5 Top Tips for Implementing Hygiene Practices in your Food Factory

25 May 2022

It’s so important in any manufacturing environment that hygiene practices are followed and regulated. To ensure you are keeping up to date with all guidelines, take a read of our top 5 tips to keep your customers and employees safe.

1 Changing Areas

Having adequate changing and hygiene facilities is a critical step in ensuring your factory meets the highest levels of hygiene and compliance. The main aspects to consider are the layout and directional flow, proper welfare equipment and sufficient handwash facilities.

Layout and directional flow- Consider the layout of all entrances into production areas and design the flow of these areas so that staff and visitors must pass in one direction only through designated changing areas. This will ensure that anyone who enters the production areas must be wearing appropriate clothing and PPE.

Welfare equipment- Ensure changing areas and welfare facilities are equipped with sufficient storage facilities and a defined process is in place for management of clean and used workwear. Consider designated racks for factory footwear and lockers for personal belongings to avoid these being taken into production areas. Also, it is important to include stainless steel stepover benches to demarcate the point at which PPE must be worn.

Handwash facilities- Handwashing in the food industry is one of the first lines of defense in food safety, so it is critical that production staff and visitors alike maintain thorough hand hygiene on entry to production areas. To enable this ensure you include adequate handwashing facilities such as stainless steel knee operated sinks with clear signage to encourage all personnel to follow food safety guidelines.

2 Temperature Control

It is crucial to observe and control critical temperatures during production and handling to ensure you are not putting your consumers at risk. Particularly critical are high risk foods, including proteins, dairy and ready-to-eat products. Read more about this here

It’s important to ensure production areas are kept at safe temperatures, using refrigeration equipment where required. With many cooked products it is essential to chill swiftly after production, consider including blast chilling capability within your manufacturing process.

When storing and transporting finished goods it is imperative to maintain chilled or frozen temperatures accordingly and minimise transfer windows through ambient areas.

Keep your temperature testing equipment in good working order and calibrated regularly.

3 Surfaces and Equipment

Correct surface finishes in high care and high risk areas are imperative to lower the risk of bacteria. Having the right surfaces and equipment will help your wash down team sanitize production areas efficiently and thoroughly so as to reduce the risk of bacteria such as Salmonella spreading.

Having sufficient drainage in production areas will avoid the risk of puddling water that can become a legionella bacteria risk. This life threatening bacteria is caused by stagnant water, so it is vitally important that wash down areas have correct falls to drains or can be easily cleared with a squeegee or brush.

Wash down equipment such as hose reels and jet washes can help clean high risk areas effectively as well as dosing systems to apply the correct detergent. Leaving all surfaces to air dry will help reduce the danger of re-contaminating clean areas.

4 Storage and Organisation

Food contamination is always a high risk when it comes to food production, so proper practices need to be in place for storing raw materials and organizing production flow.

Storage of raw materials should be separate from finished goods storage to eliminate the risk of cross contamination.

When designing production areas ensure that the layout flows in one direction from raw materials storage to finished goods. This will improve efficiency and guarantee that finished goods are not transported back through raw prep areas which could lead to contamination risks.

Organisation of production and cleaning tools is also important. Consider using shadow boards to organise equipment and make sure it is easily accessible for operatives.

5 Quality Management

A total quality management approach must be taken throughout the whole manufacturing process to ensure that quality and safety standards are being adhered to. It’s important to embed checks along the production line to help identify potential issues before the product goes into distribution. Checks include critical product temperature monitoring, production environment temperature and microbiological swabbing and testing of production surfaces. Read more on this here

Implementing a robust quality management system throughout your factory will help to prevent potentially harmful products from reaching consumers which can result in costly product recalls and reputational damage to your business.

Continually assessing and preventing the risks that could occur when it comes to producing your product will ultimately result in smoother factory operation and audit compliance.

A chance to partner on your project?

At Oakley, we pride ourselves on being ‘The Food Industry’s Fitout Partner’.  Get in touch with the team today for advice and to discuss your project scope.  We’d love to put our ‘Design, Build, Deliver’ process into action for you!