I am wondering if anyone has any experience with aluminum flakes from aluminum bakery racks and pans.
We make RTE snack products and our racks do NOT go in an oven but our pans do (for the sole purpose of toasting ingredients for aesthetic reasons rather than food safety reasons). We have SOPs in place so the production and packaging teams know to load a rack from the top down and to unload a rack from the top up. However, we are still experiencing very small flakes of the aluminum falling onto the top of our product.
This just came up yesterday and I have not had a chance to go on the floor and do an audit; I had suggested there may be team members not loading/unloading racks properly but our Ops Mgr expressed confidence this was not the case. I do plan to do a walk around over the next couple of days but would appreciate your input in the mean time.
We clean all of our racks at least once per week and our pans more often (neither are food contact surfaces as we use parchment pan liners every time we use the pans). The flakes are too small to be considered a choking hazard but we've found them in-house prior to packaging and shipment and have also heard from 2 customers over the past month that they've found them. We have been able to address the customer issues with success but this is still a concern for us.
In trying to find a solution, we found shelf covers online but they are expensive and seem like they would create a larger hazard from a standing water/mold/etc. point of view.
Please, does anyone have any experience with dealing with this? If so, how did you solve your problem? I let Management know that it might come down to the man hours spent to clean all of the racks multiple times per week which wasn't a very popular idea but, hey, I didn't take this job to make friends, right?
Thanks in advance!