Baking & Snack - August 2015 - 144

Joe Stout

Consider these nifty food safety
practices before cleaning
a production line while one
nearby remains in operation.

In the food industry, many manufacturers make products with different formulations on several lines in the
same production room. This presents a challenge since
most of these lines are in close proximity or even adjacent to one another.
We are often asked about the potential risk of crosscontamination during the cleaning process or spreading
allergens when cleaning one line while an adjacent one is
operating. Bakers and snack manufacturers need to understand the challenges when cleaning an adjacent line
and how to minimize the risks of cross-contamination
during this common practice at many food processing
First and foremost, protecting the products being
made is the key to successfully cleaning a nearby operation. This process must also involve protecting ingredients and packaging supplies. Prior to starting the cleaning, bakers and snack manufacturers should complete a
risk assessment that identifies the risks involved before
developing controls to protect the food in production.
Securing the operating line requires very controlled sanitation methods - each with unique challenges to both
dry and wet processes.
While adjacent-line cleaning supports the business,
food safety and sanitation programs support the production of safe food. Verifying the effectiveness of the
controls identified in the adjacent-line cleaning risk assessment supports food safety.

144 Baking & Snack August 2015 /


Depending upon the process and product type, verification may come in different forms. Examples may
include environmental monitoring, air exposure testing, clean equipment swabs, allergen swabs and random
GMP audits. Any or all of these can aid in the verification of adjacent-line cleaning program effectiveness or
provide learnings about areas requiring improvement.
For example, environmental monitoring of pathogens and non-pathogens collected during adjacent-line
cleaning can supply crucial data about the presence of
a number of issues. Such monitoring provides key statistics on whether adjacent-line cleaning practices are
increasing risks with environmental air and what needs
to be managed.
In a typical bakery, snack facility or food plant,
products often have a variety of allergen profiles, environmental room requirements, varied production
run lengths and microbiological risks. In some cases,
customers may have different expectations for finished
product testing. These demands result in the need for
flexibility in the manufacturing environment, and many
plants need robust, scientifically validated programs to
enable cleaning when an adjacent line is in operation.
Understanding the underlying complexity of this
common sanitation process will lay the foundation for
ensuring food safety. Adjacent lines have exposed product contact zones or surfaces such as open belts, hoppers and lines and are scheduled for operation at the
same time that cleaning of another line occurs. Lines
separated by physical walls, closed design or by temporary walls are not considered adjacent lines.
If proper procedures are not followed, the full or partial cleaning of nearby lines could contaminate products, food contact surfaces, ingredients, packaging materials or any open product zone areas. This includes

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