Food processing engineers are frequently challenged with developing controls and processes for managing food safety precautions within a plant. Yet food safety is a role that every employee, from the top down, needs to embrace. It should be deeply rooted within the plant’s culture and most important, it should be a continuous improvement process.
Five ways employees should play a role in your sanitation efforts include:
1. Training should cross many functions so when workers move from one department to another, those policies and procedures transfer
2. Supervisors must be open-minded and receptive to suggestions from employees, just as employees need to be willing to speak up and share ideas and concerns. For example, if there is an operation that requires a hand sink to be closer, employees and supervisors should work together to mitigate the issue
3. Many food processing plants are employing stringent uniform and locker room standards to minimize airborne contaminants from outside. Plant-issued footwear and sanitary over-garments are becoming the norm
4. Plants should ensure that different work areas are zoned appropriately to eliminate any potential cross-contamination, for example separating raw vs. ready-to-eat products. Many plants enforce strictly controlled paths of travel for employees within each division using color-coded uniforms
5. Electronic bar codes on badges ensure that employees only have access to their specified work center. Real-time tracking allows plants to monitor where and when a potential threshold breach has occurred, allowing the plant to react instantly by stopping a line or pulling a product.
If you’d like to learn more ways your employees can play a role in your plant’s food safety efforts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.