliness, better quality and reduced maintenance cost are some of the many advantages of ProfilGate®. Your company can demonstrate to its customers, suppliers and auditors that it is willing to improve cleanliness beyond the regulated hygiene and safety requirements.
1. Technical cleanliness
In most cases, the improved indoor cleanliness through the use of ProfilGate® is not only visible at the entrance, but deep within production. Your employees, customers, suppliers and auditors will see at first glance that you are actively achieving the highest level of technical cleanliness in your company.
2. Improved hygiene
The regulations on separation of hygienic areas are permanently tightened up. With ProfilGate® aqua you integrate active cleaning and disinfection in a single step only – for highest hygiene requirements.
3. Fewer customer complaints
ProfilGate® can prevent contamination of surfaces, which could lead to complaints. In this way, contamination is avoided within both – production and storage. The results are a stronger image, fewer breakdowns and less depreciation – so your product and brand quality are improved.
4. Less cleaning cost
ProfilGate® automatically collects the dirt in every entrance or driving zone. As a result, less debris and dust are transported into the facility. This extends the cleaning cycles by about 40%! More important, your sweepers only clean during usage, whereas ProfilGate® cleans all day!
5. Reduced refurbishing cost
You will extend the lifetime of your epoxy coating or industrial resin flooring as the surface gets less scratched. Dirt on tires, wheels and casters acts otherwise like sandpaper. Overall you will notice fewer damages throughout facilities.
6. Improved health and safety for your employees
Reduced dirt will create a better air quality environment while saving filter cost. The cleaner and dryer floors will reduce the risk of accidents, since the slip hazard is minimised. Another major improvement is that forklifts are less likely to spin or slide.