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Smock laundering at home

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Posted 09 February 2012 - 04:38 PM

My company requires employees to wash their smocks at home. Is anyone else doing this? Any advice on this subject is appreciated.



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Posted 09 February 2012 - 08:05 PM

My company requires employees to wash their smocks at home. Is anyone else doing this? Any advice on this subject is appreciated.


Dear bbrennantbf,

I admire your perseverance on the subject of smocks. :smile: ( http://www.ifsqn.com...dpost__p__51174 )

I hope you have more luck this time. (Your new question has been discussed a few times here, one obvious difficulty is validation).

Rgds / Charles.C

Kind Regards,



George @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 17 February 2012 - 10:56 PM

Hi bbrennantbf

Charles C is correct. Validation is your issue. If you're BRC certified it will become an issue for you on your next audit. Under Issue 6 you will be required to provide verification of services from providers. In your case you do not utilize the services of a laundering provider. It could be argued that each employee is a service provider ... I'm sure you get the picture.

It would be helpful to know what products you produced in but IMO you should use a service provider and conduct periodic validation of their process. Some retailers have detailed specifications on standards of laundering and the processes involved.



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Posted 18 February 2012 - 07:47 AM

If you think about the kind of controls you'd have in place for a laundry; choice of detergent, temperature of wash, glass policy, segregation, etc. etc. It would be laughable and I could not be controlled as well as you'd like.

Ok though, let's be pragmatic. Lots of standards / certification bodies still permit this so how could you control it practically? First of all, risk assess. If you make RTE chilled food or work in a high risk / high care facility then I'd suggest you shouldn't be doing it but low care / packaging, perhaps you could argue the risks are low, particularly if your foodstuff is not suitable for pathogen growth. You need to record this risk assessment.

Then you need to validate as far as you can. I would suggest you give guidance to people on how to wash the smocks. You can't complain at people doing it wrong if you don't tell them! Then I would suggest as a validation exercise you do extensive swabbing of smocks to prove home laundry is not presenting a risk.

Then verification, you'd have to do ongoing visual and swabbing checks of the smocks to ensure they're not presenting a risk and as verification that people are laundering them!

But long term, your customers are bound to eventually demand that you launder them in a laundry designed for the purpose. So it's probably best to cost up what the costs will be for the validation and swabbing / auditing and suggest to your boss you move across. Note you can often hire clothing which then takes out the cost of repair and replacement and spreads out the cost.

shea quay

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Posted 23 February 2012 - 04:02 PM

Self laundering is only permitted for low risk areas where only enclosed products are present, e.g. warehouses, loading bays etc. These staff would be excluded from entering or passing through production areas. Staff in production areas are permitted to launder their own socks, if that is any consolation.

isabelle campbell

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:10 PM

I was going to create a new post, but perhaps I can tag along with this one?
My plant currently uses a laundering service for the cleaning of smocks for use in a low risk environment processing seasonings. We use such low volumes of smocking (equal to a large load of laundry per day) that we are considering handling the cleaning of them on site. From what I am reading so far I would have to validate that the detergent I use is fit for use/ used in the proper concentration/ that the laundry team has PMs, etc on it/ and that the cleaning of these smocks is validated as clean (for allergens AND micro?). Am I missing anything else?

Chris @ Safefood 360°

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Posted 26 September 2012 - 05:48 PM

Hello Isabelle. I remember the first time I read the BRC code and saw the requirements regarding smocks/laundering and thinking out loud "you've got to be kidding me!". I have worked in two low risk facilities where disposable garments were used in lieu of regularly laundered smocks. Price varies depending upon the quality of the garment - you seriously get what you pay for here. That said, a prudent risk assessment followed by a comparison of the price of disposable vs. a laundry service at your location may be a worthwhile activity. Home laundering will lead an auditor to dig deep to see how well you trained your employees (re: laundry), the laundry method(s) you prescribed (and what basis you used to validate the cleaning methods you trained on), and futher - how are you verifing it on an ongoing basis? As GMO pointed out above, that becomes one more time and effort consuming item on your already full plate. The price of using disposables might offset the chances of a non-conformance when/if an auditor finds the one employee who slept through class.

(This is merely one more option - hope it is helpful)

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