There are many factors that go into completing a successful third-party audit or government inspection. From maintaining updated documentation to ensuring your staff is receiving the proper training in HARPC procedures, there are many moving parts to keep track of.
What is the number one cause for concern when it comes to getting thumbs up or thumbs down on your next audit or inspection? It is a one word answer – sanitation.
“Poor sanitary conditions and practices will sink you every time with an auditor or inspector,’ says Sprague Pest Solutions Tim Gallagher. “If you end up always rushing to complete elements of your sanitation programs - whether it is deep cleaning of equipment or simple day-to-day tasks right before a scheduled audit - it will eventually catch up with you.”
Last month we shared the U.S. FDA’s inspectional observation data report
of the most commonly cited violations issued during routine food facility inspections. Among the top violations listed were sanitation monitoring and plant cleanliness.
There are many factors that contribute to effective sanitation in a food processing facility including:
- Facility design
- Equipment design
- Consistently followed cleaning and sanitizing procedures
- Accurately documented sanitation programs and monitoring procedures
When looking at the impact of facility design and maintenance, and how it impacts a plant’s sanitation readiness, facility and QA managers need to answer the following questions:
- Are the ceilings, walls and floors made of acceptable materials?
- Are walls and floors in good repair – are there cracks where excess food particles and water can gather and attract pests?
- Do floor and equipment drains operate correctly?
- What are the roof conditions? Are there openings where moisture or pests such as birds or rodents can access the facility?
- Are there adequate heating and cooling capabilities?
- Do exterior doors, windows and utility/ventilation openings have door sweeps and screening installed?
Gallagher recommends facility managers regularly communicate with their maintenance staff any concerns about sanitation that may be the result of the physical condition in the facility. Pest management partners can also serve as a second set of eyes and provide input on structural items that need repair.
“Paying attention to details – no matter how small - is the key ingredient to a successful sanitation program,” says Gallagher. “Having your staff pay attention to the condition of the facility, notice any deficiencies and have corrective action taken and documented is a must.”