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Scientific proof face masks extend shelf life because of reduced contamination

personel hygiene face maks

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#1 Jackobelly

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 05:33 PM

Hello everybody, writing from a medium sized meat processing plant. My boss wants the packaging staff to keep wearing face masks even when Covid19 requirements are lifted. He saw staff in big meat processing plants wearing face masks and he thinks that we should do so too. I am looking for scientific proof of cross contamination from people breathing/talking while packaging RTE products. My boss thinks that this measure will have significant effect on our shelf life. In my risk assessment I did not include this as a risk at all. Do you have any studies/proof that face masks have a significant effect? I don't like to add things to a risk assessment without any good sources. Note: I'm actually wondering if the risk of contamination is higher wearing a face mask because people are always touching it to adjust it and - lets be honest - they don't always wash their hands after touching the face mask. Thanks in advance


Edited by Jacob Timperley, 01 July 2021 - 08:46 AM.


#2 olenazh

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 05:43 PM

There is no scientific proof that viruses could be transmitted through food. Instead, wearing masks when it's not necessary could affect human health as breathing through a mask could reduce oxygen level.



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#3 Jackobelly

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 05:46 PM

There is no scientific proof that viruses could be transmitted through food. Instead, wearing masks when it's not necessary could affect human health as breathing through a mask could reduce oxygen level.

Thanks. It's not so much covid my boss is thinking about but overall contamination with all sorts of bacteria that we have in our saliva.



#4 Scampi

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 05:58 PM

Since you've said not covid----see the link below.........norovirus can be transmitted through food, and it won't be the only one

 

https://www.cdc.gov/...orne-germs.html

 

 

to answer you're question, yes, there are 1000's of possible air borne contaminates that can reduce shelf life

 

https://ucfoodsafety...files/26497.pdf

 Filtration of air entering the food processing area reduces the number of airborne contaminants. If processed foods will not receive a heat treatment or will have few barriers to microbial growth, use of “absolute” (high efficiency) air filters can virtually eliminate microbial contamination. If an air conditioning system is present, the system must be maintained properly so that condensate drains freely and does not contaminate the product. Food processing personnel must use hygienic practices and must be barred from moving from areas containing raw materials to areas containing finished products. GMPs, sanitation, and hygiene are necessary prerequisites for implementing an effective Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system, which enables the highest level of food safety assurance possible. HACCP is a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation, and control of food safety hazards, from raw material production and procurement to distribution and consumption of the finished product (NACMCF, 1997). HACCP is based on seven principles: (1) conduct a hazard analysis, (2) determine the critical control points, (3) establish critical limits, (4) establish monitoring procedures, (5) establish corrective actions, (6) establish verification procedures, and (7) establish recordkeeping and documentation procedures

 

https://cleanair.cam...ntaminants-can/

https://www.research..._foods_A_review

https://meridian.all...747-30_1_13.pdf

https://www.moldbact...use-facilities/

https://encyclopedia.pub/4423

 

the web is awash will 100's of citable research papers for you to reference


Edited by Scampi, 30 June 2021 - 06:04 PM.

Please stop referring to me as Sir/sirs


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#5 olenazh

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 06:00 PM

Honestly, I don't see how human saliva could get into food products - unless your workers tend to spit on the products when packing them? I've never heard of wearing face mask as a food safety measure, I think your boss is over-reacting. It's like with protection from hair contamination: workers wear hairnets and beard-nets, but how about other body hair (e.g. eyelashes, eyebrows, hair on arms)?



#6 Jackobelly

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 06:02 PM

I think you're boss should look at the vaccination rate and make a determination on best practice from the data

 

Legally you cannot ask, but you can ask them to volunteer if they are / are not getting vaccinated anonymously

 

 

Since you've said not covid----see the link below.........norovirus can be transmitted through food, and it won't be the only one

 

https://www.cdc.gov/...orne-germs.html

 

to add to that, bacteria that do not make us sick, can impact your shelf life, particularly on a protein based food like yours where shelf is already relatively short

 

The pharma world and some high care/high risk food processors do require almost aseptic conditions within the packaging spaces, so not that far out of the realm of possibility

 

 

I would argue, however, that better training and supervision is a better way to go (post covid of course)

Thanks for your input!

 

Regarding the bacteria impacting product quality and shelf life: I'm wondering if this contamination is more so coming from hands/equipment/gloves than from saliva.



#7 Jackobelly

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 06:03 PM

Honestly, I don't see how human saliva could get into food products - unless your workers tend to spit on the products when packing them? I've never heard of wearing face mask as a food safety measure, I think your boss is over-reacting. It's like with protection from hair contamination: workers wear hairnets and beard-nets, but how about other body hair (e.g. eyelashes, eyebrows, hair on arms)?

I agree, 100%!



#8 Scampi

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 06:40 PM

It will absolutely be from other - easier- locations

 

EMPLOYEE HANDS  will be your #1 contamination point

 

close 2nd (if you have any) are hand rails (so so so gross)


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 30 June 2021 - 07:29 PM

It will absolutely be from other - easier- locations

 

EMPLOYEE HANDS  will be your #1 contamination point

 

close 2nd (if you have any) are hand rails (so so so gross)

 

 

People are always touching their faces. 


-Setanta         

 

 

 


#10 Charles.C

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 12:16 AM

Honestly, I don't see how human saliva could get into food products - unless your workers tend to spit on the products when packing them? I've never heard of wearing face mask as a food safety measure, I think your boss is over-reacting. It's like with protection from hair contamination: workers wear hairnets and beard-nets, but how about other body hair (e.g. eyelashes, eyebrows, hair on arms)?

 

Hi olena,

 

Actually wearing masks in various 3rd World manufacturing facilities has been routine for many years because customers in "developed" countries require for (unspecified) FS/Quality reasons.


Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#11 beautiophile

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 12:38 AM

Hi olena,

 

Actually wearing masks in various 3rd World manufacturing facilities has been routine for many years because customers in "developed" countries require for (unspecified) FS/Quality reasons.

 

Confirmed. Even in Japan, people wear masks as I've seen.



#12 Jackobelly

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 12:48 AM

Hi olena,

 

Actually wearing masks in various 3rd World manufacturing facilities has been routine for many years because customers in "developed" countries require for (unspecified) FS/Quality reasons.

Thanks Charles for your input.

I though about that too. But the "unspecified" makes me wonder, is it just something that looks better or is there actually data to support the hypothesis....



#13 beautiophile

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 02:00 AM

Thanks Charles for your input.

I though about that too. But the "unspecified" makes me wonder, is it just something that looks better or is there actually data to support the hypothesis....

 

I guess one: importation of exotic pathogens or (micro)organisms.



#14 Marloes

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 01:24 PM

In some of my production locations we have worn masked astrocaps (''hair nets'' that covers from the neck up, only leaving the eyes uncovered).
The mask parts are a little less dense than the typical face masks, so breathing is fine.
I like it since it easily contains hairs (the head and face kinds) and it keeps any accidental-spit inside.

 

I would not say that it would massively extends shelf life. Especially since pathogens are probably your shelf-life suppresant.
And if spoilage is a problem you would be better off looking into your sanitation or packaging/storage.



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#15 Ryan M.

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 04:00 PM

Wait... you have personnel handling the product that is RTE?  If the person is that concerned with shelf-life he/she is better off in investing in equipment to eliminate the manual labor needed.  It will extend shelf-life and enhance efficiency at the same time.



#16 SQFconsultant

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 04:10 PM

I am not aware of any science based evidence that wearing of masks increases shelf life.

There is however growing evidensce how long term masking causes illnesses via germ buildup and pathogens.


Kind regards,
Glenn Oster
 
GOC BUSINESS GROUP | SQF System Development, Implementation & Certification Consultants
 
 

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#17 kfromNE

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Posted 01 July 2021 - 05:46 PM

Yeast and mold cause spoilage. An enhanced air circulation system with humidity controls would make more sense.



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#18 Bacilus why so cereus

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Posted 02 July 2021 - 11:59 AM

Wait... you have personnel handling the product that is RTE?  If the person is that concerned with shelf-life he/she is better off in investing in equipment to eliminate the manual labor needed.  It will extend shelf-life and enhance efficiency at the same time.

 

OP I think this is your #1 choice when concerned with RTE Product. I would try to discuss this with your boss or perhaps improved ventilation, if you have staff standing over food for long periods of time there's going to be a lot of aerosols filtering around their mask unless they're fit tested and using an N95 or similar. But nobody wants to wear an N95 for 8 hours a day. 

 

If you're looking for info on mask usage try looking here: Masking during the COVID-19 pandemic – An update of the evidence | National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health | NCCEH - CCSNE

 

What I suspect you'll find is the masks quickly build condensation in cold environments and become wet, at this point they cease to be a filter which might catch some of the particulate matter and instead are a physical barrier. You could probably rely on them to stop someone from sneezing directly on product but again, this can be better solved through automation.



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#19 GarbldyGwack

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 06:21 PM

There is no scientific proof that viruses could be transmitted through food. Instead, wearing masks when it's not necessary could affect human health as breathing through a mask could reduce oxygen level.

 

Do you have any links to scientific evidence of this for your typical cloth-based or basic disposable masks?



#20 kfromNE

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Posted 22 July 2021 - 07:06 PM

Do you have any links to scientific evidence of this for your typical cloth-based or basic disposable masks?

It doesn't or very little. If masks affected breathing that much then how can health care professionals wear them for long periods of time and be fine.

 

I will say, as someone with asthma - working out/doing strenuous activity is difficult wearing a mask. I could still breath but it took longer to catch my breath.  However when I filled in on the floor for a few days and I was fine.






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