Food safety strategies

James Lee, Managing Director of Cromwell Polythene, discusses important ways to ensure cross-contamination is avoided.

Strict food safety procedures, cleaning and hygiene, and use of suitable products to protect food are essential to avoid both the risk of contamination and food wastage.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) – including disposable gloves – should be used in catering areas where there is risk of infection from bacteria. They should also be used when providing cleaning and sanitising requirements within food contact areas.

Any PPE equipment must have strong environmental, quality and performance credentials. This ensures health and safety and hygiene standards are not put at risk, whilst also protecting the environment.

For example, our Wave range of disposable gloves are suitable for most cleaning applications and are food safe, which means they are highly effective for sanitising requirements within food contact areas. The quality disposable gloves are both latex and powder free, helping to minimise the occurrence of skin irritation. They provide the comfort and performance attributes of latex, but are more cost effective and without the allergy issues with which the material is often associated.

Options available include: a blue nitrile examination glove which has strong barrier properties and has high resistance to oils, fats and chemicals; synthetic examination gloves; and vinyl general purpose gloves. All three types of glove meet ISO13485 and ISO9001, as well as conforming to multiple European Standards such as EN420, EN455, and EN374.

Safe and hygienic

So much food waste still ends up in landfill where it decomposes and gives off methane, a potent greenhouse gas contributing to climate change. Clearly the greatest level of effort should be made to reduce the level of surplus food wasted in the first place. However, when food is thrown away, it can be collected and effectively handled and disposed of through composting and anaerobic digestion.

Compostable bags play a key role in the effectiveness of collection of these materials. Benefits also include hygienic storage, whilst keeping odours to a minimum. The bags, used as liners, help keep the process of emptying caddies or bins as straightforward as possible, without the need to wash the food caddy or wheeled bin.

It’s essential to manage all types of waste effectively, not only for infection prevention and control, but also to make the best use of our resources. Materials such as food,


"When food is thrown away, it can be collected and effectively handled and disposed of through composting and anaerobic digestion."

glass, and packaging should be separated out for recycling. Teams should ensure there are enough bins, that they are in the right place, that they are clearly marked, and finally that instructions are being followed.

If different waste streams become mixed, materials may no longer be suitable for recycling. Items can often end up in the incorrect bin. An everyday example of this is putting food waste in the same bag as dry recycling. Contamination can also occur when food containers which haven’t been properly cleaned are put in a dry recycling bag.

Bin liners should be independently tested to prove their effectiveness and safety. Buyers should look for recognised quality standards like the CHSA Refuse Sack Standard and EN standards, such as EN13592, alongside ISO quality management principles. Poor quality liners are more likely to burst, putting hygiene, health and safety at risk.

Quality, responsibly produced bin liners bring value and efficiencies to the supply chain. They weigh less than other non-viable alternatives like glass and metal. They are also highly efficient at retaining fluids, and help to eliminate environmental leaching. Bin liners produced using high levels of recycled polythene, even up to 100% recycled material, are available to help meet sustainability targets.

By ensuring waste management is carefully thought through, as part of food safety programmes, and cleaning and hygiene standards, cleaning teams can ensure they are playing their part in a sustainable future, while maintaining a high standard of care and health and safety for everyone.


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