Food safety and sanitation management for non-protein processors like fresh cut produce, bakeries and snack food processors is rapidly changing. Among increasing food safety concerns and recalls, today’s retail buyers continue to raise the bar on their expectations and requirements to ensure the safety and cleanliness of processing facilities. Tighter regulatory guidelines being introduced by the FDA are also adding an additional layer of oversight needed related to sanitary design and reporting.
This alone is creating new challenges for FSQA managers and operations leaders, but on top of it all they are also dealing with massive staffing shortages across the country. Non-protein processors that had traditionally managed cleaning and sanitation in-house are beginning to seek third-party support to keep up with the increasing demands.
“During stressful and uncertain times, good businesses will focus in on what they can do well and seek help in areas where they need it,” said Jake Watts, Senior Vice President of Shared Services for PSSI. “And when it comes to food safety, our team at PSSI is prepared with the resources and expertise needed to exceed any standards for our partners.”
As a sanitation provider for the largest USDA processors across the country for more than 50 years, PSSI is familiar with the strictest regulations related to sanitation and food safety.
“No matter the type of facility, we treat every sanitation shift the same,” said Paul Moor, VP of Operations for PSSI (Western division). “We hold our staff to the highest standards, regardless of if an auditor is present or not, to give our partners the confidence in knowing that their facility is always safe, clean and audit-ready after every shift.”
Due to the vast differences in non-protein processing facilities, PSSI works together to develop a customized plan for every partner. Some of the key areas the PSSI team reviews as part of building its Master Sanitation Schedule include:
Our goal is always to maximize production time for our partners, so we do our best to work around production schedules. We understand that some facilities run 24/7 for many days at a time or may have ‘down days’ or seasonal changes that can change sanitation schedules. We work together to ensure the most efficient and effective timing to execute sanitation work. This also includes building in extra time for periodic equipment teardown.
Dry vs. Wet Sanitation and Chemical Management
Some facilities like bakeries are simply not built for traditional wet sanitation. PSSI and its in-house chemical team work together to develop customized dry or wet cleaning methods to prevent and/or eliminate any microbial threats.
Allergen control is a growing concern for many non-protein processors. Stricter guidelines are being introduced by the FDA to prevent cross contamination and look deeper into overall sanitary design. PSSI helps its partners to build cleaning methods that not only eliminate any chance of cross contamination, but also have supporting documentation to validate the execution for audit support.
Pests can be a major concern and threat to food safety, especially in vulnerable environments like bakeries. With its own in-house pest management team, PSSI can incorporate pest control as part of its integrated approach to food safety.
Micro Testing and Reporting
PSSI uses sophisticated tracking and reporting tools to track detailed sanitation steps during every shift. This documentation not only gives partners the reassurance in knowing what was done, but also can be used as part of detailed audit support. Micro testing is also done on a regular basis to ensure processes and procedures are working effectively.
PSSI’s integrated food safety approach has proven incredibly successful for many non-protein partners, not only alleviating staffing stress, but boosting the overall cleanliness and reputation of a facility to drive new business.