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Letters to the Editor
Promotion of the time and materials needed for handwashing along with consistent management oversight and encouragement is always helpful. Policies do start from the top down. However, swabbing hands of employees on a rotating basis and testing for Coliforms, aerobic plate count, enterobacteriaceae, and/or S. aureus also provides scientific basis for how effective the policies are being implemented on the retail floor. Confidentiality is important for this practice, but the data is very helpful to modify or reinforce behavior.
--Virginia Deibel, PhD, director of microbiology, Covance
I read the cover story "Keep It Clean" and the following article "Eliminate Bugs Where They Live" with interest. I found the information relevant and important to the food industry. However, I noticed in both articles there was a lack of emphasis on the importance of hygienic design of the processing equipment. The best cleaning system and most effective sanitizers cannot work properly if the design of the equipment does not follow basic hygienic principles of design…In the 45 years that I have inspected processing facilities and evaluated equipment design, I’ve found an alarming number of equipment buyers and users that equate shiny stainless steel as the equivalent of hygienic. Stainless steel or other noncorrosive materials are, of course, important but the hygienic aspects come from the details of the design--in the elimination of harborage areas for microorganism and sources of contamination. A common complaint is hygienic design costs too much. At the same time the old adage, "you get what you pay for," also applies. Yes, hygienic design may cost more initially. However, hygienic design allows you to run longer, clean faster with lower cleaning cost, and improve the ease of maintenance…the payback in increased production and higher quality products more than justifies the initial investment.
--F. Tracy Schonrock, chair, 3A SSI Third Party Verification Committee