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#1 lpacy

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 05:11 PM

Hi Everyone,

 

I am so glad I found this forum.  The questions regarding how to implement SQF/HACCP are never ending.

So let's start with my 2 biggest.

 

1.  SQF Personnel GMP and Training requires employees to report illness and we have written this into our training program, Personnel Healthy & Hygiene SOP and Posters.   Now our HR Manager is saying we cannot request this as it is illegal and opens the company up to a lawsuit?  How do I get around this?

 

2.  GMP requires Hairnets, Bear nets etc.... on the manufacturing floor, no food, beverages, etc... Our plant schematic that show employee flow vs product flow.  Employee flow goes from outside non-GMP areas through the production floor (GMP area).  As far as I know, we cannot carry any beverage except clear plastic water bottles through this area correct?

 

Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

L.Pacy


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#2 Charles.C

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 04:15 AM

Hi Everyone,

 

I am so glad I found this forum.  The questions regarding how to implement SQF/HACCP are never ending.

So let's start with my 2 biggest.

 

1.  SQF Personnel GMP and Training requires employees to report illness and we have written this into our training program, Personnel Healthy & Hygiene SOP and Posters.   Now our HR Manager is saying we cannot request this as it is illegal and opens the company up to a lawsuit?  How do I get around this?

 

2.  GMP requires Hairnets, Bear nets etc.... on the manufacturing floor, no food, beverages, etc... Our plant schematic that show employee flow vs product flow.  Employee flow goes from outside non-GMP areas through the production floor (GMP area).  As far as I know, we cannot carry any beverage except clear plastic water bottles through this area correct?

 

Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

L.Pacy

 

Hi L.Pacy,

 

I'm not in USA but I can recall yr query (1) has been discussed here several times previously.

 

IIRC it revolves legally around OSHA whose Employee scope can overlap various features (dress etc) in respect to Company FS Policies.

 

Other USA posters will probably have better input than I but offhand, from a FS Standard POV, Regulatory requirements invariably take precedence over other related factors.

 

(2) Despite it's name, I think in practice  "GMP" is not confined to the manufacturing floor (eg 21 CFR 110).

IMEX no personal food items are allowed to be conveyed beyond the entry (employee) storage lockers.


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#3 Peaches

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:45 PM

Good morning!

1) We recently developed a medical decision tree in conjunction with our HR Manager.  At no time did he indicate we couldn't do this as we are working with food and it's also stated in our GMP's for our employees and visitors.  I would point out to your HR Manager that the government has a section on 'Disease Control/Employee Health' in the federal GMP's (9 CFR 416.5).  It's a requirement for food manufacturing companies that we protect the food we are processing by making sure our employees aren't sick with something that can easily be transferred to the food - if we don't, that could open up even more lawsuits!  You didn't mention what type of product you make (i.e. RTE would be a high risk)

 

2) If your plant has a specific policy that allows clear plastic water bottles through the production floor and have a risk assessment to back this up, then that would be acceptable for your facility.  IMO no food, including water bottles are allowed in the production areas.  


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#4 Parkz58

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:24 PM

I would ask your HR person for documentation to back up the claim that it's illegal to ask employees to declare illness.  I don't think it exists.  You likely cannot ask what specific illness it is, but you can have them declare illness that makes them a risk for food safety, at the very least.  I would be curious to hear what your HR person comes up with - can you please share it with us?

 

As for your second point, I believe it depends upon your GFSI scheme.  For example, the new SQF Code 8 allows for water with some caveats...so, read carefully.


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#5 liberator

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:36 PM

Legalities...I'm glad that you have this in your policy now to convince HR you need it...

 

I'd hate to be the company that didn't have an illness policy for their employees and then only to be sued because their product that went out into the marketplace wound up making people very sick or even causing death. How much of an impact would that have to the business? As food manufacturing companies we are required to produce safe food for our consumers. If that means asking our employees to report any illnesses then so be it. If we don't know about it how can we manage it? The Australian Department of Health has  a list of diseases that must be reported.

 

The Australian Food Standards Code has a section for Health and hygiene responsibilities:

What must a food handler do if she or he is sick?

If a food handler has a food-borne illness

Food handlers must tell their work supervisor if they have any of the following symptoms while they are at work - vomiting, diarrhoea, a fever or a sore throat with a fever. The only exception to this is if the food handler knows that he/she has these symptoms for a different reason. For example, a food handler may be vomiting at work because of pregnancy.

Food handlers must also tell their supervisor if they have been diagnosed as having or carrying a food-borne illness.

As well as reporting the food-borne illness, the food handler must not handle any food where there is a chance they might make the food unsafe or unsuitable because of their illness. Also, if a food handler stays on at work to do other work, he or she must do everything reasonable to make sure that they do not contaminate any food.

Note: Illnesses that can be passed on through food include Hepatitis A and those caused by giardia, salmonella and campylobacter.

If a food handler has skin injuries or sores or is otherwise unwell

Food handlers must tell their supervisor about any infections or conditions like a cold or other problem that may result in discharges from their ears or nose or eyes if there is any chance that they might make food unsafe or unsuitable for people to eat as a result of their condition.

Also, if they continue to handle food with such a condition, food handlers must do whatever is reasonable to make sure that they don’t contaminate any food. For example, an infected sore could be completely covered by a bandage and clothing or by a waterproof covering if on an area of bare skin, and medication can be used to dry up discharges.

If a food handler knows or suspects he or she might have contaminated some food

Food handlers must tell their supervisor if they know or think they may have made any food unsafe or unsuitable to eat. For example, jewellery worn by a food handler may have fallen into food.

 

There was an issue down under whereby frozen berries were implicated in causing Hepatitis A in a large number of consumers due to the alleged contaminated berries.

 

Now if that contamination had been caused by an employee who was ill with a communicable disease that is required to be reported by our health service, and this was not communicated to the employer by the employee or the employee knew they were ill and they allowed them to process these berries which then resulted in customers becoming sick,  ask your HR team how they wish to manage the upcoming coming legal ramifications?


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#6 CMHeywood

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:38 PM

We ran into the same issue.  You cannot require employees to divulge information about chronic (long term) illnesses such as HIV, Hepatitis, etc.

 

Apparently, in the USA, this is illegal to do.  You would have to check with your HR person.

 

We did tell the employees that if they were sick with the flu, cold, or other transmissible disease, that they are encouraged to mention this to their supervisor and we would temporarily assign them to a task where they wouldn't possibly contaminate machines or our products (food contact packaging).

 

I think you cannot force an employee to even divulge if they have a temporary illness such as a cold.


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#7 Parkz58

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 09:53 PM

CMHeywood, do you have any references for what you are saying?


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#8 Ryan M.

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 04:00 AM

Hi Everyone,

 

I am so glad I found this forum.  The questions regarding how to implement SQF/HACCP are never ending.

So let's start with my 2 biggest.

 

1.  SQF Personnel GMP and Training requires employees to report illness and we have written this into our training program, Personnel Healthy & Hygiene SOP and Posters.   Now our HR Manager is saying we cannot request this as it is illegal and opens the company up to a lawsuit?  How do I get around this?

 

2.  GMP requires Hairnets, Bear nets etc.... on the manufacturing floor, no food, beverages, etc... Our plant schematic that show employee flow vs product flow.  Employee flow goes from outside non-GMP areas through the production floor (GMP area).  As far as I know, we cannot carry any beverage except clear plastic water bottles through this area correct?

 

Your help is greatly appreciated.

 

L.Pacy

 

1.  Absurd.  We're located in California (one of the looniest states for employee rights and we have something like this in our GMP's).

 

Here is what we specifically state in our GMP's:

 

Disease Control:
3.6.1 Employees, temporary employees, contractors, and visitors will not be admitted to production areas if they have been exposed to, are affected with, or are a carrier of any potential source of microbial or viral contamination.
3.6.2 Symptoms of communicable disease may include: diarrhea, vomiting, open skin sores, boils, fever, dark urine, or jaundice.
3.6.3 Once an employee is diagnosed with a communicable disease by a doctor, they are obligated to inform management. An employee may not return to work until a doctor has cleared them to return to work. A Risk Assessment will be performed on each incidence of a communicable disease to determine whether other employees, raw materials, equipment, facilities or finished product has been affected. Appropriate disposition of raw materials, equipment and finished product will follow.
3.6.4 No person shall be admitted to production areas if he or she carries, or has been exposed to a communicable disease. Pathogens that are involved with communicable diseases include Hepatitis A virus, Norwalk (like) viruses (Norovirus), Salmonella typhi, Shigella species, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes. Other pathogens that are occasionally transmitted including Campylobacterjejuni, Entamoeba histolytica, EHEC, ETEC, Giardia lamblia, Nontyphoidal Salmonella, Rotavirus, Taenia solium, Vibrio cholera 01, Yersinia enterocolitica and Cryptosporidium parvum.
 
2.  Clarify?  Do your employees have to travel through a GMP area to get to non-GMP areas?  For example, do they have to go through production to get to the break room or lunch area?  If not, then you can decide whatever you wish, but yes clearly identifiable water bottles is ok.  We have this in our GMP's and never had an issue during an audit.

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#9 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 10:43 PM

Tell your HR group to eat it, you now have citations! #lawyered

 

US equal employment opportunity commission specifically has a whole set of guidance on how you can enforce reporting of food borne illness without violating employee rights through ADA. Note that you still are not allowed to disclose their health information to other employees, just like you wouldn't normally with insurance claims, etc.

 

 

 

May I require a current employee to report whether he has a disease transmissible through food as listed in the FDA Food Code or to fill out Model Form 1-A from Annex 7 of the FDA Food Code?

Yes, you may require current employees to make these reports. The ADA itself recognizes the danger to public health presented by diseases transmissible through the handling of food. See 42 U.S.C. . 12113(d)(1) and (2). The ADA also says that you may follow any state, county or local food handling law designed to protect the public health from the infectious and communicable diseases identified by the CDC. See 42 U.S.C. . 12113(d)(3). Such state, county or local food handling laws may include the Food Code's reporting requirements.

Therefore, food service employers who follow the FDA Food Code reporting requirements do not violate the ADA. The FDA Food Code reporting requirements are:

  • In section 2-201.11(A), an employee has to report whether he is diagnosed with an illness due to one of the Big 4 listed pathogens.
  • In section 2-201.11(B), an employee has to report whether he has any symptomsrelating to intestinal illness, boils or infected wounds.
  • In section 2-201.11©, an employee has to report if he has had a past illness due to one of the listed pathogens.
  • In section 2-201.11(D), an employee has to report if he meets one of the specific high-risk conditions for becoming ill due to one of the four listed pathogens.(6)
  • In section 2-201.13, an employee must get a medical clearance before the employer may lift the employee's exclusion or restriction.

You may also ask medical questions of a particular employee who handles food if you have an objective factual basis, i.e., concrete reasons, for linking the employee's medical condition to workplace safety or job performance. For example, if you see that an employee is vomiting or has other symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness, you may ask her if she has one of the Big 4 diseases. You have an objective reason to believe that the employee may pose a risk to workplace safety because you have observed the symptoms that the FDA has determined are likely to transmit one of the listed foodborne illnesses.


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For discussions related to food safety, production, and agriculture. Check out my blog at http://furfarmandfork.com/.

 


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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 15 September 2017 - 04:17 AM

Hi Everyone,

 

I am so glad I found this forum.  The questions regarding how to implement SQF/HACCP are never ending.

So let's start with my 2 biggest.

 

1.  SQF Personnel GMP and Training requires employees to report illness and we have written this into our training program, Personnel Healthy & Hygiene SOP and Posters.   Now our HR Manager is saying we cannot request this as it is illegal and opens the company up to a lawsuit?  How do I get around this?


 

L.Pacy

 

Hi L. Pacy,

 

Clearly, as already noted, the first query is regarding as to how the HR manager validates their opinion.

 

I also speculate that the specific nature of the OP's business may be relevant. Currently unknown.

 

As an expansion of the previous post from an external observer's POV, it appears to me that there is actually a legal "hierarchy" potentially involved within which the appropriate actions for all levels can be quite complex. The "upper" level aspect is not directly queried in the OP although I suspect that if a Food Code scenario is relevant it may be of direct interest to the HR Manager themself. (see * below).

 

JFI for two States of USA the detailed demarcation of hierarchical responsibilities (including those of the employee) are illustrated here -

 

http://www.health.st...empillness.html

http://southernnevad...ns/chapter2.php

 

* Just an illustration here are 3 quotes from 2013 Food Code (not the latest Ed.for sure) -

 

Attached File  fc2013-1.png   158.78KB   0 downloads

Attached File  fc2013-2.png   103.03KB   0 downloads

Attached File  fc2013-3.png   12.33KB   0 downloads

 

Attached File  US Food Code,2013.pdf   6.92MB   0 downloads


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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