Importance of GMP in dairy products making and dairy farming.
At Teplu we have over 15000 registered dairy entrepreneurs from 10 different countries. During our training and dairy plant expansion projects, we come across different problems that product manufacturer’s face. The most common problem is that of low shelf life of dairy products and complaints from their customers about high acidity in curd, buttermilk etc. After in-depth investigation, one common factor observed was the presence of high levels of harmful bacteria such as listeria in dairy products. Listeria monocytogenes is known to degrade quality of traditional dairy products. It has been found to grow even under refrigerated conditions.
Due to the lack of good quality equipments and lesser focus on quality improvement, small scale dairy processors are not able to scale up their production. Recurring product failures lead to losses and consequent reduction in incomes. Whether a dairy plant is small or large, it is essential to ensure compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations for dairy products.
It is the responsibility of all involved personnel at every level of the organization to act immediately if a risk of violating this policy is detected. Department Managers are accountable for compliance with this policy and the General Manager or owner has final authority concerning any GMP issue. As dairy products handlers, we have a responsibility to our customers to maintain high standards of dairy products & their safety. To ensure only safe, high quality products are produced, employees must follow all GMP’s which are listed below:
1.Personal Hygiene Requirements
Your personal hygiene is very important. All personnel working in the production area are expected to maintain a high degree of personal cleanliness. The following rules apply to you:
· Keep finger nails clean and neatly trimmed. Dirty nails are a popular place for bacteria to hide and grow.
· Nail polish is not permitted in the production area. The polish may flake off and contaminate the product. Bacteria also hide in cracks in the nail polish.
· You must wear a protective hair net in the production area. There must be no exposed or loose hair protruding from under a hairnet. Hair carries many microorganisms. (1 hair follicle can contain up to 50,000 germs).
· Men with mustaches or beards must cover them fully with a beard net.
· All jewelry, including watches, must be removed when entering the plant. Plain wedding bands without stones or settings are allowed. This is not only to protect our products from contamination, but also to protect you from injury and/or the loss of a valuable possession. (Skin area underneath jewelry is a warm area and together with moisture and a little air, these are ideal conditions for bacteria to grow at a rapid rate).
Your hands can be the source of many microorganisms. The following rules apply to you:
You must wash your hands with soap and water located at each hand washing station:
· when starting work
· after break time
· after lunch
· after using the washroom (the number of bacteria on your fingertips double after using the washroom)
· after blowing your nose
·after handling garbage, after touching a pallet, skid, floor mat or picking up product from the floor
· or whenever your hands have become contaminated
Always dry your hands using the disposable paper towels provided. Never dry or wipe your hands on your clothing as it may be contaminated with microorganisms.
e. Protective Clothing
·The protective clothing provided must be changed daily and when necessary, throughout the day.
·All soiled laundry must be placed in the laundry receptacles provided. No soiled or dirty laundry is to be left in the production area.
·You cannot carry personal items such as pens, knives, cell-phones, or other small articles in your uniform pockets.
· Wash hands before putting on new pair of gloves.
· Change gloves at every break, when torn, after touching garbage, and after touching your face or blowing nose.
· Change gloves as often as required to ensure dairy products safety.
· Extra gloves are not to be carried in pockets of work clothes due to the probability of gloves falling unnoticed into equipment or finished products.
· All used gloves must be disposed in the garbage cans provided.
Hygienic Handling of Dairy Products
These are precautions you must take to prevent the contamination of the product you are working with. These precautions are listed below:
Any behavior that could result in the contamination of product is prohibited. This includes:
· Eating, drinking and chewing in production area.
· Chewing gum
· Coughing or sneezing must be directed away from product and must be blocked by shoulder or upper arm.
· Wash your hands frequently with hand soap using warm, running water for 30 seconds.
· Refrain from touching your nose or face. If you do – wash your hands.
· If you wear gloves, the same rules apply.
· Wash your hands after removing gloves and before applying new gloves.
· Hand-washing signs and proper techniques are posted in all employee facilities.
· Do not let clean utensils or equipment, or your hands touch the floor unless proper cleaning and sanitizing procedures have been performed.
· Do not let product and or packaging material touch the floor – ever.
· If product makes contact with the floor, it must be deemed inedible and placed in the garbage bins.
· Do not place cardboard boxes or bags on the floor. Keep these on skids, stands or packaging tables.
Product Contact Surface
· Do not place cardboard boxes on product contact surfaces. They have been handled many times and have sat in unsanitary environments making them a potential source of bacteria and physical contamination.
ILLNESS AND INJURIES
Do's and Dont's in case of illness and injuries
If you are ill or injured, you must report the situation to Production Manager or Supervisor or QA designate immediately. The Production Manager or Supervisor or QA designate will assess each situation. You must comply with the following rules:
· All cuts, sores, scratches or other wounds must be covered with a waterproof covering such as blue band-aid which is firmly secure. The microorganisms from an infected cut are easily transferred to the products you handle. Glove must be worn on top of band-aid or bandage.
· There must be no coughing or sneezing freely in the production area. Microorganisms are readily transferred by the spray droplets and mucous from coughs and sneezes. Block sneezes and coughs by using your shoulder or upper arm.
· If you block a sneeze or a cough with your hands immediately dispose of gloves, then wash and sanitize your hands.
· If you are suffering from or are a carrier of an infectious illness (i.e. vomiting or diarrhea) you must notify your Supervisor immediately. You may not work in a production area and may be assigned to “modified work” in a non-critical area.
Spread of harmful bacteria
a. Protective Clothing and Hairnets
· Protective clothing is not to be worn in the lunchroom, washrooms or outside the building.
· Production coats are not to leave the production area and should be hung on hooks provided. This is to prevent cross contamination of foreign and potential harmful bacteria to the production area that could cause spoilage and/or dairy products poisoning.
b. Limited Access / Traffic and Air Flow
· All doors must be kept closed.
· Garbage must be emptied on a regular basis to prevent overflowing.
· The floor must be free of trash, broken pallets, spilled products, etc.
· A dry sweep is to be done if required during production.
· All products must be removed from an area if a wet wash is required during breaks.
· Pallets and plastic crates must be neatly stacked and must not be left up against a wall.
d. Tools and Equipment
. All tools and equipments should be sanitized as per protocol.
· Use squeegee to remove water from the floor.
· Never use a squeegee to remove water from dairy products contact surfaces. This action would cause cross-contamination of bacteria from the floor to the dairy products contact surface via the squeegee. Harmful bacteria can come into contact with the mix being handled on that surface resulting in early spoilage and potential dairy products poisoning.
· Rags are not permitted. Rags harbor bacteria in the cloth material and over a short time the bacteria can multiply and cross contamination can occur resulting in early spoilage and/or dairy products poisoning.
· Disposable paper or jay cloths are the only tools allowed to clean dairy products contact surfaces. Excess water can be removed by tipping the table top surface initially and then removing the water left by using the disposable paper towels provided.
· The washrooms should be equipped with clean, modern washroom facilities. You are expected to help keep these facilities clean since they are part of your work. Prior to using the washroom facilities, you must remove your protective clothing and hang it on the hooks provided at the designated location. This will eliminate any contamination of your work clothes as you enter the washrooms. Do not forget to wash your hands after using the washroom.
· The change room/locker facility is for street clothing and personal belongings and must not store any dairy products, work clothing or equipment (i.e. gloves, aprons, etc.)
· All foot wear is to be stored on shoe racks in change rooms.
· To maintain a dairy products safe environment for employees to enjoy lunch and breaks, the lunchroom should be kept clean and tidy at all times. Personal coffee mugs, containers and utensils must not be left dirty in the sink.
· Enter building through designated staff entrance.
· Proceed to change room and remove street cloths. Put on work cloths and put on production foot wear and then proper uniform. Punch in your time card and put on hair net.
· Proceed to wash hands (30 seconds).
· Exit is the exact reverse of the entrance procedure.
· Visitors must register at reception desk prior to entry and must be accompanied by authorized employee.
· Only authorized personnel are allowed to use chemicals.
· When not in use, the chemicals must be stored in chemical storage in the designated area.