Category: Education

Stopping Cross-Contamination in its Tracks

Saint Augustine is attributed as stating: “We make a ladder for ourselves of our vices, if we trample those same vices underfoot.”  Inspiring words…and tangentially, quite useful for the food processing industry…really. Consider the threats that lurk beneath our boots, that live underfoot for us, each time we walk onto the production floor. Those small steps, unchecked and unanticipated, can result in a litany of problems for food processors. With some common-sense prevention and planning though, we can climb to new levels of food safety understanding and practice.

One of the ways we can take sure steps in approaching cross-contamination concerns, for instance, is to look at the relentless footwear contact that your production floor handles. Employees can track in a myriad of potential contaminants and unknowingly put an operation at risk each time they breeze through a doorway to a production area. The effective use of a Disinfectant Mat™ provides a significant defense against cross-contamination. As employees step onto the mats, footwear is cleaned and sanitized. This barrier can literally help stop cross-contamination in its tracks.      

Thanks to working with our great customers and suppliers across the food and beverage industries, we have collected several best practices and key insights when it comes to the utilization of disinfectant floor mats for food processing facilities. The following tips will assist your operation, and ensure full efficacy (and not to mention some convenience) when it comes to using a Disinfectant Mat as a tool to combat cross-contamination:

  • Place a mat at every entrance to processing areas.
  • If employees are bypassing Disinfectant Mats, put several together or side-by-side to cover the whole entrance so they can’t avoid them.
  • Check sanitizer concentration with test strips, which are convenient and simple. Keep a daily log or hourly log of results.
  • It is highly suggested that mats are cleaned daily (top and bottom), this could be part of the washdown process. Use pumps and buckets specifically designed for our High-Wall Disinfectant Mat.

These insights, along with several others are available in our Disinfectant Mat flyer that can be viewed here. Along with tips and insights to make using your mat as effective as possible, you will find a spectrum of products to build your sanitation program around, now at even lower prices.

Contact our product specialists today to discuss how we can help you stop contamination in its tracks at your plant. Call 1-800-826-8302 or email s.sjoman@nelsonjameson.com.


COVID-19 Food Industry Resources

In times of great uncertainty, informed insight and clarity mean a great deal. Since the recent COVID-19 outbreak, Nelson-Jameson has been continuously monitoring the situation. COVID-19 is already having an impact on the way we interact with food and we want you to be prepared. Our friends at Cornell University have created a useful resource for food industry producers to refer to in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please click here for a practical and forthright resource for the food industry to take on this challenge.

View additional resources, including Q&A directly related to the food industry.

If you have any specific questions pertaining to the products your company purchases from Nelson-Jameson, please contact your Account Manager for details. Any other general questions can be directed to COVID19questions@nelsonjameson.com.


Salami, Swiss Cheese, and Productivity Please

Now, it wouldn’t be too unusual to dedicate an entire article to salami and Swiss cheese because of the industry that we work in, but this charcuterie talk may not be what you’re expecting. I’ll pose this question first; have you ever had so many tasks to do and decisions to make at one time that you froze right in your tracks? Or felt so completely overwhelmed that you didn’t know where to start? If you have, you are definitely not alone. Research shows this is a normal response that occurs in your brain under these circumstances. Fortunately, there are some positive ways to approach these situations and help get you back on your productivity track. The ones that I’ve found to work well are the Swiss cheese and salami slice methods. 

Taking small ‘bites” or poking “holes” in a large task or project would be considered the “Swiss cheese” method. This proven productivity method helps you get your work done efficiently. According to the article linked below, “these small steps are sure signs of progress, which motivates  and encourages you to take one step after the other. This progress also gives you tiny shots of dopamine—a pleasure kicker and the agent that ups your motivation. All these motivational spikes from Swiss cheesing your task help you tackle an overwhelming project in small but impactful ways…You started by taking a snackable piece from your cheese block (the overwhelming project). You poked holes in the cheese chunk by continuously doing small tasks one at a time throughout your work day. You created so many holes in the cheese block that you finished it.” Piece by piece, the project becomes much more manageable and before you know it, it’s complete.

Next, we have the salami slice method. This is not only used as a productivity method, but it is also seen in politics and negotiations. It’s anything you take down, slice by slice, until it’s finished. I’ve cited the analogy again from the article linked below. “You find that your salami roll (overwhelming task) is too thick to be bitten into. Any attempts to get started leave you paralyzed with panic and procrastination. You slice your work into manageable items. Prepare a list of tasks that make up the project, and start working on them, not the project. You complete the slices or the small tasks that make up the project. In other words, you conquer the project slice by slice until it’s done. So, in a nutshell, it revolves around slicing your project into smaller parts and focusing on them one-by-one rather looking at the big picture and losing your nerves.” The salami method assists you in organizing your workload as opposed to attacking it randomly.

Both of these methods have something in common—the power of small wins. Next time you are faced with an overwhelming task, hopefully Swiss Cheese and Salami will pop into your brain and provide you with a plan that makes the project easier to digest.

 

Source: https://blog.trello.com/swiss-cheese-salami-methods?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=trello-jan2020-newsletter1 


Reaching Your Goals in 2020

As we progress into the new year, have you set any goals? Perhaps you would like to increase safety measures in your plant. Maybe you want to implement a color-coding system. Or possibly, your 2020 objective is to enhance organization. Organizing, identifying, and labeling your storage and inventory areas will help your plant to operate more efficiently. 

Regardless of the goal, Nelson-Jameson is here to help you succeed in the new year. We offer a wealth of products and solutions that can help your facility to reach your objectives. Our Storeroom Solutions Guide features shelving units, storage bins, labeling systems, and more to help your plant with easier reordering, management, and fulfillment. Our food safety programs– Safety & PPE, Color-Coded, Metal Detectable, and Hand Hygienewill help to ensure that you continue to provide safe, quality food to all, in 2020 and for years to come

Take a closer look at our food safety programs or talk to one of our product specialists today to get started! 


When it Comes to Food Safety, You Can Never Have Too Much Class…

During our conversations with regulatory folks, a common theme has developed.   Overwhelmingly, regulators have stressed the importance of a “culture of food safety”.   This means that food safety isn’t relegated to only a few individuals in a plant. Instead, a culture of food safety is one where a business has inclusively brought in ALL stakeholders, from CEOs to part-time employees to learn, practice, and respect food safety standards.   Instead of viewing food safety as only rules that have to be followed or marks to simply check off on a sheet, food safety becomes a mindset and unifying goal across the plant and across the company.

We’ve also noticed that the most effective method to create this culture is through education and practice. The more employees learn about food safety, its importance to their customers’ safety, its importance to the financial well-being of the company, etc. the more people pay attention and invest in food safety concerns.   

With all that in mind, Nelson-Jameson aims to keep our customers informed through educational opportunities to help create that culture of food safety.   Such opportunities/workshops pay off directly not only in the immediate experience of the students attending them, but also to the companies sending them when that knowledge is brought back, shared, and applied in the facility.   Here are a few of the upcoming opportunities to learn more:

University of Wisconsin-River Falls will offer a “HAACP Workshop” that is open to “all food processors, suppliers, and regulators who wish to learn or review the basics of HACCP in a food facility” March 18-20th.   The workshop will cover “ food safety hazards, prerequisites, validation of HACCP plans, implementing HACCP, and regulation” via hands-on experiences. To find out more, click here for information on the program, fees, etc.   

On May 6th, the Center for Dairy Research will host a day-long “Food Safety Workshop (HACCP)” in Madison, WI.   Also, open to a spectrum of attendees, the class is a hands-on “introduction to HACCP in a plant setting” where students will learn about topics from environmental monitoring to GMPs.   Further information is available on the CDR website.  

Keep an eye out for further food safety opportunities here on our blog.   In the meantime, we are here as well to help provide you with the products and programs that can help you reach and maintain quality and food safety standards.