Wendy White, food safety expert and GaMEP project manager, discusses major pathogenic contamination issues that can surface when food manufacturing plants remain too complacent in their typical sanitation routines and neglect to seek out effective solutions that can identify the root cause of the problem. Best practices and strategies for contamination prevention that White mentions include:
- Adhering to new guidance from the FDA. Manufacturers have been prompted to create an action plan when pathogen positives are found that encourages them to go above and beyond the old “reclean, retrain, and reswab” mantra that has been the staple of environmental monitoring programs (EMPs) for years.
- Strategizing your Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) for efficacy. EMP-based recalls, the high cost of testing, and the general litigious nature of our country frequently discourage companies from employing a truly robust EMP. However, this strategy of avoidance can ultimately prove to be disastrous if a company does not attempt to identify negative tendencies and tackle potential issues before they escalate into true problems.
- Understanding the challenges to developing a robust EMP. Thorough sanitation is among the most important means of preventing contamination from environmental pathogens, but is often not robust enough to properly identify and solve all problems. Lack of management and expertise, inadequate training, and equipment design issues are just some of the common inhibitors to proper sanitation. Getting to the real root of the problem is the best way to truly prevent contamination from taking root inside your facility.
White expands on each of these points in her article, “Getting Sanitation out of the Reclean/Retest Rut” in Food Safety Magazine. The article provides valuable guidance and challenges food manufacturers to wake up and rethink their “out of sight, out of mind” approach that can sometimes lead to devastating results, such as pathogen positives, contamination events, recalls, and even outbreaks.
Wendy White helps food companies achieve compliance with regulations and customer expectations. She holds leadership with the Georgia Association of Food Protection (GAFP) and the International Association of Food Protection (IAFP) and holds Quality Auditor Certification from the American Society of Quality.