Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tip #50: Swab Test Your Production Area in Busy Times

Most candy makers would probably agree it’s easier to keep a super-clean facility when the bows and boxes aren’t flying during the holiday season. But how is your staff doing with keeping the cleaning schedule when there seems to be no extra time in the day?

One way to stay on top of this is to test the cleanliness of your facility on a regular basis. We don’t mean a visual test where you look to see if the area appears clean but an actual scientific test for allergens, sanitation, etc.

You can buy sample test kits and do an on-site test of a variety of areas in your production zone. During one of our recent Kettle Talk panel forums, a member recommended buying sample test kits from Neogen. Using their food allergen tests you can do on-site tests to detect the target allergen (see list of allergens here) in ingredients, liquids, clean-in-place rinses, finished foods, and on environmental surfaces. They also have sanitation tests to detect the amount of food residue and other organic matter, such as bacteria, yeast and mold, that may remain after cleaning.

Please note this is just one company that was recommended from one member to another at our event and others are likely available to you by searching online. If you also want to send swabs off to a lab to be thoroughly tested, Silliker Labs, who presented at the 2012 RCI Spring Regional event, also provides food testing and sanitation information for confectioners and food facilities.

Do you have other tips for maintaining a clean food facility in the midst of your busiest production schedules? Please share with our blog community in the comments below!

RCI Members:  Access additional materials on Good Manufacturing Practices on the member side of the RCI website. Our new website being revealed in January will have a page dedicated to just this topic. 

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