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Face-Palm of the Day: Ceiling Leak Over Food Material

Hold MaterialCeiling Leak Release for Use

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JSwenPDX

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 04:23 PM

I swear, managers must think we make things up all day long.

 

I've got a client with a water line leak over their cold storage area. Two pallets of food material (sealed, modified atmosphere bag in box) were under the leak so the contaminated boxes were set asid and put on hold with the recommendation to dispose.

 

Of course, 5 weeks later, they want to use it immediately. I explained that there is no industry standard of cleaning ceiling water off of food packaging. The sanitation chemicals on site are to clean foods off of stainless steel and food contact plastics.

 

How do I validate an appropriate cleaning procedure to asure that there won't be a problem when I don't know what is in the ceiling water? You can't sanitize away chemicals from the drop-ceiling building materials.

 

This feels very unprecedented. I appreciate any help I can get!



Mr. Incognito

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 04:58 PM

Personally I would print off copies of the reports of how water dripping from the roof onto production lines caused the major food safety deaths/illnesses from PCA and reports on how their executives were arrested and use those as new wall paper for whoever thinks it's a good idea.


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Setanta

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 05:01 PM

 

I swear, managers must think we make things up all day long.
  
How do I validate an appropriate cleaning procedure to asure that there won't be a problem when I don't know what is in the ceiling water?

 
I don't see how you can.

-Setanta         

 

 

 


Snookie

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:07 PM

I agree with everyone above.  


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cazyncymru

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:29 PM

See you should have disposed of when it happened! 

Don't be bullied into using them. Cite every food safety issue you've ever heard of if they try to use them! At best they may be contaminated with Listeria or pseuds, at worse .... Who knows. It really isn't worth the risk! 

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trubertq

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:32 PM

mention Legionella.... and then find the scariest legionella outbreak you can and give it to 'em.

 

All on e mail to safeguard your reputation and as proof of giving the proper advice. I hope all other advisements were on paper???


Edited by trubertq, 18 February 2015 - 06:33 PM.

I'm entitled to my opinion, even a stopped clock is right twice a day

cazyncymru

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:43 PM

Forgot about legionella! Throw cryptosporidium in too!!

Good call Trubertq! 

Cazx



it_rains_inside

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:45 PM

Everyone above me has said it all.

 

Nope, nope, nope! PCA trial is a great example! (AND yes, exec's are on trial for murder!) 

 

Document your position and site your reasons, ultimately they are going to do what they want, but the risk needs to be brought to their attention. If they are willing to take the risk then it should be explicitly spelled out that they do so knowing that their technical adviser recommended against. 


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Snookie

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:47 PM

Hmmmmm....validate...that would mean loads of micro studies including loads of pathogens as well as yeast and mold.  So there goes a week....don't see immediate in their near future.  But everyone is right....the risk is crazy to take.  


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JSwenPDX

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:48 PM

To clarify, this was a water supply pipe above the false ceiling that had rubbed against another pipe, creating a leak. This was not roof water, though roof water has leaked into office and employee amenity areas. I'm going to go up into the false ceiling and take pictures of what the water was picking up on its way through the drop-ceiling as well.



Mr. Incognito

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:55 PM

possible mold, dirt, bacteria, you don't really know what's up there.  How often is the false ceiling cleaned?

 

I would strongly object and be done with the situation personally.


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it_rains_inside

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:56 PM

Its not so much what water is being dripped, as it is what the water has picked up while dripping.


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Setanta

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 06:58 PM

Yeah, that doesn't change my thoughts. I don't care if you had a leak in a potable water pipe directly above the pallet, you don't know what might have happened after it soaked through the packaging.


Edited by Setanta, 18 February 2015 - 06:58 PM.

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ChocoTiger

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 07:17 PM

In addition to citing food safety issues, and delightful microbes, etc. as stated previously in this thread, I would also add this to your Hold and Release Program, under the category of Reject/Disposal (a.k.a- Heck No! Not in my plant category).  Doing that would help if an incident like this were to happen again.  If it did, you could pull out the Hold and Release Program, and reference the Reject/Disposal section, and remind them how much fun the first time was. 



JSwenPDX

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 08:41 PM

Thanks everyone! I have strongly objected, in email, due to the unknown nature and reasonable likelihood of the risk. Also addressed the nature of trying to equate plastic bag packaging to stainless steel equipment, in terms of cleanability.

 

 

Phew. Is it 5 o'clock yet?



trubertq

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Posted 18 February 2015 - 09:29 PM

Good call!  You can't put yourself in the position where a food safety incident can be laid at your door.

Apart from the probability of harm being caused to consumers, you must also look after your own integrity as a food safety practitioner.


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Mr. Incognito

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 12:30 PM


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KTD

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 03:20 PM

All -

 

It sounds like the ingredient is in a sealed package. Prudent operations have a procedure to open packaging to ensure that contamination from the exterior does not contact the product as the product is removed. This may include sanitizing/disinfecting the packaging's exterior prior to opening. Packaging is designed to protect the product during handling and shipping. Why does the knowledge that something actually contacted the packaging make the product unusable? Something may have contacted the packaging upstream, but you just don't know about it. It would also seem that the downstream process would have to be taking into account during a risk assessment, i.e., is there a cook step?

 

I'm not saying that the ingredient should be used, but I'm not sure if categorically saying 'NO' is the corect answer either...

 

KTD



KTD

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 03:20 PM

Sorry, accidentally posted my comment twice...

 

KTD


Edited by KTD, 19 February 2015 - 03:23 PM.


JSwenPDX

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 04:24 PM

There is no cook step. The product is frozen, intended to be cooked at point of use.



MWidra

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Posted 19 February 2015 - 09:22 PM

The considerations that came to mind are...

  1. If your customer receives a shipment that has been dripped on in transit, would they reject it?  If yes, then your material is not acceptable to your customer.  If no, then their criteria does not care about the packaging.  That's the customer factor.
  2. Do you certify that your packaging is FDA compliant?  If yes, then the contaminated water makes it no longer fit.  If no, then it is not an issue.  That's a regulations factor.
  3. Do your instructions include care with handling the outside packaging as if it were contaminated?  If yes, then the customer's handling will not pass possible contamination onto the food wrapper and onto the food.  If no, then there is the possibility that you have not properly labeled all the risks for this food. That's another regulation factor, since this risk would be outside the scope of what they prudently would allow for.
  4. Are you willing to take on the expense and time to test the outside of the packaging for all pathogens, mycotoxins, and chemical contaminants that could have been transferred into the packaging?  This is an economic factor.

There is no way you can guarantee that you have removed all the risks because you don't know what they are.  Extensive testing could take care of that, but it may cost more than the value of the food.  If the packaging could not contribute anything to the risks inherent in the food, then it does not matter.  But if it could, then it would be hard to determine if the product is safe or not.

 

Martha


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