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Public plant tours in a certified plant?

SQF Food Safety

Best Answer jkoratich712, 24 April 2014 - 06:40 PM

I worked for a bakery that conducted tours; no where near the same number of people though. We usually had 20-50 people. Prior to the date of the tour the individual who set up the tour would be sent a copy of our visitor policies. This included GMP's, being sick, etc. as well as plant safety policies.  All visitors had to follow all of our gmp's, so washing hands, wearing hear/beardnets, no jewelry, no nail polish, etc. They were taken into production, but we had a straight line process that was easily roped off so that they were never any closer then 15 feet from the product. They also were accompanied by multiple employee's with the company. We had a list of all visitors, which we used as their sign-in, and they wore a different color hairnet that indicated they were visitors and not employee's. These types of tours usually occurred 6 times a year, if that. It was our way of letting the community know who we were and that we are there. We never had any issues with the tour and our SQF auditor never seemed concerned.

 

We also did an open house in the summer for employee's to bring their friends/family in to see the plant. For this event, there may have been more people to come through, but because it was held for 3-4 hours, only a handful of people were touring at any given time. We followed all the same protocol as for a normal tour. We did do decorations and things for the kids, but it was all done outside. For this, the employee had to be the one to give the tour, and there was a designated tour route. Management was out on the floor to ensure that this was being followed.

 

I'm not sure if the plant is still doing them. I was the one that scheduled and planned for the event (even though I was the Food Safety Manager) and since leaving I am not sure if anyone else took that over.

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#1 ChocolatesMyGame

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 08:26 PM

Hello all!

 

I work in a chocolate and candy manufacturing facility that has been around for a very long time.  For 25+ years they have been doing an annual Open House that is open to the public.  Great PR and advertising, but a nightmare for SQF!  We are currently working towards certification and will hopefully have it next year.  The problem with the open house is that all of the non-production areas such as the main hallway around production and the warehouse get decorated with normal decorations you would put in your home (and therefore not really clean) and they are taped everywhere in the warehouse and in actually in one packing area.  I'm afraid we may not be able to have the open house after certification. 

 

Does anyone out there do public tours like this?  Would we be able to remove all the product equipment from the packing area used for the tour to prevent contamination and still be able to have tours?  Another problem is it is about 3,000- 4,000 people that come through... all without hairnets :helpplease: If we do a significant cleaning before startup and use of the warehouse would this potentially suffice?

 

Please help me!  I would hate to be the one who kills a long standing tradition...

 


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#2 esquef

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:03 PM

Just an opinion here, but I doubt any GFSI CB would look kindly on this sort of thing. I know a fair number of people in the confection industry (think of a town in PA) and they've stopped public tours.


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#3 ChocolatesMyGame

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:07 PM

Yes, I worked for a major chocolate producer before (the competitor of the PA company) and they stopped plant tours for personal safety and food safety reasons as visitors walked directly on the production floor.  I will likely have to be the bearer of bad news  :unsure: but I am still curious if anyone does this...


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#4 Slab

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:50 PM

Hello all!

 

I work in a chocolate and candy manufacturing facility that has been around for a very long time.  For 25+ years they have been doing an annual Open House that is open to the public.  Great PR and advertising, but a nightmare for SQF!  We are currently working towards certification and will hopefully have it next year.  The problem with the open house is that all of the non-production areas such as the main hallway around production and the warehouse get decorated with normal decorations you would put in your home (and therefore not really clean) and they are taped everywhere in the warehouse and in actually in one packing area.  I'm afraid we may not be able to have the open house after certification. 

 

Does anyone out there do public tours like this?  Would we be able to remove all the product equipment from the packing area used for the tour to prevent contamination and still be able to have tours?  Another problem is it is about 3,000- 4,000 people that come through... all without hairnets :helpplease: If we do a significant cleaning before startup and use of the warehouse would this potentially suffice?

 

Please help me!  I would hate to be the one who kills a long standing tradition...

Good lord this sounds like an absolute nightmare. Are you RTE?

In my estimation (granted I do not have an open house program, but I do allow visitors logged and briefed per regulation);

 

 

  • Production areas are no place for "decoration". Period. The horror... The horror!
  • PR is a good thing for many companies to educate potential customers of your process
  • Visitors must wear protective clothing compliant to your hygienic zone policy
  • Visitors must remain supervised
  • Visitors must be registered, clearly identified, and briefed on your food safety policy
  • Visitors must remain segregated from any food contact
  • Visitors must not inhibit safe practices
  • Visitors are simply observers.  If you cannot guarantee antiseptic interaction through proofed risk assessment and documentation then it's best to do away with the program 

Consider any violation of above a reason to cease production and isolate/destroy product as a write off as "decoration" 

 

 


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#5 Snookie

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Posted 04 April 2014 - 09:57 PM

Ethel M Chocolates in Nevada still offers tours, however the building was designed with that in mind so visitors are walled off from production areas, but can see through the glass what is happening.


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#6 fgjuadi

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Posted 05 April 2014 - 03:46 PM

This idea is awesome!

When I was a kid, Cerreta Chocolate :wub:  offered tours of the factory, and now, a bajillion years later, I still go there & buy their chocolate pizza every time I visit AZ. :wub::wub::wub: (Three love emojis cuz I'm a love bubble for this idea).

 

Why aren't they in hair nets though?  Why not show a 5 min video about not touching stuff etc and hand them PPE before they enter as you would with any other, smaller tour? I assume they wouldn't be allowed to wander off without a "tour guide"/walk along the path of the process. Rule 1 : Do not jump in the chocolate river. 2. Do not get in a hurry and stuff chocolates down your blouse.  Etc.

 

I LOVE this.  I wouldn't cover my equipment in tacky, gaudy crap though.  That's...cheap sounding.  The goal would be to impress the tour with how clean and organized you are.  I can see maybe a classy "Welcome to" sign with the logo, but that should be up any time.  People expect a  factory, not a break room.


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#7 SQFconsultant

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:06 AM

Kill the tours.


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#8 YongYM

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 06:55 AM

My opinion:

 

- Have a special walkway or corridor for visitors with minimal decoration.

- Issue disposable hair nets, face masks and shoe covers to the visitors and also ask them to fill up the visitor (health) questionnaire.

- Etc.

 

 

Yong


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 08 April 2014 - 12:46 PM

Drop the tours. 


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#10 jkoratich712

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Posted 24 April 2014 - 06:40 PM   Best Answer

I worked for a bakery that conducted tours; no where near the same number of people though. We usually had 20-50 people. Prior to the date of the tour the individual who set up the tour would be sent a copy of our visitor policies. This included GMP's, being sick, etc. as well as plant safety policies.  All visitors had to follow all of our gmp's, so washing hands, wearing hear/beardnets, no jewelry, no nail polish, etc. They were taken into production, but we had a straight line process that was easily roped off so that they were never any closer then 15 feet from the product. They also were accompanied by multiple employee's with the company. We had a list of all visitors, which we used as their sign-in, and they wore a different color hairnet that indicated they were visitors and not employee's. These types of tours usually occurred 6 times a year, if that. It was our way of letting the community know who we were and that we are there. We never had any issues with the tour and our SQF auditor never seemed concerned.

 

We also did an open house in the summer for employee's to bring their friends/family in to see the plant. For this event, there may have been more people to come through, but because it was held for 3-4 hours, only a handful of people were touring at any given time. We followed all the same protocol as for a normal tour. We did do decorations and things for the kids, but it was all done outside. For this, the employee had to be the one to give the tour, and there was a designated tour route. Management was out on the floor to ensure that this was being followed.

 

I'm not sure if the plant is still doing them. I was the one that scheduled and planned for the event (even though I was the Food Safety Manager) and since leaving I am not sure if anyone else took that over.


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