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Allergen Specific factory wear

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NicholasWynne

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 12:46 AM

Due to contractual obligations, it's natural for us to implement measures to minimize cross-contamination. One area of discussion involves identifying staff handling different allergens. In the past, we used two distinct uniforms to distinguish between those working with and without allergens. However, we're now exploring more precise methods of identifying personnel handling specific allergens.
 
We're interested in learning from other manufacturers about their practices in this regard. Do you have any systems in place to identify which allergen each staff member is working with?
 
Given our current setup, where staff often move between lines/positions, frequent hand washing is necessary. However, concerns about cross-contamination persist regarding uniforms.
 
Any personal insights or experiences you can share on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers,



GMO

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 12:50 PM

It depends on your risk assessment really which will depend on what is the nature of the material.  Dusts for example are going to be worse than liquids or solids.  But controlling by having different PPE is only going to be as good as compliance.  So for example having blue PPE for milk power and white for allergen free but hung up at breaks on the same peg?  Waste of time.

It might be worth using some disposable PPE as an alternative but I'd go back to risk.  If you're not sure how big a risk your process is, perhaps do some swabbing / testing / settle assessments as appropriate to quantify it?



jfrey123

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Posted 12 April 2024 - 08:51 PM

At one of our meat/appetizer plants, they separate colors into raw handling and finished handling in the same room:  white for employees handing raw and preparing the trays, blue for production employees in the same room who are downstream of the automated sealers.  Keeps the employees who have been stacking boxes and moving pallets from approaching up where the product is open and handled.

 

Their approach for segregating allergen handling was novel and clever when I saw it:  the QA techs roaming the room put the same 2" round allergen stickers they use in their storage for identification onto the employees' smocks.  Employees working on a meat and cheese tray are prohibited from approaching the line where meat skewers are being produced, and from a reasonable distance you can identify which allergens that employee has been working with.  We're trying to figure out how to improve on this, because we corporate QA people didn't like the risk of a sticker falling into the product (to which plant QA assured us the stickers adhere really well to the smocks and hasn't been an issue, but it still makes me a little uncomfortable).

 

Heck, some type of armband could be used as well.  Different colors for different allergens, checked in at end of shift for accountability.  Maybe a metal detectable ziptie or something for extra safety precautions.



NicholasWynne

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Posted 14 April 2024 - 09:11 PM

We're trying to figure out how to improve on this, because we corporate QA people didn't like the risk of a sticker falling into the product (to which plant QA assured us the stickers adhere really well to the smocks and hasn't been an issue, but it still makes me a little uncomfortable).

 

Heck, some type of armband could be used as well.  Different colors for different allergens, checked in at end of shift for accountability.  Maybe a metal detectable ziptie or something for extra safety precautions.

 

Very much along the outside line I was thinking, some kind of velcro "patch" ect. Simple stickers would personally still be too high of a risk, never want to minimise one risk with another risk.



MattQA

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 02:21 PM

Heck, some type of armband could be used as well.  Different colors for different allergens, checked in at end of shift for accountability.  Maybe a metal detectable ziptie or something for extra safety precautions.

 

I've had good success with washable markers. They come in a range of colors. 



G M

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Posted 15 April 2024 - 04:27 PM

...we're now exploring more precise methods of identifying personnel handling specific allergens. ... Do you have any systems in place to identify which allergen each staff member is working with?

 
...

 

We use hairnet color to indicate which allergens someone can handle.  We only have a few combinations, so the limited number of colors available for hairnets works for us.





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