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Colour coding. Is it necessary for non-allergen and low risk operation


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jperri

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 07:56 PM

Hello everyone,

 

I am hoping to get some of your opinions regarding the use of colour coded brooms, mops etc. for a small, low risk vegetable processing plant that does not use any allergen containing products.

 

Our consultant advised us that we do not need this, and that colour coding is necessary if we were using allergens or if separation between raw, finished or cleaning items was an issue. On the other hand, we have a third party cleaning crew and the owner absolutely insisted that these items are necessary under HACCP. I am not sure if this is a sales pitch or not :lol2:...

 

We have brooms and squeegees stored on the "dirty" side of production (raw materials) and brooms and squeegees stored on the "clean" side (where finished product are packed). There is a wall of separation between the two. Mops and brooms for washrooms are stored away from production in a locked room.

 

Now of course colour coding looks nice and I do like the idea of it but when it comes to budget, if it isn't absolutely necessary, my manager would like to use what we currently have before purchasing. 

 

Please let me know what you all think. Thanks!

 

Jenna


Edited by jperri, 12 November 2019 - 07:57 PM.


pHruit

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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:28 PM

Not sure of SQF expectations, but personally I very much prefer colour-coded cleaning kit - it makes it so much easier to distinguish between items for food contact surfaces, floors etc.
And makes it less likely that items will be swapped between areas, and are identifiable if/when it happens.
It's also easier to train people against the requirements - red for x, yellow for y etc.



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Posted 12 November 2019 - 08:39 PM

Your HACCP plan will be specific to your operation & site, so I'm not quite sure what the cleaning guy is referring to, unless he has seen your plan and it's mentioned in the pre-reqs. I agree with the right honourable gentleman above that ideally colour coded is the best way. Although spacial segregation may seem like an effective control, I've seen before on more than one occasion a member or staff taking equipment from one place and using in another. If they are colour coded it's much easier to catch that and prevent it.

 

As to whether you strictly need it, I'm not familiar with the specific SQF requirements so can't say on that one, but as to what I think - colour coded equipment is worthwhile.



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Posted 13 November 2019 - 01:14 AM

Color coding not required for allergens, but if you deal or handle multiple allergens always a good idea.

 

Sanitation you should use color coding for different areas (raw versus cooked / pasteurized) and different surfaces.  You wouldn't want to use the same color brush on the floor and on your product contact equipment.

 

Typically, most food companies have colors for raw, floor and/or drains, cooked / pasteurized product contact surfaces, and non-product contact surfaces.  They may have other colors for other things like capturing oils, greases (maintenance), condensation, carrying tools / parts, etc.



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Posted 13 November 2019 - 12:21 PM

While having equipment that is completely color coded is ideal, some of us in lower margin environments have to improvise.  We have a color-coded system, but use different ways to identify each tool's color.  These include spray painting part of the tool if possible (area where someone will NOT be holding it), using Avery GS (chemical) labels on every tool to identify its color, and using station numbers for the racks (also labeled on the tools) to help keep things straight.  Honestly, identifying the racks by color and number has helped a lot.  It seems to resonate better with people.  Is it ideal?  No.  Would I love completely colored tools?  Yes, but that's not in my budget and this works well enough and the incremental costs were minimal. 

 

The labels were ordered were these (they have different sizes): https://www.amazon.c.../dp/B07286CF3D/

 

Anyway, how I solved the same issue.  No money, but want better control over what tool is used where and for what.

 

Good luck,

Todd

 

 



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GMO

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 12:29 PM

I'm not sure about SQF but I would have colour coding for anywhere you don't want equipment to be mixed up, so for example food contact and non food contact, would you like it if someone cleaned the drain then cleaned the equipment with the same tool?  Even if a wall barriers one area for another, would you like to be able to tell if someone had moved one brush to the other?

 

For me, colour coding is cheap and simple so I'd use it.



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Jeffrey Ort

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Posted 13 November 2019 - 12:30 PM

First step is to perform a risk assessment to identify if not having a color coding system is required. Is there a risk of product contamination using the same equipment from the raw area in the finished area. Is there a risk or possibility of the equipment used for washrooms to be used in the processing area? Do you have drains and brushes in the processing area that could become an issue if used in other areas?  Color coding is a simple was to designate tools and their purpose.



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Posted 13 November 2019 - 07:11 PM

Thank you all so much for your responses!!

 

I agree with everyone in that colour coding is a great way of distinguishing between locations of the plant and food contact/non-food contact cleaning items.

 

I have brought this up to my boss along with your responses and he agrees that it is best to get things set up now rather than wait until something goes wrong to make a purchase. We will either go ahead with colour coded items or implement something similarly to what tsebring mentioned.



GMO

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Posted 14 November 2019 - 11:36 AM

Great news!  Glad our arguments helped.



jperri

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 07:58 PM

Hello everyone, I am back!

 

To give an update, my boss agreed, I did some research on the best suppliers and pricing and now we are ready to map out colours and number of items etc.

 

I wanted to confirm about colour usage as I am new to this. So as I said before we have it set up so that the raw material side of the building is green, production area/finished product side is blue, the warehouse is red/black.

Then I remembered that floor equipment is black... and then non-food contact and food contact are another colour. It got me very confused. We are slowly integrating this and we don't want to go crazy purchasing all these items so we are starting with squeegees, brooms and shovels which are essential for the type of processing we have. Is it fine if these are the colours of the designated area and not black (since they are used for the floor? ...

 

Thanks! :)



LostMyMind

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:10 PM

Check with your audit scheme's requirements as sometimes they care about what colors are used where.  The color logic should tie back to your HACCP plan (from a reducing risk perspective).  Generically, you want to think about Zones and raw versus finished.  Tools for food contact surfaces shouldn't be shared with tools used for outer zones as you want to prevent bringing anything from the rest of the plant onto the food contact surfaces.  Nor would you want a raw product tool to be used on the finished side.

 

Also, restrooms should be their own color, as well as, any equipment used for drains.  Vikan has some good planning resources around color coding.  Their reps will also do a site visit for free if asked. You don't have to go crazy on colors (try not to really), but you want to make sure that food contact surfaces and raw/finished are separated.   

 

Vikan resources: https://www.vikan.co...ownload-center/

 

Hope this helps....

 

Good luck,

Todd

 

 



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QAGB

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Posted 22 November 2019 - 08:43 PM

Hello everyone, I am back!

 

To give an update, my boss agreed, I did some research on the best suppliers and pricing and now we are ready to map out colours and number of items etc.

 

I wanted to confirm about colour usage as I am new to this. So as I said before we have it set up so that the raw material side of the building is green, production area/finished product side is blue, the warehouse is red/black.

Then I remembered that floor equipment is black... and then non-food contact and food contact are another colour. It got me very confused. We are slowly integrating this and we don't want to go crazy purchasing all these items so we are starting with squeegees, brooms and shovels which are essential for the type of processing we have. Is it fine if these are the colours of the designated area and not black (since they are used for the floor? ...

 

Thanks! :)

 

 

If I may ask, what tools are you color coding in the warehouse? Thinking back to my manufacturing days, we did not have color coded items specifically for those areas. 

 

Consider your process. Based on what TSebring shared with you, you need to consider your risk (raws vs. finished), so I would estimate you'd keep the green vs. blue for those areas. You don't have allergens (yay - that makes this easier). You want color coding for food vs. non-food contact (floors, walls, etc). I would use black for non-food contact. Drains could be orange, and restrooms could be red. 

 

BTW- not an endorsement, but I agree with TSebring. Vikan does have some great color coding stuff. I used Nelson Jameson a lot for a complete lineup (not sure if they ship outside of the US), but they sold a lot of Vikan products too.


Edited by QAGB, 22 November 2019 - 08:44 PM.


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SQFconsultant

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 01:05 AM

Not sure of SQF expectations, but personally I very much prefer colour-coded cleaning kit - it makes it so much easier to distinguish between items for food contact surfaces, floors etc.
And makes it less likely that items will be swapped between areas, and are identifiable if/when it happens.
It's also easier to train people against the requirements - red for x, yellow for y etc.

I absolutely agree with this and thus also the owner of your company.  Regardless of risk level it really is the way to go for so many reasons and why on the implementation for SQF that we are currently doing the order is going in next week for color coded everything.


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jperri

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 12:49 PM

Thank you all for your input! This is helpful and puts things into perspective I did not want to get lost in all the colour options and trying to keep things straight forward. I am also going to use Vikan as our supplier. 

 

QAGB - in the warehouse we would use colour coded brooms and squeegees. For us, the warehouse is located in close proximity to the production area so these items can easily cross over. The colour coding would make that stick out like a sore thumb.

 

Jenna



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QAGB

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 02:27 PM

Thank you all for your input! This is helpful and puts things into perspective I did not want to get lost in all the colour options and trying to keep things straight forward. I am also going to use Vikan as our supplier. 

 

QAGB - in the warehouse we would use colour coded brooms and squeegees. For us, the warehouse is located in close proximity to the production area so these items can easily cross over. The colour coding would make that stick out like a sore thumb.

 

Jenna

 

Understandable. We primarily used a floor scrubber for cleaning in the warehouse. Can't say we ever used squeegees there. We also kept floor cleaning tools the same across the board (except restrooms), but they were also labeled so if they traveled somewhere else, we could point it out. We used dry mops (as brooms), and wet mops for getting to areas in the warehouse where the floor scrubber couldn't reach. Those were changed out as prepared by the master cleaning schedule, and then cleaned by our laundry service. Therefore, we didn't have to have a separate color for the warehouse.

 

However, you can choose to do it in whatever way makes the most sense for your company. Sounds like you have a pretty good understanding of what to do....so go make your plant colorful. :)



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GMO

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:10 PM

I am also going to use Vikan as our supplier. 

 

 

Is it me or is browsing through the Vikan or Klipspringer catalogue like p**n for food safety specialists?  All those brightly coloured tools with white surroundings on perfect hooks or shadow boards.  We imagine that if only we had the perfect Vikan or Klipspringer tools, our factory would be perfectly clean, bright and there would never be a missing, damaged or dirty cleaning tool on a shadow board...

 

Then you give them to your operators.  :glare:



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QAGB

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 07:31 PM

Is it me or is browsing through the Vikan or Klipspringer catalogue like p**n for food safety specialists?  All those brightly coloured tools with white surroundings on perfect hooks or shadow boards.  We imagine that if only we had the perfect Vikan or Klipspringer tools, our factory would be perfectly clean, bright and there would never be a missing, damaged or dirty cleaning tool on a shadow board...

 

Then you give them to your operators.  :glare:

 

 

This post made me LOL. 



zanorias

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Posted 25 November 2019 - 09:30 PM

Is it me or is browsing through the Vikan or Klipspringer catalogue like p**n for food safety specialists?  All those brightly coloured tools with white surroundings on perfect hooks or shadow boards.  We imagine that if only we had the perfect Vikan or Klipspringer tools, our factory would be perfectly clean, bright and there would never be a missing, damaged or dirty cleaning tool on a shadow board...

 

Then you give them to your operators.  :glare:

 

It's not just you  :lol2:  






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