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Best practice in deboxing frozen meat products?


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#1 Tennisbelle

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Posted 14 February 2017 - 01:51 PM

Hello, 

 

   Lastnight the USDA inspector sited us for using a box cutter stating while opeing the boxes we were causing  "deep cuts" in the frozen meat product.  I disagree as the blade is only 3 centimeters long and I saw zero cuts into the meat.  He stated this was insanitary and we adultrated the product.  Have any of you ever dealt with this?  Any suggestions on how to respond?   



#2 Tony-C

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:21 AM

Hi Tennisbelle,

 

I don't see many people using box cutters these days, isn't there an additional problem of the blade snapping and contaminating the meat?

 

I like to use these sort of safety knives where the blade is enclosed and unlikely to snap:

 

Attached File  Safety Knife.jpg   10.89KB   2 downloads

 

Here are another couple of examples:

http://www.food-fact...fety-knife.html
http://www.food-fact...fety-knife.html

 

Kind regards,

 

Tony



#3 Tennisbelle

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:36 PM

Thanks Tony.  The problem is the inspector claims we are cutting into the meat, and the the box is contaminated. It'snot true, but he is relentless.  He has not seen anyone open the box, it's just his feeling.  I plan on appealing the NR. 



#4 Scampi

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 01:28 PM

Did the boxes come from another facility? Was the top of the pallet protected, was it a new blade, did anyone verify that the tops of the cartons were clean?

 

In order to fight the inspector you'll need to have all of the checks and balances in writing on paper in order to fight the non conformance


Because we always have is never an appropriate response!


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#5 Mulan1010

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 10:30 PM

We had a similar issue with our inspector a few years ago.  We use a short bladed knife, with a rounded blunt tip.  Even with that, we had to start cutting the box along the side and then open the top so that we were not cutting over the meat. We do a knife check at start and end of each shift and train employees to immediately notify someone if their blade or any part of the knife breaks. - Once the operator opens the box (or a few) then he/she must clean and sanitize gloves prior to handling the product inside.

 

Since then our suppliers changed and now the frozen goods arrive in boxes with fitted lids and a sort of plastic tie around the box.  With these boxes we just have to cut the ties making sure to properly dispose of them and then pull the lid off of the boxes. This seems to make our inspector more at ease.  However, he still seems to enjoy watching the process at times, especially if we have a newbie on the job.



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#6 JENA

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 11:32 PM

You must have the same inspector we do.  I wish our suppler did that, it would make life so much easier.  I have spent hours on the computer to see what others are doing....can't find anything!  The blade is new at the start of the shift and we sanitize the knife and gloves prior to removing the product which is encased in plastic.  Another plant said the inspector also had the same issue with them.  They said the inspector was OK with them using a leaf blower before they open the box.  



#7 Mulan1010

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 06:58 PM

I think the inspectors are good about communicating with each other :). - Personally, I would not recommend the leaf blower method as I would think it would just send any contaminants into the air, which could settle back onto the product or affect other products. - If it is possible, you might put in a request to the supplier to see if they could look into boxes with fitted lids or even a different design that would help with the opening.  I know we have had customers ask us to look into different boxes for them, which we did.  Sometimes we were able to change and sometimes we were not.






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