4. Repair Damaged Walls Immediately
One of the biggest food safety problems I see with walls is
the damage that forklifts and people do to them. When these
walls get punctured by a forklift or other collision, you expose
the inside of the wall, making it harder to properly clean.
These holes then become susceptible to harboring bacteria.
Insulated metal panels (IMP) and porous concrete block
are both equally vulnerable to damage and harborage, so
it’s crucial to patch any holes as soon as possible to ensure
any contamination stays on the surface.
If you swab your facility’s walls, it is unlikely there
will be a population of listeria or other bacterial growth
there, assuming it has the integrity it had when it was
new. However, outbreaks are more common in the spaces
between the wall and floor, especially if it hasn’t been
properly caulked, covered and maintained over time.
5. Conduct Routine Surveys For
These surveys ought to be done on an ongoing basis
by your quality assurance department or maintenance/
engineering teams. Most companies should have a routine
swabbing program to test processing areas.
Larger companies may have lab technicians on staff who
have regular swabbing routes, but smaller operations can
turn to a third-party partner to conduct regular testing. When
possible, I think these surveys are best conducted in-house,
because it allows you to control the solutions and discussions
that take place about your facility and its cleanliness.
These surveys should be process risk-based: Consider
the greatest risk of your process and make that the priority.
For example, you’re going to do things differently if your
process raw meat and poultry versus a fried snack item.
Your entire plant should be tested at least once a year and
high-risk areas (e.g., where raw meat is handled) should
be tested monthly. Of course, if test results are atypical in a
particular area, that area will be tested more frequently until
the results return to normal.
Mike Keough is Director of Business Development at Stellar.
My plant runs on Total. Shouldn’t yours?
Optimum food safety is my number one priority. That’s
why I trust TOTAL NEVASTANE Food Grade Lubricants
to keep my production lines running. Backed with major
safety certifications, I know we’re supplying a
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Service at (800) 323-3198 or visit totalspecialties.com.