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Bamboo Toothpicks in Meat Plant

Bamboo Wood Toothpick Meat Wood Policy BRC

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#1 PSC

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 05:17 PM

Hello All,

 

I have a question that I am hoping someone can give me some guidance on. We are a USDA inspected meat plant that produces an RTE jerky product. We have a customer that has us place individually wrapped plastic toothpicks inside each bag. However, they are moving away from the plastic toothpicks and want to now use a bamboo toothpick that is individually wrapped in paper. 

 

I know that clause 4.9.5.1 of the BRC states we should try to avoid the use of wood in open product areas, but with this being individually wrapped, I think it's okay. However, I am looking to see if anyone has dealt with any situation like this or any ideas or suggestions that others may have.

 

Thank you!

 

-PSC



#2 SpiceyQA

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 05:48 PM

Wouldn't the use of paper wrappings on the IW toothpicks cause their own issues? I'm thinking pieces forming FO and how can you ensure sanitation of paper?



#3 The Food Scientist

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 06:20 PM

I mean if you already buy these toothpicks individually packed as they are and just put them inside the bags (no exposure of those toothpicks), it should be fine. You can conduct a risk assessment. 


Everything in food is science. The only subjective part is when you eat it. - Alton Brown.


#4 Hank Major

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Posted 16 October 2019 - 07:02 PM

I would make sure that the contract states that the legal risk is 100% on the customer.



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#5 zanorias

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Posted 18 October 2019 - 05:42 PM

Do you wrap the toothpicks yourselves?

BRC doesn't categorically rule out wood in open product environments. Start with a risk assessment and determine if you can implement the necessary procedures to make it viable. It may even come down to a commercial decision i.e. the extra cost of checks required does not make the product financially feasible.



#6 GMO

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Posted 20 October 2019 - 07:08 PM

I have had a BRC accredited site where we were threading meat onto wooden skewers.  What you have to understand about BRC is it's all risk based.  So what we did was issue and take back in before and after the production runs.  We also trained staff to look for signs of damaged skewers and put in a skewer breakage procedure.  It satisfied the auditor back then and I can't see any significant changes in the standard whereby something similar wouldn't satisfy them now.



#7 Charles.C

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 01:46 AM

I have had a BRC accredited site where we were threading meat onto wooden skewers.  What you have to understand about BRC is it's all risk based.  So what we did was issue and take back in before and after the production runs.  We also trained staff to look for signs of damaged skewers and put in a skewer breakage procedure.  It satisfied the auditor back then and I can't see any significant changes in the standard whereby something similar wouldn't satisfy them now.

 

The above indeed appears to match the Standard's text, ie -

 

4.9.5.1 Wood should not be used in open product areas except where this is a process requirement (e.g. maturation of products in wood). Where the use of wood cannot be avoided, the condition of wood shall be continually monitored to ensure it is in good condition and free from damage or splinters which could contaminate products.

 

 

Logically the haccp plan should also include a risk assessment (ie hazard =  BCPA contamination) regarding paper and bamboo. That's what I did for kebab sticks.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#8 zanorias

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Posted 21 October 2019 - 04:44 PM

Logically the haccp plan should also include a risk assessment (ie hazard =  BCPA contamination) regarding paper and bamboo. 

 

Indeed. The IG mentions that where wood cannot be avoided, a procedure must be in place to ensure it is covered by a HACCP RA, as well as:

- identify damaged items

- minimise the potential for contamination

- ensure that the wood is continually monitored







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