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The use of wood (tools, brushes, brooms, etc.) in manufacturing


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#1 Carolyn Grimmius

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 04:59 PM

We recently had a Customer audit which we receive a minor finding regarding the use of wood in the areas of manufacturing of food packaging, which the same type of finding happen during our first SQF audit.  We do monitor these items for any damage, etc., but according to the finding, they frown on the use of wood in these areas.  Can someone please advise.   Appreciate and thank you.



#2 Snookie

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:35 PM

Wood is generally frowned upon but it can also depend on your environment and what and where you are using the wood. 

 

Currently I working in a packaging plant which is very dry and there are pallets in the environment as the final products are loaded onto it. 

 

In produce we often had pallets in the raw sections where the produce was loaded into various bins, hoppers etc, before it went to the areas that it would be cleaned and processed.  In the processes areas wood was prohibited. 

 

More information on your product and processes would be helpful.


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#3 RG3

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:36 PM

Hi Carolyn,

 

Under SQF 11.7.5.5 or 3.7.4.5 or 4.7.5.5 or 9.7.4.5 10.7.4.5 or 12.7.1.4 or 13.7.1.4 (this one is you) or 14.7.5.5 depends what model you're using  "Wooden pallets and other wooden utensils used in food handling/contact zones shall be dedicated for that purpose, clean, maintained in good order. Their condition is subject to regular inspection."
 

Does it say wood is prohibited? No. But however wood is frowned upon by all audits for a few reasons: It is hard to control as a foreign material. Small slivers that may be missing are hard to detect. The wood can easily chip, break, compression fanures, spring, wane, etc. It is difficult to clean. Wood likes to absorb things, like water, chemical, which in turns gets moist and will become a great substrate for bacteria. Your metal detector does not detect wood, if you have a metal detector. It also minimizes your investigation on where did this wood complaint come from?

 

Your best bet is to change your cleaning utensils to some type of hard plastic. Dare I say, color coded utensils, depending on what is being cleaned. Product contact surface one color, non-product surface machine another color, floors another color, etc.



#4 teaks

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 05:53 PM

We had a issue with a wood-handled tool that was being used in the production environment. It's not a new story -- tools that have been used for a long time don't always get a fresh evaluation of their suitability for use.  One day QC realized the potential contamination risk and wanted to get rid of it , but needed help identifying a substitute.  Several substitutes were tried, but the operators complained (tool too heavy, tool not the right size -- you get the picture). It is only until we really engaged the production group that we found something everyone could live with.  

 

There are really a host of solutions available - but engage your operations and/or people for the most successful resolution.

 

Remco is a great resource in the US for food-environment sanitation tools (with lots of color coded options!).



#5 Carolyn Grimmius

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 07:40 PM

Wood is generally frowned upon but it can also depend on your environment and what and where you are using the wood. 

 

Currently I working in a packaging plant which is very dry and there are pallets in the environment as the final products are loaded onto it. 

 

In produce we often had pallets in the raw sections where the produce was loaded into various bins, hoppers etc, before it went to the areas that it would be cleaned and processed.  In the processes areas wood was prohibited. 

 

More information on your product and processes would be helpful.

Good afternoon,

 

Thank you for your response regarding wood.  We do use wooden pallets for staging and shipping product on (paperboard packaging/cartons), which we do have a procedure covering them.  As far as tool, utensils, brushes, etc. we do monitor them, but these tools, etc. are hiding in tool chest, carts, etc. I'm not sure where they are all at, there is not control.   I just want to get away from wooden handled tools, etc.  Appreciate and thank you.



#6 Carolyn Grimmius

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 07:45 PM

Hi Carolyn,

 

Under SQF 11.7.5.5 or 3.7.4.5 or 4.7.5.5 or 9.7.4.5 10.7.4.5 or 12.7.1.4 or 13.7.1.4 (this one is you) or 14.7.5.5 depends what model you're using  "Wooden pallets and other wooden utensils used in food handling/contact zones shall be dedicated for that purpose, clean, maintained in good order. Their condition is subject to regular inspection."
 

Does it say wood is prohibited? No. But however wood is frowned upon by all audits for a few reasons: It is hard to control as a foreign material. Small slivers that may be missing are hard to detect. The wood can easily chip, break, compression fanures, spring, wane, etc. It is difficult to clean. Wood likes to absorb things, like water, chemical, which in turns gets moist and will become a great substrate for bacteria. Your metal detector does not detect wood, if you have a metal detector. It also minimizes your investigation on where did this wood complaint come from?

 

Your best bet is to change your cleaning utensils to some type of hard plastic. Dare I say, color coded utensils, depending on what is being cleaned. Product contact surface one color, non-product surface machine another color, floors another color, etc.

Good afternoon,

 

Appreciate your response to my question or concern regarding wood in the manufacturing areas of paperboard food packaging.  We are SQF Level 3 certified, which we do monitor these items made of wood, or handles made of wood.  I do believe though, that since a Customer requirement states no wood, there is another clause in the standard that supersedes the statement above.   I am recommending to our Senior Mgmt. Staff to do away with wood, and go strictly with hard rubber or plastic.

 

Appreciate and thank you again.



#7 Carolyn Grimmius

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Posted 10 October 2014 - 07:52 PM

We had a issue with a wood-handled tool that was being used in the production environment. It's not a new story -- tools that have been used for a long time don't always get a fresh evaluation of their suitability for use.  One day QC realized the potential contamination risk and wanted to get rid of it , but needed help identifying a substitute.  Several substitutes were tried, but the operators complained (tool too heavy, tool not the right size -- you get the picture). It is only until we really engaged the production group that we found something everyone could live with.  

 

There are really a host of solutions available - but engage your operations and/or people for the most successful resolution.

 

Remco is a great resource in the US for food-environment sanitation tools (with lots of color coded options!).

Good afternoon,

I totally know where you are coming from - Seems like Quality and Operations are always going head to head.   Appreciate your advise, going to recommend we do the same thing here.

 

Again, thank you!!



#8 fgjuadi

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 03:31 PM

Good afternoon,

 

Thank you for your response regarding wood.  We do use wooden pallets for staging and shipping product on (paperboard packaging/cartons), which we do have a procedure covering them.  As far as tool, utensils, brushes, etc. we do monitor them, but these tools, etc. are hiding in tool chest, carts, etc. I'm not sure where they are all at, there is not control.   I just want to get away from wooden handled tools, etc.  Appreciate and thank you.

Oh! They're hiding them.   Because it's the perfect tool, and it's the only tool ever that will ever get the job done, and if they don't hide them, Joe might use them during his shift, and then no one could ever work again.  And if they get removed it's okay, because they can go to a yard sale and buy it again.  Yes, I've been there, with wooden paint brushes non the less.

 

Getting Production's input is key - they have to know you're not taking away anything, you're replacing it.  But it's gonna be manual for you - go station to station, have the operator open up everything, pull the tools that are unacceptable, tell them why, then go google shopping with them until you find something that works for both of you.  It takes a good amount of time on your part to visit with each operator, but they'll be trained and when they find something wooden, they'll show you and ask for a replacement.  


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#9 Carolyn Grimmius

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Posted 13 October 2014 - 04:14 PM

Oh! They're hiding them.   Because it's the perfect tool, and it's the only tool ever that will ever get the job done, and if they don't hide them, Joe might use them during his shift, and then no one could ever work again.  And if they get removed it's okay, because they can go to a yard sale and buy it again.  Yes, I've been there, with wooden paint brushes non the less.

 

Getting Production's input is key - they have to know you're not taking away anything, you're replacing it.  But it's gonna be manual for you - go station to station, have the operator open up everything, pull the tools that are unacceptable, tell them why, then go google shopping with them until you find something that works for both of you.  It takes a good amount of time on your part to visit with each operator, but they'll be trained and when they find something wooden, they'll show you and ask for a replacement.  

This is excellent!! Thank you for your input.  I will use this info during our meeting coming up this Wednesday. Appreciate and again thanks!






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