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Chef-style clothing or factory-style?

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Procu1234

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 08:51 AM

Hi, 

 

I manage a small production facility where we make frozen ready meals. We operate out of a very small commercial kitchen (I wouldn't call it a factory!) and use pretty basic methods (ie. everything is cooked in traditional bratt pans/ovens, no automatic machinery etc). Our meals are cooked from scratch by chefs, and we have a team of kitchen assistants who do all the portioning as well as cleaning etc.

 

We are looking to work towards SALSA later this year/next year, and I've got a bit of an odd query around staff uniform.

 

Currently, the team have to change into a fresh set of work-only clothes on arrival to site (clean trousers/tshirt - they are not allowed to come into the kitchen wearing the same clothes they travelled in). The chefs wear chef whites, the assistants just wear tshirts/trousers. Everyone then wears a clean apron. Currently, we don't have rules about footwear (other than it should be kitchen appropriate), but I am introducing a rule that they need to either wear kitchen-only shoes, or use shoe coverings.

 

To me this is appropriate for a restaurant style kitchen, but I'm unsure if SALSA or equivalent would want to see more PPC style overalls, like you would get in a factory environment? Interested to get some thoughts around what your preference would be: fresh change of clothes with an apron, or full factory-style overall?

 

This is also probably a stupid question but, if going down the overalls route, I'm assuming the team would still need to change into fresh clothing on arrival to work (ie, can't just wear their travel clothes underneath the overalls?). I'm only used to being a visitor to factories where they give you the overall to put on over your regular clothes, but I'm assuming actual workers would still be getting changed into work clothes even if wearing overalls over the top?

 

Thanks!



GMO

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 11:30 AM

Hi again!  

I'm not in any way an expert on SALSA and I'm sure one will come along soon!  But I'd recommend you think about the risk.  We've had chats about Listeria control already but partly for that, partly allergen control and other micro, what I'd suggest is a removable coat.  So when you've visited other production sites and they've given you a coat, this is the control.  It's covering your outside clothing up to your neck and down to knee level.  So no, people don't change out of external clothes before starting work, they cover them.

The reason for this is you can remove that coat when you leave the production area and particularly before you eat your lunch or go to the toilet or go to a smoking shelter.  Think of the alternatives if you don't!  

Getting in some reusable coats should be pretty cost effective.  It might be worth seeing if you can get a hire contract with Johnsons or one of the other laundry companies to launder them for you as well (which saves you the headache of knowing if people have done it properly).  While your site is small, companies like that also supply hotels etc so I'm sure they'll have a model for small businesses.

 

Lastly, have a think about other controls.  For example, you may want to restrict what kind of clothing people wear underneath for food safety and health and safety (e.g. what footwear for health and safety, perhaps no sequins for food safety) then think about a dress order.  I.e. put on hair covering first, wash hands, put on your coat then normally wash hands again (which would be best practice approach for open product areas).  That prevents hair getting on the coat.

It might be worth having a practice audit with a SALSA expert?  Are you supplying into retailers at all?  They may also have some standards you may need to comply with.



Procu1234

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 12:11 PM

This is really helpful, thank you - I'm definitely going to introduce the coats. We can then also have different coats for those working in the production 'zone' and the portioning 'zone'; not a perfect fix I know but would help cement the idea that, even though we aren't able to physically segregate the two areas by a wall, we make it clear to staff that if you are on portioning, you have your 'portioning' jacket and remain in that area.

 

Re SALSA we'll definitely be getting a consultant in to help get us ready nearer the time, but obviously all comes down to the £ so trying to get as much sorted by myself before we do. We're not currently supplying retailers other than v small independents (most of our business is D2C), and I have made it supremely clear to senior team that we would not be able to supply anyone major from our current premises, before they get ahead of themselves! We've had some interest from Wholefoods who would just be looking for SALSA, so really my aim is to get us to a SALSA compliant level.

 

Thanks for all your advice on both topics!


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GMO

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Posted 27 March 2024 - 07:27 PM

No problem at all.  I think the different clothing for different areas is a good idea.  It's a start at least and will help people understand different risks in different zones.

 

Good luck.





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