How clean is clean enough?

October 06, 2022

Learn how heightened standards for health, safety, and work uniforms have long been the norm for food-related businesses

While many businesses are adjusting to heightened standards of “clean” as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, defending against the threat of contamination in the food processing industry is not part of any “new normal.”

It’s standard practice in the face of bacterial, viral, or environmental threats to the safety and purity of food products, as well as to the safety of employees. It’s a responsibility that requires the most diligent and reliable processes of cleanliness and hygiene. The right work uniforms – and work uniform provider – are key components.

UniFirst has a deep understanding of the responsibilities that food industry businesses bear. We share in these responsibilities by providing the uniforms and services that food-related businesses need to help keep their workers safe and productive on the job.

HACCP Food Processing & Uniforms

Safe food processing work uniforms must adhere to a higher standard of safety and hygiene, including garments compliant with HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) guidelines.

HACCP guidelines cover both the design of the garments themselves as well as the laundering and handling process. At UniFirst, our UniSafe® Service is designed to help minimize any potential risks associated with food industry workwear. Our product protection process includes:

  • Portal to portal sanitation control
  • Cross-contamination protection
  • Documented, verifiable processing
  • HACCP/GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) trained service staff
  • Food processing/Food service specific safety garments
  • TRSA Hygienically Clean certification

UniFirst’s food industry uniforms are HACCP compliant in both design and laundering processes to help keep pathogens and other forms of contamination at bay:

  • Fitted garments to help prevent product waste and spills
  • No pockets. Pockets can trap bacteria or allow objects to fall into food production areas.
  • Snap closures. Buttons can fall off, contaminate food and ruin a production run. Snaps also make for quick garment removal after spills.
  • Separate laundering to help avoid cross-contamination from other uniforms
  • Separate water temperature and rinse processes to help ensure conditions that will loosen soil and kill disease-causing microorganisms

Hygiene that is Put to the Test

When it comes to being “clean,” there should be no room for interpretation. UniFirst is also Hygienically Clean certified, a rigorous standard that requires facility inspections and ongoing microbial testing of garments. Hygienically Clean standards, established by the industry trade group TRSA, are internationally recognized and rely on third-party verification. They have also increasingly been recognized as a necessary, industry-wide protocol since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Hygienically Clean certification includes on-site inspections to evaluate:

  • Uniform upkeep practices
  • Employee training and protection
  • OSHA compliance
  • Managerial understanding of certification requirements
  • Third-party testing
  • Hygienic operations

Delivering value for our customers: customer case study

When a national supplier of refrigerated pasta, sauces, cheese, and cookies was looking to switch uniform service providers to outfit its 435 uniform wearers at its 240,000 square-foot food manufacturing plant, they selected UniFirst based on our experience with HACCP certified programs, proven local service reputation, tailored billing solutions, and proactive management.

The customer was having quality control issues with outdated garments that needed repair, uniform shortages, and billing issues, specifically lack of communications for credits and overcharges.

Our uniform experts recommended a program that provided the right solutions they needed. In just one weekend, the UniFirst team installed over 12,000 pieces of safe food processing uniforms to ensure a seamless transition and no interruptions to their manufacturing operations. UniFirst’s service guarantee will ensure that this new food industry customer will never have to experience a uniform shortage again and will receive accurate and transparent invoices.

Our Commitment to Clean

It’s a rigorous standard that we uphold for the safety – and peace of mind – of our food industry customers. Our commitment to providing a reliable, hygienic, and professional work uniforms and services programs with expert advice customers can trust.

Contact us to learn why we are the work uniform provider of choice for industries with the highest standards for safety and hygiene.

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