Category: Food Safety

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.


Levels of Clean

“Clean” is seemingly a self-apparent word. We know it when we “see” it, right? Perhaps we can “feel” it after we finish the process of cleaning (ooh, it can be a verb too!)? This isn’t meant to get too metaphysical or anything, but if we take a second and really consider the meaning of the term, it can get problematic quickly.  

Outwardly clean-looking surfaces can easily harbor microscopic maleficence. For instance, what would happen if a food-contact surface that otherwise looked pristine had a contaminated surface as big as the head of a pin. How bad could it be? In the case of norovirus, the amount of viral particles that can fit in that tiny space “would be enough to infect more than 1,000 people”.

The ramifications of these microscopic realities are something Nelson-Jameson always has on the forefront of our minds. To create safe, quality food, we need to think on a microscopic scale…far beyond seeing and feeling what clean really is in food and beverage production facilities. This is why we feature everything from Environmental Testing Solutions to advocating for Color-Coded Programs to prevent cross-contamination concerns. 

Even your choice of cleaning tools used in the plant can make a difference. For example, we feature an array of products from Vikan’s “Ultra Safe Technology” (UST) line. Opposed to staple or resin set brushes, UST products feature a fully molded body that reduces risk of filament loss. The design of the brushes also ensures cleaning efficacy as well as preventing the risk of harborage in the cleaning tools themselves. Designed to clean efficiently as well as to be cleaned efficiently, UST products represent a way to further define exactly what “clean” is as well as what it can be. 

An array of industries critically concerned about “clean” including pharma, cannabis, and the food industry have found interest in UST technology. Especially popular with ready-to-eat food facilities, UST is also ideal for any of our customers wanting to further examine cleaning efficacy in their plants. To learn more about UST, check out our website, and/or reach out to a product specialist at sales@nelsonjameson.com or 800.826.8302.       


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.   


On the Frontlines Against Hepatitis A

Wash. Your. Hands. This simple act can do so much to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria. Lately, this has been highlighted most unwelcomingly with a continued outbreak of the hepatitis A virus nationally. The virus, which infects the liver, can cause symptoms such as fever, diarrhea, vomiting, etc. that may last weeks to months.  

According to the FDA, though only representing a portion of cases in the US, cases from food handling are a significant concern for food industry stakeholders and consumers, as well: “The majority of hepatitis A infections are from unknown causes or from being in close contact with an infected person; however, some hepatitis A infections are caused by eating or drinking contaminated food or water. Contamination of food and water can occur when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate handwashing hygiene.” From handling food in the fields to the food service counter, hepatitis A should be considered a serious foodborne threat…but one that can be combated.    

In terms of foodborne cases, hand hygiene is a key method of defending against the virus (vaccination is the best way to prevent, overall) for the food industry and for consumers. According to the CDC, “Frequent handwashing with soap and warm water after using the bathroom, changing a diaper, or before preparing food can help prevent the spread of hepatitis A.”

As part of our commitment to helping customers make safe, quality food, we offer an array of hand hygiene solutions for the food and beverage industries. To check out our latest Hand Hygiene Products flyer, click here. Our product specialists are also available to help you develop the right program to make hand hygiene a frontline defense against foodborne illness.

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