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Snickers Bars, Pay Day, and Low Hanging Fruit


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#1 Plastic Ducky

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 07:46 PM

OK,

 

Someone shed some light on this for me please.

 

So every single audit from SQF or BRC I have been present for always involves the auditor going over to the vending machine in the employee break room to make absolutely sure there aren't any products that have peanuts in them....

 

WHY? We have sings posted stating no food may leave the break room and that all employees must wash and sanitize their hands after leaving the break room! So what is the big deal? It seams as though we should instruct all employees to not eat peanuts or peanut butter at their homes as well. (sarcasm)

 

The auditors never seam to mind that the machine is full of other allergens (wheat, soy, milk, ) nope, they only care about the peanuts. What gives?


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#2 3esa

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 08:18 PM

good question.  Maybe an auditor in our community can answer it. 

 

My thought would be that trace amounts could cross contaminate.  But the same argument can be made for an employee eating a peanut butter sandwich during break...  What is known about peanut allergen, moreso than other allergens, is that it takes very little to cause a reaction in sensitive individuals.  Even by smelling it in the air, some of the most sensitive individuals can enter into anaphylaxis.  That compounded with how recalcitrant peanut proteins are in a processing environment, sets it apart from other allergens.


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#3 Simon

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Posted 28 April 2015 - 08:30 PM

In the hierarchy of bad allergens peanuts are the worst for sensitive individuals.

That said there must be a near zero risk of a snickers bar, in a vending machine, in a packaging company, causing an incident.

 

The auditor should spend their time more effectively and not stimulate a negative food safety culture among the workforce.


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 10:03 AM

Hi Plastic Ducky,

 

Perhaps you could initially specify a preference for Auditors who approve of vending machines.


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#5 Rosemary4

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 10:56 AM

Following on from the HACCP risk assessment, we as a food contact packaging company took the decision many years ago to completely ban peanuts & peanut products from the premises to ensure that no staff or (unlikely but possible) products could be affected. This includes checking cereal bars for peanuts.

 

3esa is spot on with the allergy statement as peanuts have the potential to be fatal in some people and unless others know......

 

We have in the past had someone filling the vending machine (other than the regular operators) who put Snicker bars in it. It was reported to me and I got the company back out to remove them. We also had a temp come into the canteen with a Snickers bar, despite the person signing the induction form which clearly stated no peanuts on sight. He was sent home losing the days pay as a consequence. Needless to say it hasn't happened again!

 

When I carry out customer audits I too have a look in the vending machine.


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#6 Charles.C

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 02:58 PM

Hi Rosemary,

 

I can appreciate yr worker-oriented control comment but this is possibly outside the scope of  a general Food Packaging safety audit.

 

If there is documented justification that the pathway:- vending machine/worker > food packaging can generate a significant FS risk, that would be a more relevant hazard IMO.

 

Not my area but i could not see any obviously related hazard in this Jumbo compilation of Food Packaging Hazards -

 

Attached File  Risks - Controls Packaging Materials, 2009.pdf   154.61KB   48 downloads


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#7 IzzyP

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 03:33 PM

As an auditor, I always check the contents of a vending machine, firstly to ensure that the food in there is in date (I have often seen vending machines with pastries & sandwiches) and secondly to see what allergens are in there. I then check these allergens against the sites allergen policy & risk assessments to see if they have been addressed and controlled.

I also check staff storage fridges to see if they have anything they shouldn't have in there.


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#8 Charles.C

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 03:42 PM

As an auditor, I always check the contents of a vending machine, firstly to ensure that the food in there is in date (I have often seen vending machines with pastries & sandwiches) and secondly to see what allergens are in there. I then check these allergens against the sites allergen policy & risk assessments to see if they have been addressed and controlled.

I also check staff storage fridges to see if they have anything they shouldn't have in there.

Thks for input.

 

Is this related to a Food audit or a Food Packaging audit ?


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 05:22 PM

As an auditor, I always check the contents of a vending machine, firstly to ensure that the food in there is in date (I have often seen vending machines with pastries & sandwiches) and secondly to see what allergens are in there. I then check these allergens against the sites allergen policy & risk assessments to see if they have been addressed and controlled.

I also check staff storage fridges to see if they have anything they shouldn't have in there.

 

Wow! I await to see what standards you are audting against


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-Setanta                 WeepingAngela.gif

 


#10 oronogirl

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 07:23 PM

As a food packaging manufacturer, we too were baffled by the 'how do you manage the allergens in your vending machine' question by our SQF auditor.  The answer: we have GMP's that cover washing your hands and our food safety training includes an Allergen discussion point linking it to the importance of washing one's hands.

 

I can understand the point of checking expiry dates in the machines but yet the linkage to producing food safe primary packaging is still a little tenuous .... at least from our point of view!


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#11 SpursGirl

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 08:32 PM

I have always had this arguement - I have been both an auditor and site technical manager and under both hats I do not buy into the not allowing peanut/nut items in the vending machine. Obviously we can 'control' items in the vending machines but i firmly believe we cannot control what items the employees bring in for their lunch and this is a much bigger risk. I have been on sites where the rules are 'no peanuts/nuts to be brought on site' - the employees sign a form to agree to this - yet when I questioned one of the managers about the curry he had brought in for his lunch (carefully prepared by his wife) he could not tell me if his wife had used nuts in her curry. He then admited that he had never mentioned to his wife about the 'no nut' policy at his work place. Same deal on some homemade cookies brought in for a birthday celebration - did they have nuts or peanut butter in - the employee was not sure as they were made by his wife. Again he had not mentioned this rule to his wife.

 

My opinion is that we cannot really control these kind of items - and even if we put the rule in place how can we monitor compliance?? I, like many other QA teams, have strict GMP policies in place (no food apart from breakrooms, handwashing etc etc) which act as contol measures which should be sufficient. To my mind the risk is the same as an emplyee potentially bringing food from home which may be contaminated with salmonella - do we consider that in out HACCP plans?? No - we assume our GMP controls cover this off as they should with allergen issues. Granted it is easier to track a peanut into the factory than salmonella but essentially the circumstances are the same so should we ban all employees from bringing in food items from home?


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#12 shea quay

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 11:04 PM

I actually came across this the other day in the UK as part of a supplier's allergen statement. They had a statement from their vendor stating that no nut products were allowed on site, including vending machines. The machine contained Bounty bars (that contain coconut). I asked them if they were aware that tree nuts were a recognised as an allergen in the US. They explained that they didn't export to the US. I told them that I, as their customer, did. We did have a good giggle about it. I made their technical manager insert pound after pound to remove all Bounty's from the machine, I then ate them, one after another, just to teach them a lesson. I have become everything I've ever hated. 

As for controlling staff habits, that's a job for the production manager. Dump some of your workload on him, considering the amount of time you have probably saved his ass!


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#13 shea quay

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Posted 29 April 2015 - 11:05 PM

BTW, never attempt to eat 20 Bounty bars in one sitting. 


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#14 Charles.C

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 05:16 AM

Hi SQ,

 

Thks for the bounteous anecdotes.

 

But just to balance the beam -

 

http://www.huffingto..._b_6250426.html

 

Its difficult to know where to draw the lines IMO.

 

And then we have "may contain ......."

 

I have always been rather negative about VITAL as far as the numbers go but at least it's an attempt to quantitate the problem.


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#15 IzzyP

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 07:22 AM

Thks for input.

 

Is this related to a Food audit or a Food Packaging audit ?

 

 

Regulation EC No 852/2004

Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 - Schedule 4

 

Article 12 of FIC


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#16 Charles.C

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 07:26 AM

Regulation EC No 852/2004

Food Hygiene Regulations 2006 - Schedule 4

 

Article 12 of FIC

 

So its Food, right ?


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#17 IzzyP

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 07:32 AM

It would cover food in a vending machine anywhere. Be it in a food factory, packaging, shop or garage forecourt.


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#18 Charles.C

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 07:39 AM

It would cover food in a vending machine anywhere. Be it in a food factory, packaging, shop or garage forecourt.

 

Thanks.

I located the first two refs - cannot see any mention of allergens.

 

Possibly in the the third one ?


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#19 Charles.C

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 08:52 AM

Hi Izzy

 

I deduce the FIC reference in Post 15 is "guidelined" in the attached file -

 

Attached File  FSA - food-allergen-labelling-technical-guidance.pdf   688.82KB   16 downloads

 

Article 12 states –

 

An allergic reaction can be produced by a tiny amount of a food ingredient that a person is sensitive to (for example a teaspoon of milk powder, a fragment of peanut or just one or two sesame seeds). Symptoms of an allergic reaction can range from mild symptoms such as itching around the mouth and rashes; and can progress to more severe symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhoea, wheezing and on occasion anaphylaxis (shock). Around ten people in the UK die from allergic reactions to food every year.

 

 

The only reference to vending machines I could find was (Article 14) –

 

The distance selling rule to provide information  before  the  purchase  is  concluded,  does  not  apply  to  prepacked foods  sold  through  vending  machines.

 

Thanks for links but I don’t quite see any specific connection to the (apparent) homing-in-auditing of contents of vending machines from an allergenic POV  (assuming that an  allergen control program exists and is satisfactory).


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#20 SpursGirl

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Posted 30 April 2015 - 11:29 AM

BTW, never attempt to eat 20 Bounty bars in one sitting. 

 

LOL - man vs bounty bar....... love it  :clap:


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