Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 84

FOOD SAFETY

Staying
SANITARY
O

ne way employees and third-party vendors
KNOW THE LANDSCAPE
contribute directly to food safety comes in the form
Companies like Meritech and PSSI understand and plan
hygienic practices. Hands, face and hair all possess
for the complexity meat and poultry processing facilities
the potential to carry foreign matter and pathogens that can
present. Many facilities slaughter, fabricate and cook for
cross-contaminate processing and production areas, or food
ready-to-eat (RTE) product all within the same complex,
product directly.
or even different sides of the same building. Sanitation and
"Best practices for employee sanitation specific to
food safety in these situations can prove tricky.
hands, face and hair include washing our hands before and
"When we recommend equipment or perform a hygiene
after exiting the production floor, sanitizing our personal
zone consultation, we keep the '3 Ps' in mind: the people,
protective equipment (PPE) daily, wearing hairnets, beard
the place and the product," Barnhill said. "Each facility
nets, and face masks when conducting sanitation duties on
is unique with its own challenges, so by stepping back
the production floor, and any other required areas," said
and asking, 'How are people interacting with the facility?
Todd Mitchell, vice president of safety at PSSI, Kieler, Wis.
How is the facility designed? What product is being
"Specific protocols are put in place to avoid any crossproduced here?' We're able to identify areas where hygiene
contamination, introduction of
intervention steps are needed
foreign materials, and for the
and provide tailored programs
safety and well-being of our
that are designed to truly
team members which includes
overcome a facility's unique
helping to prevent the spread of
hygiene challenges."
COVID-19."
PSSI takes each facility and
General sanitation procedure
specific area within a facility
and protocol standards stay
into consideration before
BY B O B S I M S | b s i m s @ s o s l a n d.c o m
consistent across the processing
designing or implementing
industry, and like many things
a sanitation strategy. For
it's the details of day-to-day tasks that can make the
instance, PSSI designs chemical scripts based on the
difference. Plant and sanitation workers must pay attention
types of debris, soils and equipment observed throughout
to the little things to ensure their own personal hygiene and
the plant.
food safety.
"If different processes (raw versus further processing
"It's not enough to simply write a policy and distribute
versus RTE) are present on the same complex, we treat
it across the facility," said Paul Barnhill, chief technology
them as two different job sites, and everything is made and
officer, Meritech Systems LLC, Golden, Colo. "To truly
kept separate, including our team members, in order to
embody these best practices each day, each employee
prevent any opportunities for cross-contamination," said
must first understand and take ownership for the role they
Jake Watts, vice president of food safety at PSSI. "In RTE
play in upholding hygiene and protecting consumer safety.
facilities, distinct protocols are administered, different
This 360-degree buy-in helps ensure that all team members
PPE requirements, and color codes are used to distinguish
regularly follow hygiene SOPs and remain aware of the risk
from other sides of the facility. Finally, the overall cleaning
that simple actions like scratching their head or rubbing
frequencies of areas and equipment can vary depending
their nose can pose in spreading dangerous pathogens and
on the type of facility, whether it's a slaughter, further
compromising food safety."
processing or RTE plant."

Worker hygiene plays a
key role in the prevention
of cross contamination

MEAT+ POULTRY | 10.20 | www.meatpoultry.com

Meritech

84


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Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat+Poultry - October 2020

Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - VDG - 2
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 1
Meat+Poultry - October 2020 - 2
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