60 Quality Assurance Oh No! Not Another Foreign Material Complaint! By Joe Huseman WAYS TO Reduce educe CONTAMINATION T 1. 2. 3. 4. hirty ﬁve years of food industry experience has granted many learning opportunities. I’ve seen ﬁrsthand the damage foreign material contamination can do to a business. From the get go food plants must understand that the only way to reduce and eliminate foreign material contamination is with a team effort. The following list is a collection of suggestions to help reduce the foreign material complaints in your plant. During GMP training, devote a few minutes to preventing foreign material. Train Food Safety Team members on where and how to look for foreign material problems during monthly selfinspections. Include the line foreman or supervisor for each department when that area is inspected. The supervisor or lead personnel should walk the production line at the beginning of each shift to look for items that could fall into the product zone. Examine and investigate all foreign material complaints until a resolution has been determined. 12 JULY/AUGUST 2007 AIB UPDATE 5. Complete a foreign material hunt each month. Collect all items on the ﬂoor, and near and around 15 feet of the product zone in a bag. Have the Food Safety Team members determine how the items got into that location. 6. A detailed program should be in place for the daily inspection of sifter tailings. If foreign materials are discovered, immediate follow-up should occur. 7. A weekly, thorough inspection of the sifter screens is necessary. Other for- eign material detection devices such as strainers, ﬁlters and magnets need to be inspected regularly. 8. Personnel should not put pencils, tools, thermometers, ﬁttings, paperwork, etc. over or around the product zone where vibration can cause the item to fall into the product. 9. When unloading a rack of trays, start from the bottom to the top. When loading a rack, start from the top to the bottom. The rule of thumb is that there should always be a “visible hole” all the way to the ﬂoor. 10. Keep lids on product tanks and CIP tanks. 11. Keep doors closed and windows screened to prevent wind drafts and to exclude ﬂying insects. 12. When returning ingredients to the warehouse for storage, containers and bags should be dusted off. 13. Partial bags and containers should be tightly closed when they are stored in the warehouse to prevent trash and splinters from getting into the ingredients. 14. All bulk liquids should be ﬁltered at receiving. Inspect the strainer after receiving for trash and holes in the strainer. 15. A dome cover or “bee bonnet” should be used on all manholes for all liquid bulk trailers. 16. All piping, grabbers, tools and sampling equipment should be stored in a sanitary manner and not on the ﬂoor where dirt can be transferred into the product. 17. Food contact cleaning brushes and brushes used to sweep off the product zone or containers should be stored in a sanitary condition. 18. It is a good practice to brush off the outside of ingredient bags and tear off the outer layer before dumping the ingredient. 19. Use a sharp knife or tool to cut bags, so you don’t have shredded edges. 20. When dumping ingredients into a hopper or opening, it is best to keep as much of the bag or container outside the product zone and not over the opening. 21. Wash off and clean the outside of ﬁvegallon pail lids when preparing to dump ingredients. 22. Only open ingredients for immediate use, not two to three hours ahead of time. 23. All intermediate products stored in coolers or staged in production for later use should be kept covered and protected from condensation. 24. Employees should not carry pencils behind their ears in the production department. 25. Employee uniforms should not have shirt pockets and nothing should be carried above the waste. 26. There should be no buttons on employee uniforms. 27. It is a good practice to use a lint roller on the uniform, especially the neckline, before entering the production ﬂoor to remove loose hairs and threads. 28. Any loose threads on the uniform should be removed. 29. Catch pans should be installed under the transmissions of all conveyor drive motors that are over the product zone to eliminate grease/oil leaking into product. This should include motors that are over the ﬂoor. On some occasions pans or ingredients might be stored under these motors. 30. Catch pans should be mounted under the ceiling exhaust fans. This area in the ceiling is difﬁcult to clean and old product dust could fall out of the fan framework into the product zone. 31. All shredded edges should be trimmed off rubber and cloth conveyor belts. 32. No MOM (metal-on-metal) items should be present. This includes where a metal agitator rubs against the framework of the lid or where a conveyor chute touches other framework in a vibratory manner. 33. No peeling or actively ﬂaking paint or rust is permitted over the product zone. 34. Are the covers that should be over the product zone in good repair? Are some missing? Some may not have been put back in place after cleaning. Also make sure the cover has not been bent and that it covers the product zone sufﬁciently. 35. Remove all excess grease from ﬁttings. During a day’s production, bearings have a tendency to get warm and grease can ooze out. Operators should wipe off excess grease during the production shift. 36. Inspect the coating on all shatter shield light bulbs for peeling and ﬂaking. 37. All water used as an ingredient should be ﬁltered prior to use to eliminate small pieces of solder, rust and sand particles. Check for rust buildup on the inside of ice water chillers. The chilled water should be ﬁltered before transferring to the product. 38. Inspect product shovels, ingredient scoops, dough pump augers, scrapers, etc. at least weekly and ﬁle rough edges. 39. Eliminate loose caulking in cracks and joints, especially in moist environments JULY/AUGUST AIB UPDATE 13 Quality Assurance similar to the ceilings of bread and bun proof boxes. 40. Do not use corrugated board, cardboard, tape, twist ties or wire for temporary repairs. After a while, it is no longer temporary and becomes permanent. Wire can rust, cardboard and tape can get wet, moldy, and shred, becoming an unsanitary condition and a possible foreign material problem. 41. Pay attention to the quality of the water hose. The rubber hose can deteriorate on the inside and “black pepper specks” can get onto the product surface during cleaning and transfer to the product. 42. Maintenance technicians need to clean up after themselves. Do not leave maintenance debris and parts near and around the product zone. 43. Maintenance technicians should cut off the loose Teﬂon tape that is left on pipe unions, especially if it is over the product zone. 44. Pipes over the product zone should be insulated to eliminate condensation. 45. Cut off the long plastic ends on the tie wraps that are used to hold everything in place. They get brittle, are difﬁcult to clean and can fall into the product. 46. Knives and blades used to cut bags of ingredients should be attached with a cable, especially if over the product zone. 47. Try to avoid placing any laminated safety signs over the product zone. Over time they can shred and become worn or delaminated. 48. The top step near the crossover platform should have a backsplash protection cover to prevent dirt from getting in the nearby conveyor of exposed product. 49. Any plastic shavings especially around packaging and ﬁlling equipment should be removed during the production run. 50. Discard shredded cloth breather socks and transfer socks. Sometimes sock threads can show up in the tailings inspection. 51. Cracked gaskets should be discarded and rubber gaskets should be changed routinely to eliminate pieces from getting into the product ﬂow. 52. Air and water ﬁlters should be used at the ﬁnal point before touching the product to eliminate oil, trash, solder, sand, etc. 53. X-ray machines can be used to screen for shells and pieces of bones. 54. Clean fan covers so that product buildup cannot blow onto the product zone. 55. Personnel should take precautions when spraying down ﬂoors and equipment to avoid overspray from getting onto food contact surfaces. 56. Personnel should remove all plastic bags that are used to cover electrical panels after cleanup. Sometimes the bags hold water and product debris and can become moldy, slimy, and begin to shred. 57. Prevent old discolored product from falling onto good product from crossover conveyors. Conveyors may need more frequent cleaning. Also, catch cloths can be installed under the overhead conveyor. 58. Overhead cleaning should be on a frequent basis to eliminate old product dust on I-beams and ceiling structures. 59. Evaluate and inspect all cleaning brushes and “green rags” for loose ﬁbers and loose bristles. 60. Keep all cleaning and sanitizer chemical drums covered, because whatever is inside the drum may end up on the food contact surface. AIB weanling calves and pigs or used as a binder for ﬂoating or sinking aquaculture feeds (1). Gluten products also have a wide variety of non-food uses. These include cosmetic (e.g., shampoos, conditioners, toothpastes, creams, lotions and shaving products), pharmaceutical (e.g., binder for tablets) and therapeutic (e.g., post-operative drainage) applications, as well as use in the production of coatings, cigarette ﬁlters, chewing gum, detergents, concrete, textiles, leathers and adhesives for ceramics and plywood (1). a protein source high in lysine. U.S. government regulations allow for fortiﬁcation of foods with protein (2), and wheat gluten is one of a variety of sources that can be used for this purpose. Wheat protein can cause adverse reactions in susceptible individuals, and thus wheat is included as one of the Big 8 allergens for which product labeling is required (3). Celiacs and other individuals with a wheat or gluten allergy or sensitivity should avoid consuming gluten-containing products. AIB The author is an auditor at AIB International. Wheat Gluten (continued from page 9) food uses. Prominent among these are its meat applications, either as a binder, extender or restructurer for meat products (e.g., turkey, beef, pork or lamb) or as an ingredient in the production of simulated or imitation meats (e.g., hamburger, sausage or crab analogs). Gluten products also are incorporated into other such food systems as ice cream, soy sauce, breadings, coffee whiteners, protein fortiﬁed beverages, puddings, sherbets, frozen desserts, and egg white and dairy replacers (1). In applications in foods for human consumption, gluten products are used extensively in pet foods and animal feeds. In pet foods, it is important for a variety of reasons, including its high protein content, its binding ability (to absorb meat juices and to hold chunks of meat together), and its ability to be used in producing simulated meat products. As a feed ingredient for other animals, gluten products may be incorporated into milk replacers for 14 JULY/AUGUST 2007 AIB UPDATE NUTRITIONAL ASPECTS. Wheat gluten contains approximately 75–80 percent protein. Thus, its primary nutritional usage is for protein supplementation, with applications in a variety of products such as specialty beverages and bar formulas. While wheat gluten is limited in its content of the amino acid lysine, it is still an effective protein fortiﬁcant, especially when used in conjunction with soy, REFERENCES 1. MANINGAT, C.C., BASSI, S, and HESSER, J.M. Wheat Gluten in Food and Non-food Systems. Technical Bulletin, AIB International, Volume XVI, Issue 6, June 1994. 2. Code of Federal Regulations. 21CFR104.20. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC, 2006 (http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_ 06/21cfr104_06.html). 3. U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004, August 2, 2004 (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/alrgact.html).