Machinery and Cross-Contamination

The last couple of weeks I have seen several news stories on businesses losing a lot of there points due to not knowing that speciality machinery causes cross contamination. 


Machinery is required in the food industry but the Food Standards Agency (FSA) has strict laws on how they are used.  Major culprits of concern are vacuum sealers, mincers, and meat slicers. This is solely due to cross-contamination between veg, cooked meats, and raw meat.  Let’s face the facts small food businesses cannot justify storage space for duplicate items but you have to know the facts.  Let’s drill them down two major offenders.


Vacuum Sealers


This is a major offender of losing points.  You cannot use a vacuum sealer for veg and meats (cooked or raw).  The FSA and studies say that particules get lodged into the complex vacuum system.  This could cause cross contamination. You can breakdown the system and clean it out completely after each use.  If you ever have worked with one you know they are beasts and is an unfeasible task to clean.  So decide best what you are going to use it for and use it ONLY for that food group. 


Meat Slicers

Another offender is the infamous meat slicer.  I know everything about these machines.  I have taken them apart, replaced belts, computer boards, blades, etc.  It was the biggest nightmare working with industrial bacon slicers.  We had the luxury of working in a warehouse environment that we can use a jet power sprayer to clean the machines, yes two machines.  Took 2 man hours per machine to clean.  The table top one was used for cooked meats and still a task to clean.  Even cleaned they can cause cross-contamination.  So better safe than sorry use for one category only.



I also strongly advise that you label the machine.  This will ensure that your team knows the machines correct use.  Lastly train them correct how to use these machines.