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Aluminum Flakes from Bakery Racks & Pans

foreign bodies aluminum bakery racks bakery pans flakes

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#1 ladytygrr

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Posted 08 July 2015 - 07:08 PM

Hi everyone,

 

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?  :whistle:

 

Thanks in advance!

 

~Emily~


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


#2 Steve_T

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 05:18 AM

Hi Emily

 

It is very difficult to "see" the problem without being there.  Are the flakes actual metal filings (as in a tray grinding across stainless steel), or are the flakes white?

  • If metal filings - perhaps line the rack slides with a thin strip of teflon material - similar material to bread board - so that the tray has something to slide on instead of the harder stainless steel.
  • If white flakes - that indicates to me that the aluminium is reacting to a caustic cleaning chemical.

Good luck.



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#3 ladytygrr

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Posted 09 July 2015 - 12:55 PM

Hi Emily

 

It is very difficult to "see" the problem without being there.  Are the flakes actual metal filings (as in a tray grinding across stainless steel), or are the flakes white?

  • If metal filings - perhaps line the rack slides with a thin strip of teflon material - similar material to bread board - so that the tray has something to slide on instead of the harder stainless steel.
  • If white flakes - that indicates to me that the aluminium is reacting to a caustic cleaning chemical.

Good luck.

Hi Steve,

 

Thank you for your feedback. I've confirmed these are actual aluminum flakes (silver, not white). Both our racks and our pans are aluminum so no stainless steel involved. 

 

Our team has discussed covers for the racks, both a tube-like cover that slides onto the rack shelves and a tape-like cover. Both ideas have been rejected due to concerns of standing water, mold and the like developing in the tube-like covers and tears in the tape-like covers which just add the foreign body material back into the mix. 

 

If we're not willing to cover either the racks or the pans with something to keep the aluminum-on-aluminum wear to a minimum, I cannot think of an option other than increased frequency of wipe downs/washing the racks. 

 

I am definitely open to any additional ideas you or anyone else has but I worry that we've painted ourselves into a corner on this one. 

 

Continued thanks,

 

~Emily~


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


#4 AJ1795

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Posted 15 January 2016 - 09:34 PM

Hi Emily,

 

Did you ever figure out a solution to this issue?  We are having the same problem with our bakery racks!



#5 Charles.C

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 06:06 AM

Hi AJ,

 

Change to (appropriate Grade) SS ? or is there a weight handling / heat transmission issue ?

 

Are there Grades of Al like SS ? SS-314 can be food disaster compared to 316 but depending on the application.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#6 ladytygrr

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 09:54 PM

Hi AJ,

 

We do not have the budget to buy new equipment so we took steps to reinforce the importance of racking and un-racking our trays correctly. I started conducting more frequent audits and discussing this with the supervisors, impressing upon them the message that they and their teams are the line of defense against customer complaints or, worse, choking hazards. We also started having the team kind of carry the tray into the rack, supporting it on the bottom while they guide the tray as far onto the rack as they can before they set it on the rails and push it in. Some employees are able to "carry" the tray all the way into its spot so their trays are simply set in place; other employees have a shorter reach so they have to slide the tray maybe half the way. Either way, it's still less of the aluminum-on-aluminum scraping. 

 

We haven't had a customer complaint or internal finding for at least 3 months, now, and I owe it to my team for staying so alert and engaged during their shifts. 

 

Hope this helps!

 

~Emily~


Once in a while you get shown the light, in the darkest of places if you look at it right. -Grateful Dead

 


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#7 AJ1795

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 01:37 PM

Thanks, Emily!  I suppose everything always comes back to proper training and enforcement! 



#8 Charles.C

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 05:47 PM

Thanks, Emily!  I suppose everything always comes back to proper training and enforcement! 

 

And Resources perhaps. (= moolah).


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#9 khalleao

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Posted 11 October 2019 - 05:06 PM

We think we have come up with a fix for the aluminum flakes (bakery rack erosion). We applied 2" Slick Strip tape UHMW Polyethylene to the shelf edges. Pans slide much more easily and no aluminum dust! Best source we've found is Acrotech (www.acrotechinc.com). Sept 2019 price $75 for a 2" wide, 10 mil thick, 36 yards long, part #SST1002. We tried some thicker Slick Tape from ePlastics, which was a bit easier to work with, but cost much more. We are now using the tape on all bakery and fudge racks and the staff loves it.
 
Attached Files:

 

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#10 Charles.C

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 01:28 AM

Hi kalleao.

 

I downloaded the catalog ( >pg 18).

 

I do not see any specific mention of product being "foodsafe" or suitable for food use/contact. ?

 

TBH, the problem appeared to be more a result of handling  and/ or inferior equipment.

 

Thanks anyway.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 khalleao

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Posted 12 October 2019 - 05:20 PM

With regard to UHMW (ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene) ....here are the material characteristics (see link).  The material has FDA, USDA approval for food processing parts.  If we are splitting hairs, no, this particular manufacturer (Acrotech) has not sought approval for this use.  My guess is that the UHMW producers are not aware of this potential use.  On the other hand, there is no food contact in this application. 

https://dielectricmf...edge-base/uhmw/







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