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Acceptability of tiny food residues on conveyor after cleaning


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#1 NicoD

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 07:31 PM

Good afternoon everyone!

 

I would appreciate your opinion.

Environment: SQF food manufacturer

 

Problem:

Very tiny food residues (like the tip of a pen or a tiny little bit larger), mainly pieces of potatoes' skin, found during verification activities on the conveyor belts of the potato slicer, AFTER the night complete cleaning and sanitation procedures.

 

(See pictures)

 

I would say that it might even be almost impossible to remove them all, since they might get jammed into the mesh of the conveyor.

But it's also true that we perform ATP reading every day after each cleaning.

ATP can detect at a molecular level, way smaller than anything that is visible by the naked eye.

 

So, if ATP is a standard, those tiny little visible pieces shouldn't be there (btw, the ATP readings are always good, around 30, so either the operator is picking clean areas or I don't know!)

 

What do you think?

 

 

Finally, how about thin hair-shaped residues on the blue conveyor (potatoes intake)?

(see picture)

 

The basic question is: Is this acceptable, or should we ask to the external contractor (night cleaning company) to be more thorough and get crazy to remove any possible residue?

 

Thank you!

 

 

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#2 NicoD

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Posted 25 July 2016 - 09:10 PM

I'm adding other pictures.

Thanks.

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#3 GMO

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 08:28 AM

I'm assuming low risk?  My view is always zero tolerance.  Ok, amusing story... QA comes to see me... "The belt looks dirty but the ATP swabs passed"

"If the belt looks dirty, the belt is dirty"

 

I hate ATP swabs.  People have an over reliance on something scientific to tell them an answer.  The first and best tools (IMO) in checking if something is clean is your eyes and your nose.  ATP swabs have their place but far too often I've found them to give you a false sense of security which wasn't then backed up by conventional swabbing or inspection.

 

Ok, that all said, if we're talking raw potatoes and you have a good barrier into high care, or the potatoes are sold raw, the risks are lower and this is something you could probably live with.  That said, I would look at if you could change the materials or construction of your belt to make it easier to clean.  Sometimes we all have situations where you have to say "that's the best I can do with the tools I've got" then work out if it's an urgent risk.  If not, then live with it for now but have it on your radar for long term improvement.  If it is a risk, stamp your feet and get it sorted.

 

These are the scenarios in which I'd say "you have to get this sorted now":

  • The belts are used for cooked ingredient which is then going into a product which is ready to eat or ready to reheat
  • The belts are used for raw product but you also have cooked product on site and no high care barrier or insufficient high care barrier
  • Your high care barriers are poor, e.g. belts traverse low risk and high care
  • You are getting very high results from conventional swabbing which may survive the cooking process


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#4 Charles.C

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 09:54 AM

Hi NicoD,

 

i hope yr ATP baseline is not ca 30 units.

 

How about the finished product ?

 

Is this a solid belt or "patchwork" ?.

 

How about the History ? Is this a recent occurrence due some logical cause ?

 

Regardless, i would have thought yr belt should be visually clean unless it relates to the starting appearance ?


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


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#5 Irishlass105

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 10:46 AM

I have always been told and taught others that if an area is not visably clean don't bother to do an ATP swab.

 

ATP swabs are like a back up to confirm it is as clean as it visually looks and your belts do not look visually clean. There is always a fine line between acceptable and doable but I work with poultry and processed chicken and it used to get in and under the belt, between the links and around the rollers. When washed correctly there was never a trace of any meat on it. I think the team need briefed on the standard you expect. 

 

Once a month a senior member of the quality/technical team done a night shift hygiene audit as it is sometimes a shift that is forgot about and standards slip. Maybe a stronger presence would help improve the cleaning being completed.



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#6 NicoD

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 02:17 PM

Hello, thank you all, you all gave useful suggestions!

The risk is low, that's the processing area and surfaces that finished/RTE products never touch.

 

So what I would do is tolerate with potatoes. Of course, if it will ever happen on the meat belt, that will be zero tolerance.

 

Thank you again!!



#7 Charles.C

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Posted 26 July 2016 - 02:33 PM

Hello, thank you all, you all gave useful suggestions!

The risk is low, that's the processing area and surfaces that finished/RTE products never touch.

 

So what I would do is tolerate with potatoes. Of course, if it will ever happen on the meat belt, that will be zero tolerance.

 

Thank you again!!

 

Hi Nico,

 

Apologies but i have no idea what the above post means.

 

Perhaps you could elaborate a little how it relates to the OP.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 sez_1982

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:12 AM

NicoD, in my opinion you need to carry out a risk assessment. If the food safety risk posed by the potato residues is high then you may need to ensure that the belt is completely visually clean or if this is not feasible due to the design of the belt you may need to replace it. If the belt however is dedicated and there is no risk of cross contamination then you may be able to get away with it. It all depends on your risk assessment! 

 

Also what is your acceptance criteria for a cleaned surface? If it is visually clean than the belt clearly fails.  






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