June 30, 2018
When food is your business, the safety of your product is vital to long-term success, and careful control of everything you do in your facility is critical to achieving regulatory compliance. That’s where your Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) and Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) plans come in.
When it comes to ensuring food safety, food-related businesses must adopt a HACCP/GFSI mentality in every aspect of their program—right down to the uniforms that outfit their food industry workers.
Food safety is an important public health priority. Foodborne illness (sometimes called “foodborne disease,” “foodborne infection,” or “food poisoning”) is a common, costly—yet preventable—public health problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year roughly one (1) in six (6) Americans (or 48 million people) get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases.
To help prevent contamination within food manufacturing, processing, distribution, and retail operations, and to ensure the general safety of food products, businesses in the food industry must pay careful attention to how work garments worn by food industry employees are designed, maintained, processed (hygienically cleaned), and managed so they are not a potential source for food contamination. Careful controls are vital to minimizing cross-contamination risks and achieving regulatory compliance.
If your food-related business does not have a specialized food service uniform program provider who is HACCP/GFSI-conscious to aid you in this important process, you could be risking your business’ success. Product safety is non-negotiable in the food-related industry.
A specialized food service uniform program, such as the UniFirst UniSafe® Service program, can effectively eradicate bacterial contaminants that can colonize on food service employees’ workwear to help ensure food safety and minimize cross-contamination.
UniFirst is HACCP/GFSI-conscious in the following areas.
UniFirst’s food service uniform laundering program is based on principles set forth in HACCP and GFSI application guidelines, and address risks involved with the process.
The UniFirst UniSafe Service program includes a portal-to-portal process designed to minimize cross-contamination risks, resulting in a greater than 99.99999% reduction in microbial contamination associated with uniforms and other food worker garments. This process begins at customer facilities and extends throughout all garment handling, laundering, and finishing procedures to deliver hygienically clean garments to food-related workers on a regular schedule.
Training and Product Protection Processing (PPP)
UniFirst provides comprehensive HACCP/GFSI training for personnel involved in the processing of food-related customer garments. These types of specialized, comprehensive training programs prove extremely beneficial, especially when developed in conjunction with a certified HACCP instructor. Our training programs call for the individual training of all point-of-contact personnel, so that everyone involved fully understands food safety handling and compliance, and shows a commitment to making a positive difference in delivering the desired results customers need.
Furthermore, as an added measure of security, the UniFirst UniSafe Service program has been verified through scientific testing by an independent laboratory showing that our program is effective in killing pathogens known to cause foodborne illnesses on food industry uniforms.
Laundering Process Certification
UniFirst participates in the TRSA Hygienically Clean Food Safety (HCFS) certification program for the cleaning and servicing of work apparel for food-related industries. The TRSA certification lets the world know that we are doing our part to help ensure food safety for consumers. TRSA is an international organization, representing textile industry companies, with expertise to determine the most appropriate hygienic laundering solutions for food manufacturing and food processing facilities and workplaces.
Using a hygienically clean certified laundry can reassure your customers that you are concerned and committed to product cleanliness and can further establish your credibility as it relates to a focus on quality and food safety for consumers. More and more, businesses in food-related industries are looking for these types of third-party validation from credible organizations to verify the provider’s programs are consistent with strict safety guidelines.
Specialized food service clothing designs
Uniform designs in the food-related industry are not just for show—they serve critical safety functions as well, another area vital to further comply with food service regulations.
UniFirst offers a wide variety of food service uniforms designed to be HACCP and GFSI compliant. These include processor coats, restaurant uniforms, server and wait staff uniforms, chef wear, aprons, and headwear that adhere to certain design features for safety.
Simply put, the importance of having a specialized uniform services provider, such as UniFirst, who is knowledgeable about the food-related industry cannot be overstated. Avoiding cross-contamination and complying with food safety regulations is a must in this industry and minimizing risks, right down to the uniforms, will help your business succeed.
Further reading: TRSA Hygienically Clean Food Safety (HCFS) certification program