Guest Column | October 17, 2017

Hand Washing In Food Facilities: The Foundation Of Reduced Microbial Contamination

Hand Washing In Food Facilities: The Foundation Of Reduced Microbial Contamination

By Greg Sommerville, founder, Global Supplier Verification Consultancy

Everyone knows hand washing is a basic requirement in the food industry. If executed correctly, it can lead to a significant reduction in food safety risk. This is such a basic action though it is often overlooked and left out of internal audits and general inspections — the quality team is focused on product contact surfaces and processing areas. This article will describe what proper hand washing is, how to design a proper hand washing station, as well as offer advice on how to establish a culture of hand washing.

I recently read about a cracker manufacturer that had been warned by the FDA for insanitary conditions in their facility. The agency returned for a re-inspection and found many of the observations were repeats from the previous inspection.

Let’s not downplay that this manufacturer had continued to prepare, pack, and distribute crackers since the previous inspection, even though they had, “failed to take effective measures to exclude pests from the processing areas.” Many of the findings were in regards to rodent excreta pellets, REPs, as well as a number of other concerns — eight rodent issues and 10 other significant issues.

The two issues that really struck a chord for me were the last two listed in the warning letter: