Contamination prevention is a crucial part of every food processing stage. Preventing the spread of bacteria, viruses, and mold on food or production equipment is a measure that already takes place in food processing plants. However, contamination is still a prominent problem that can occur when least expected.

Employees must learn to overcome infection from person to person while on the job by practicing proper sanitation and safety protocols. Let’s review the prevention methods for food processing plant contamination.

How Does Contamination Occur?

There are three leading causes of food processing plant contamination: food, equipment, and the workers. Firstly, food contamination comes from cross-contamination, such as raw meat residue directly contacting vegetables and fruits. Without sufficient sanitation and separate food preparation, bacteria can accumulate and lead to infection.

Secondly, the lack of routine cleaning procedures for food processing equipment can allow the spread of bacteria. Smooth surfaces encourage easy bacterial accumulation and can affect food products. Residues from previous meals and food can act as a conduit. Lastly, workers who don’t follow good manufacturing practices can cause food contamination by handling raw meat irresponsibly, wearing dirty uniforms, and allowing outside debris to touch food.

Prevention Methods for Food Processing

Thankfully, various methods for preventing contamination in food processing plants can help decrease the risk of bacterial accumulation. From practicing workplace hygiene to good food control points, contamination shouldn’t occur.

Personal & Workspace Hygiene

Personal and workspace hygiene are major contributing solutions to preventing food contamination. Keeping your hands and nails clean, rotating out dirty uniforms, wiping surfaces after use, and wearing hair nets are a few ways to improve workspace cleanliness. Failure to practice good workspace cleanliness can result in diseases and illnesses spreading through food products.

Control Points

Control points help identify food contaminants, whether physical, microbial, chemical, or allergic. Check weighers, X-ray machines, and temperature data loggers can identify smaller, less noticeable contaminants.

Certain machines can help food processing workers find contaminants in various products. The significant difference between X-ray machines and metal detectors is the former uses electromagnetic radiation that passes through objects to identify the product’s density. In contrast, metal detectors identify contaminants through disturbances in a balanced, three-coil electromagnetic field consisting of a receiver coil and a transmitter coil.

Practicing food safety and contamination prevention can not only keep customers healthy but also prevent the loss of a company’s reputation. Do your part in practicing food safety so your customers keep returning.

By Dianne Pajo

Dianne Pajo is a writer based out of the Chicagoland area with a passion for music, combat sports, and animals. She enjoys competing in amateur boxing and kickboxing, but in her other leisure time, you can find her performing music around the city. She is also a dog mom of 2.