Category: Safety & Personnel

5S Lean Solutions for The Food Industry

5S is more than a program, it is a comprehensive system for organizing spaces so work can be performed efficiently, effectively, and safely. This system focuses on putting everything where it belongs and keeping the workplace clean, which naturally promotes a safer workplace with more efficiency.

When implementing a 5S system, it is important to remember to start small. Start with a pilot project to get a feel for if/what employee training is needed—how to implement the system, how to track progress, and how to celebrate success.

5S IS A FIVE-STEP PROCESS:

  1. Sort: Separate the tools that are needed to get the job done.
    Remove everything else.
  2. Set in Order: Place all relevant tools within reach of operatives and reduce the need to be away from the workstation.
  3. Shine: Maintain safety and order in the workplace by keeping the tools clean and helping to reduce defects.
  4. Standardize: Create practices that will ensure maintenance of the steps you have already taken by introducing Shadow Boards with color-coded tools.
  5. Sustain: Stay consistent and constantly review standards.

For more information on 5S systems or how to get started, contact our Product Specialists or visit our Learning Center.

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It’s Getting Hot in this Processing Environment!

Summer is approaching and that means temperatures are rising and it’s going to start getting HOT! For most of us summer and warm temperatures correlate with going to the beach, having a picnic, or enjoying the outdoors for the few months of warm weather we have (at least here in Wisconsin!), but one idea we want to make sure doesn’t get forgotten is staying hydrated, and this includes during work hours too!

Fluids, electrolytes, and heat stress products are our friends all year round, but especially on those pesky, humid summer days at work. Depending on the processing facility, temperatures can easily reach 100°F+ on a hot summer day. These high-temperatures can be dangerous, and could lead to severe injury such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion, if a person is not properly hydrating. Hydrating regularly, and staying cool has many added health benefits associated with it that can help the body daily, this includes: keeping our skin healthy, optimum digestion, eliminates toxins in the body, and optimize the energy produced through our cells (Choi, pp. 6).

Many individuals are not aware of how important staying hydrated is, especially during the workday. A recent survey was conducted on how much financial loss is estimated in decreased productivity each year due to employee dehydration. The recorded amount was $2.5 billion (Choi, pp. 10). To avoid these situations, employers should take advantage of workplace hydration program for employees, and provide heat stress products when needed.

Nelson-Jameson offers a variety of products that can help your business stay running efficiently, and keep your employees hydrated and healthy. Sqwincher™ drink mixes provide the optimal combination of fluids and electrolytes to keep your employees hydrated. They are perfect for hot, humid food processing environments. In addition to thirst quenchers, we also have Heat Stress Products, which contain unique water-activated cooling crystals. All employees need to do is immerse the bandana, neck wrap, or hard hat liner in cold water for 5 to 15 minutes, and it will keep them cool all day. Another option is a cooling vest. The Radians Arctic Radwear® Cooling Vests are made with Advanced ARCTIC™ Technology that uses a unique 3-layer fabric system which absorbs, stores, and releases water to keep your body temperature cool and safe. You just immerse the vest for 1 to 2 minutes, wring, and wear.

Make sure to help keep your employees hydrated and cool this summer! With temperatures increasing everyday, it’s important to keep these products on hand, to help your employees stay safe and healthy.

Sources:

Choi, J. (2017, October 27). Why It’s Important To Drink More Water At Work. Lifehack. https://www.lifehack.org/639312/why-its-important-to-drink-more-water-at-work.

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Nelson-Jameson Does That, Too?

As an employee of Nelson-Jameson for seven years now, I am continuously impressed with the number of projects and developing capabilities that are in process. All of these undertakings are done with one aim in mind: to help our customers create safe, quality food in the most efficient way possible. With this in mind, we actively seek out services, above and beyond our products and programs, to holistically meet our customer’s needs. Here are just a few of the programs that we offer, that you may not be aware of: 

Lab Design & Furniture: Yes, you read that right! We partner with PSA Lab Furniture to offer lab design and lab furniture services. Through this partnership, we are able to offer free design plans and estimates for your next lab revamp or new lab construction. We’re talking hoods, surface tops, cabinets, etc. Coupled with our wide range of lab instrumentation, equipment, and suppliers, we can help you build a lab from the ground up. Our lab and sales team can help you learn more at lab@nelsonjameson.com.    

Biofilm Audit and Treatment: If you have recurring hygiene and contamination issues, biofilms could be the culprit. Well known for their tenacity, biofilms can cause major headaches for processors, not to mention serious potential food safety issues. We work with Realzyme to provide in-person biofilm audits in your facility of OPC and CIP installations. The pros at Realzyme will then create a customized curative treatment to combat any biofilms present. Finally, you’ll receive a preventative treatment program, ensuring productivity, product quality, and bonus, you’ll see extended shelf lives for your products. Talk to your Account Manager today to help check into availability and rates, or email us at p.puttkamer@nelsonjameson.com for more information! 

Hand Hygiene Training:  Working with one of our strategic partners, Best Sanitizers, we can help your employees learn more about a key frontline effort for ensuring food safety -proper handwashing techniques. Best Sanitizers does a phenomenal job educating and allowing your employees to see the realities of improper handwashing, including cross-contamination concerns. The comprehensive training includes an informational session, handwashing demonstration featuring Glo-Germ® products, a Q&A session, and a certification for those individuals taking part. Drop us an email at j.pankratz@nelsonjameson.com to check into training availabilities.

Kaestner Services: Our sister company, Kaestner is your go-to for preventative maintenance services for the food, dairy, and beverage processing industries. Specializing in sanitary valve and actuator services, sanitary gasket plate heat exchanger services, as well as sanitary pump services, Kaestner’s team is on the ground and keeps operations moving. Contact Kaestner at sales@kaestnerllc.com to check on availability in your area!

If any of the above services were a surprise to you, well, buckle up, because this is just the start! Nelson-Jameson can help you with color-coded program audits, ingredients selection, sanitation chemical optimization, packaging trials, and many other services. Touch base with us today and let’s find the right comprehensive solutions for your operation.

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NEW Color-Coded Catalog Available Now!

Springtime brings many new colors, from the flowers popping up in gardens to the spring and summer produce offerings at the grocery store. During this colorful time of year, it might be the perfect opportunity to take a look at color-coding in your facility, whether that means starting a new color-coded program or expanding an existing program.

Nelson-Jameson has expanded our color-coded program once again with the release of our 2021 Color-Coded Catalog. This year’s catalog has grown to 68 pages of products that are designed to help prevent allergen migration and cross-contamination. A complete color-coded program helps to lay the foundation for a solid food safety program, and can help minimize the risk of cross-contamination.

Why choose a color-coded system? A complete color-coded system helps promote organization and efficient workflow. Designating critical control areas and zones helps your sanitation program by ensuring that the tools stay in the areas in which they are meant to be used, doing jobs they are meant to do.

In addition to having the most extensive color-coded program in the industry, we also have the most color options to help meet all your color-coded needs. Our expanded catalog also includes new items like Carlisle Total Color Products, ColorCore Cleaning Tools, Vacuum Accessories, Cutlery, and more.

From the lab to the processing line, Nelson-Jameson has the color-coded products you need to produce safe, quality food. Download or request a copy of our new color-coded catalog today!

 

 

 

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The Food Safety Modernization Act: An Undertaking in Progress

Ten years…that’s a long time, right?  But…not really.  The more I see 10th, 20th, or 25th anniversary releases of favorite albums or movies, the more I feel like time is slipping away…and ten years seems more like a blink.   So, when you consider the dichotomy of the slow and all-too-quick hands of time, it’s impressive how much has been accomplished, and yet how far we have to go in food safety since the Food Safety Modernization Act was enacted in early 2011.   

As much as it would be great to go with either a “yay” or “nay” as to whether it has been a success, like many pieces of major legislation, there have been both phenomenal strides as well as stagnation.  As food safety is a complex undertaking, involving waves of domestic and global political and trade relations, budgetary concerns, etc., the quality assurance of the Act itself can be a challenge at times.  As we’ll see though, overwhelmingly, FSMA has represented a tectonic shift in approaching food safety concerns, and has set the table (yes, that just happened) for increasing advances in the coming years.

The data suggests that we do have a long way to go.  The CDC succinctly summarized this in “Preliminary Incidence and Trends of Infections with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food — Foodborne Diseases Active Surveillance Network, 10 U.S. Sites, 2016–2019” stating that: “The incidence of most infections transmitted commonly through food has not declined for many years.”  Although disappointing to those invested and concerned about food safety, it is important to remember that FSMA is not a stagnant absolute, existing in a vacuum of regulatory comfort.

Instead, FSMA, like food safety itself, is a continuously evolving and changing entity.  To respond to new science and to new challenges, FSMA depends on building on foundational scientific knowledge, while adeptly adjusting to the reality of challenges of the time (COVID-19 being a great example).  Though there is a long way to go, FSMA has achieved numerous outcomes that have been important to the industry and to the march towards a safer food system.   

As Sandra Eskin, of Pew Charitable Trusts, noted in a recent food safety session at IDFA’s Dairy Forum, the reality is that while FSMA is ten years old, the compliance dates established to meet the goals of FSMA are only now a few years old. This complicates our “FSMA at 10” theme a bit, but we can surmise a great deal from both those years of buildup and those of ennactation/enforcement.   Here is a sampling of what has been accomplished by FSMA so far, as outlined by Deputy Commissioner of Food Safety Frank Yiannas in his “A Decade Later, FDA Still Working on Congressional Mandate Known as FSMA:”

  1. Food producers “must have food safety plans that include an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent these hazards.”  
  2. Improved “regulatory oversight of produce and food importers.”
  3. Implemented practices to prevent food safety risks during transportation.
  4. Gained: “additional enforcement authorities, such as mandatory recall when a manufacturer fails to voluntarily pull unsafe food from the market and suspension of registration to prevent a facility from selling or distributing unsafe food.

To add to these and other advances, the FDA this year encouragingly released their “New Era of Food Safety” blueprint, laying out areas of development in the next decade of FSMA.   Along with increased traceability initiatives, meaningful use of technology, and business/retail model modernization, the blueprint centrally is built upon creating “food safety cultures.”  This means making food safety a shared goal by everyone in the plant, in the supply chain, and beyond—top down and bottom up investment–everyone is in on it.  This should further encourage that “tectonic shift” mentioned previously, fundamentally shifting existing perspectives on food safety in the industry.  The ability to shape the future of food safety and cultures of food safety will be dependent on education, industry/regulatory/academic partnership, collaboration, and advocacy on Capitol Hill, just as the shifting of views from reactionary to preventative action required these first ten years.  

As Dick Groves stated in his editorial in the Jan. 15th issue of The Cheese Reporter, “Simply put, the food safety culture matters more than regulations.”  Groves makes a good point about the centrality of food safety culture; however, perhaps it is a mixture of conceptual shifts and continued dependence on education and partnership to further spread the gospel of food safety and regulatory knowledge/standards (consider that not having an adequate hazard analysis is still one of the most commonly cited violations by the FDA) that will make the next ten years truly effective in the fight against foodborne illness. 

Ten years indeed can feel conversely like an eternity and a blink of an eye.  The first decade of FSMA has been an experiment in adaptation.  And it will continue to be so for the next ten, marrying the realities of regulatory standards with an embrace of a holistic framework of food safety and food safety culture at all levels (including establishing this at the federal level…which is crucial for funding).  Together we can continue to learn, improve, and work together towards this common goal.  Food safety is not a destination, it is a journey.  We must continue working together as an industry to reduce risk in the food supply chain, relentlessly combatting foodborne illness.  No matter how far we are able to push that boulder up the hill, there will always be further to go. Many hands make light work, though, so let’s all commit to the effort and make the next 10 years count.

Source(s):

Marler Clark. (2021, February 9). FDA’s data for 2020 shows top five violation categories at food facilities. Food Safety News. https://www.foodsafetynews.com/2021/02/fdas-data-for-2020-shows-top-five-violation-categories-at-food-facilities/?utm_source=Food%2BSafety%2BNews&utm_campaign=280373c947-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f46cc10150-280373c947-40046447#.