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GMP Violation - Gum or inside of mouth?


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#1 CarrieK

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 06:33 PM

I wrote an employee up for chewing gum. I watched him chew over a 5 minute period to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

When his supervisor presented the write up to him, he stated he was chewing the inside of his mouth (and felt it necessary to show me the inside of his mouth!).

 

I have a feeling this excuse will now be the norm. I cannot prove he was chewing gum (although he's been written up for several GMP violations, including gum, in the past), and I am sure his co-workers will follow that excuse knowing his write-up was discarded.

 

My question is - what do I do now that this excuse has been exposed? Do I have employees show me their 'not' gum...open their mouths for me? Just not write anyone up for gum unless I see the gum in their mouth physically?

 

I didn't think that writing up GMP violations would be so difficult.



#2 mambo

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 06:55 PM

''He was chewing the inside of his mouth''. He may be right or just trying to be sneaky. What does your GMP Policy say about chewing gum? I guess it's clear that chewing gum on the Production floor is prohibited.

 

Developing a Food safety culture takes concerted efforts and team work. A system which i have found to be very useful is training and holding team members responsible & accountable. If i found a team member chewing gum & all the nearby associates have watched him/her and not corrected him/her, the issue would be addressed to the whole group and the individual dealt with based on the Company's policy. Our policy is tough, 3 strikes & you're out!

 

As far your case is concerned, since you can't prove that he was chewing gum, you may have to put the write-up on hold. If i were in your shoes & i suspected someone to be chewing gum, i would approach the supervisor or the person directly (depending on your guidelines) and ask them if they are chewing gum. "Hey buddy, are you chewing gum on the floor?"  As he/ she mutters no, you would probably tell if he/she has gum inside the mouth.



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#3 RMAV

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 07:16 PM

I've been accused of gum chewing when not chewing gum.  I've also seen someone do the gum swallow trick "you can't prove a thing."  It's a tough one, but the ones that try and skirt the system in this way will be caught eventually, hopefully before they cause a food safety issue.



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#4 Mulan1010

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 07:57 PM

Wow, I feel like we could be working at the same facility. :)  -   I do not know if it is an option for you or not but we ended up rewording our GMP's to include the verbage "Spitting, drinking, eating and/or chewing on anything is not allowed in any production area." - Now when I get the response that I was chewing on my tongue or my cheek I can respond "oh, well then in that case it is still a violation." 



#5 Helena de Guzman

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 11:02 PM

Is chewing a gum just a habit or trying to address something like thirst or anything?  Why a no chewing gum policy seems to be difficult to implement? 



#6 Helena de Guzman

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 11:06 PM

''He was chewing the inside of his mouth''. He may be right or just trying to be sneaky. What does your GMP Policy say about chewing gum? I guess it's clear that chewing gum on the Production floor is prohibited.

 

Developing a Food safety culture takes concerted efforts and team work. A system which i have found to be very useful is training and holding team members responsible & accountable. If i found a team member chewing gum & all the nearby associates have watched him/her and not corrected him/her, the issue would be addressed to the whole group and the individual dealt with based on the Company's policy. Our policy is tough, 3 strikes & you're out!

 

As far your case is concerned, since you can't prove that he was chewing gum, you may have to put the write-up on hold. If i were in your shoes & i suspected someone to be chewing gum, i would approach the supervisor or the person directly (depending on your guidelines) and ask them if they are chewing gum. "Hey buddy, are you chewing gum on the floor?"  As he/ she mutters no, you would probably tell if he/she has gum inside the mouth.

I do agree with you@mambo.  It is very important that your neighbours are equally concern as the Food safety team leader.   Implementation is everybody's responsibility.



#7 Ryan M.

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 11:42 PM

I would add to this sentiment in trying to foster a team approach with an incentive program.  We have "safety bucks" that associates can use to purchase things like safety shoes, electronics, or other consumer goods.  They were initially implemented to promote a safety culture, but we use them to reward associates for a variety of things.  I wouldn't rely on a "tattletale" approach, but rather if you see an associate enforce GMP's with a coworker they get safety bucks.

 

I've been in situations where I forget to follow a GMP..honest mistake and associates inform me of it.  I give them safety bucks for the coaching from them.

 

''He was chewing the inside of his mouth''. He may be right or just trying to be sneaky. What does your GMP Policy say about chewing gum? I guess it's clear that chewing gum on the Production floor is prohibited.

 

Developing a Food safety culture takes concerted efforts and team work. A system which i have found to be very useful is training and holding team members responsible & accountable. If i found a team member chewing gum & all the nearby associates have watched him/her and not corrected him/her, the issue would be addressed to the whole group and the individual dealt with based on the Company's policy. Our policy is tough, 3 strikes & you're out!

 

As far your case is concerned, since you can't prove that he was chewing gum, you may have to put the write-up on hold. If i were in your shoes & i suspected someone to be chewing gum, i would approach the supervisor or the person directly (depending on your guidelines) and ask them if they are chewing gum. "Hey buddy, are you chewing gum on the floor?"  As he/ she mutters no, you would probably tell if he/she has gum inside the mouth.



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#8 QAGB

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 07:26 PM

I've been accused of gum chewing when not chewing gum.  I've also seen someone do the gum swallow trick "you can't prove a thing."  It's a tough one, but the ones that try and skirt the system in this way will be caught eventually, hopefully before they cause a food safety issue.

 

 

I had the same thing happen to me as well. I do tend to chew the inside of my mouth, and because of that, someone said I was chewing gum. I don't chew gum because I have some pretty expensive dental work in my mouth that I would not want to damage. Besides, I'm trying to promote GMPs; not violate them.

 

Every now and then I run into this chewing issue with employees though. Much more with people still chewing food coming back from break, rather than chewing on gum. Reminders are issued, but I luckily don't see too many repeat offenders.

 

QAGB



#9 IchBinGnade

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 02:18 AM

It would depend on your GMP policy. Example: if your policy states that no chewing gum is allowed within the specified area in your plant, it means, irregardless if it is chewed or inside the pocket, it is still a violation.



#10 GMO

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:06 PM

I agree that banning chewing gum on site is a good way to go.  Not only does it then make it a violation if someone has it on them but also it saves money and time cleaning it up outside.  Do be careful though, certainly in the UK you're on shaky legal grounds asking someone to turn out their pockets, if they refuse you don't have many options to force them.  I suppose you could get rid for refusing a reasonable request from a manager.

 

We also have a rule that your pockets should (at most) contain locker keys and nothing else.  In practice many of our locker padlocks are codes now anyway so they don't even need keys.  That way it reduces the risk of anything being in the production area and also potentially gives you some grounds to say it's really not intrusive to check someone's pockets because nothing should be there after all (but I'd get legal advice on that.)

 

Who chews on their cheek?  That's kind of odd.



#11 RMAV

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 12:14 PM

"Who chews on their cheek?  That's kind of odd."

 

Me.  But then again I'm in QA. :lol2:



#12 QAGB

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 01:12 PM

I agree that banning chewing gum on site is a good way to go.  Not only does it then make it a violation if someone has it on them but also it saves money and time cleaning it up outside.  Do be careful though, certainly in the UK you're on shaky legal grounds asking someone to turn out their pockets, if they refuse you don't have many options to force them.  I suppose you could get rid for refusing a reasonable request from a manager.

 

We also have a rule that your pockets should (at most) contain locker keys and nothing else.  In practice many of our locker padlocks are codes now anyway so they don't even need keys.  That way it reduces the risk of anything being in the production area and also potentially gives you some grounds to say it's really not intrusive to check someone's pockets because nothing should be there after all (but I'd get legal advice on that.)

 

Who chews on their cheek?  That's kind of odd.

 

I chew on my cheek, so I guess that makes me kind of odd. :happydance:

 

However, we do ban gum for the production employees and anyone working in the production area. Our office people seem to be phobic of production areas, so we seldom have to worry about them. We also try to make sure that uniform pockets on shirts are sewn shut, and that people aren't carrying personal items in their pockets. If we see someone remove something from their pocket that shouldn't be in it, we will notify the supervisor or talk to the person individually and tell them that this should be kept in their personal locker. We definitely don't force anyone to show us their pockets, and if something ever had to go as far as that, we'd just take it to HR at that point.

 

QAGB



#13 GMO

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 02:17 PM

Is the cheek chewing thing some kind of anxiety relief?  Doesn't it hurt???  Seems strange to me!



#14 Ryan M.

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:04 PM

Seems odd to me as well...



#15 QAGB

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:06 PM

Is the cheek chewing thing some kind of anxiety relief?  Doesn't it hurt???  Seems strange to me!

 

Yes, for me it's anxiety relief. It doesn't hurt because I'm not really trying to eat my face. It's not like a chomping action, more like a subtle chewing? It's really funny to be describing this lol. I also had my jaw dislocated as a teenager, so my jaw sort of pops and feels weird anyway.

 

I'd really like to think that it's not that hard to tell whether someone is chewing gum or just chewing the inside of their mouth. If I can tell that someone is chewing on food or candy, then I will stop them. if they so choose to swallow this food (and think I can't see that) before opening their mouth then that's on them. I will tell their supervisor, and they can handle it. Repeated violations would be written up with heavier consequences with each occurrence.

 

QAGB



#16 QAGB

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:11 PM

Seems odd to me as well...

 LOL ok you guys. Thanks for pointing out that RMAV and I oddly chew our cheeks. The point of this, is that some people do actually chew the inside of their mouths...whether it's the cheek or tongue or popping of their jaw.

 

However you want to handle your policy is up to you. I think Mulan1010 proposed that chewing on anything would be a violation according to their system. I can understand that policy, but I probably wouldn't quite give someone a violation if they are in fact chewing their face in some way; as there really shouldn't be any risk involved in it. It just makes it harder if everyone starts making that excuse as the original poster pointed out.

 

QAGB



#17 Ryan M.

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:15 PM

 LOL ok you guys. Thanks for pointing out that RMAV and I oddly chew our cheeks. The point of this, is that some people do actually chew the inside of their mouths...whether it's the cheek or tongue or popping of their jaw.

 

However you want to handle your policy is up to you. I think Mulan1010 proposed that chewing on anything would be a violation according to their system. I can understand that policy, but I probably wouldn't quite give someone a violation if they are in fact chewing their face in some way; as there really shouldn't be any risk involved in it. It just makes it harder if everyone starts making that excuse as the original poster pointed out.

 

QAGB

 

Is there no risk?  Actually..isn't there risk of breaking your skin?  Spittal coming out of your mouth?  Of course there is risk to everything.  Just need to find the best way to manage / eliminate the risk if it is deemed important to do so.

 

Chewing on anything may seem draconian, but sometimes that is the way to go.  In our facility the director of operations deemed it as a non-smoking facility.  Bummer for the few people here that smoke, but at least it is far easier to manage.

 

Best of luck to the OP, not a fun task.



#18 QAGB

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 03:25 PM

Is there no risk?  Actually..isn't there risk of breaking your skin?  Spittal coming out of your mouth?  Of course there is risk to everything.  Just need to find the best way to manage / eliminate the risk if it is deemed important to do so.

 

Chewing on anything may seem draconian, but sometimes that is the way to go.  In our facility the director of operations deemed it as a non-smoking facility.  Bummer for the few people here that smoke, but at least it is far easier to manage.

 

Best of luck to the OP, not a fun task.

 

Well Ryan,

 

I cannot speak for every odd person out there; however, I have never chewed my mouth to the extent of drawing blood. Again, subtle chewing, not like I'm attempting to chew my face like someone would chew a piece of gum. So in the case I am describing, no there wouldn't be any more risk to me chewing my cheek (considering my mouth is closed) as it would for someone to talk while working on the line and inadvertently lose a little saliva while speaking. Also, no more risk than a person working on the line with chapped lips accidentally breaking their skin (which is exposed to the air and product). Really wasn't going to go this far in depth with it..... again just making the point that some people do it. I definitely don't wish to go back and forth with the topic. It's all in how the OP wants to handle it.

 

QAGB



#19 RMAV

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 04:37 PM

"Spittal coming out of your mouth?"

 

Uh oh, QA swallowed a textbook!  (don't worry, it happens to all of us from time to time).  Like QAGB pointed out, us cheek chewers are lower risk because we don't talk as much.



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#20 jgbehnke

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Posted 05 April 2017 - 10:06 PM

When people chew gum it is the airborne saliva that is of concern,  Making movements with the mouth that are similar to chewing gum will give the same airborne saliva contamination.  The behavior needs to be addressed.  Another way would be masks for everyone.

 

Jim@eagletraining.net



#21 IchBinGnade

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:26 AM

I agree that banning chewing gum on site is a good way to go.  Not only does it then make it a violation if someone has it on them but also it saves money and time cleaning it up outside.  Do be careful though, certainly in the UK you're on shaky legal grounds asking someone to turn out their pockets, if they refuse you don't have many options to force them.  I suppose you could get rid for refusing a reasonable request from a manager.

 

We also have a rule that your pockets should (at most) contain locker keys and nothing else.  In practice many of our locker padlocks are codes now anyway so they don't even need keys.  That way it reduces the risk of anything being in the production area and also potentially gives you some grounds to say it's really not intrusive to check someone's pockets because nothing should be there after all (but I'd get legal advice on that.)

 

Who chews on their cheek?  That's kind of odd.

I do chew on my cheek most of the time :rofl2:



#22 GMO

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:32 AM

When people chew gum it is the airborne saliva that is of concern,  Making movements with the mouth that are similar to chewing gum will give the same airborne saliva contamination.  The behavior needs to be addressed.  Another way would be masks for everyone.

 

Jim@eagletraining.net

 

 

Most people I have seen chewing gum do so with their mouths closed.  Would it not be as much risk with people talking?



#23 GMO

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 09:33 AM

I do chew on my cheek most of the time :rofl2:

 

Have we got a lot of anxious Techies?   :oops2:



#24 RMAV

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 11:38 AM

When people chew gum it is the airborne saliva that is of concern,  Making movements with the mouth that are similar to chewing gum will give the same airborne saliva contamination.  The behavior needs to be addressed.  Another way would be masks for everyone.

 

Jim@eagletraining.net

 

With all due respect, :roflmao:



#25 Ryan M.

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Posted 08 April 2017 - 01:56 AM

With all due respect, :roflmao:

 

Well, if you think about it, there is a point to this.  One reason why most facilities have a policy against taste testing food in production areas.






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