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Chemical control in food production sites

April 7, 2022

Inadequacies in chemical control in food production sites have recently been identified as a common non-conformance with the BRC Global Standard Issue 8. In our experience, the level of awareness of the requirements for effective control of chemical contaminants in food production areas differs wildly between different production sites.

We often deal with very experienced engineers but still find that, 98% of the time, we can identify areas of weakness in a site’s lubrication culture. These are usually down to a gap in understanding with regard to the specific challenges of using chemicals around food.

BRC Global Standards section 4.9.1.1 concisely conveys the processes that need to be in place to manage the use, storage and handling of non-food chemicals to prevent chemical contamination. Let’s have a quick run-through…

The standard states that these processes shall include (at a minimum):

An approved list of chemicals for purchase

Activate supplies an Application Guide (approved list) or Stock Management Service Form built for every customer that has a storage system and complete package of lubricants. These are provided in standard Word format and are sent monthly as a free stock reminder. The Stock Management Service Form includes all specific products for each site with codes, bespoke prices, address, account reference and space to fill in your order.

Availability of material safety data sheets and specifications

Safety Data Sheets and specs are supplied for each Activate lubricant used in your production site. These are stored in the Compliance Manual which sits on the storage unit and is readily available for engineers and auditors to access. Updated SDS are emailed to you for printing and inclusion in the Compliance Manual and all current SDS are available to download from our website at any time.

Confirmation of suitability for use in a food processing environment

Easy - if it says ‘Activate’ on the label, it IS foodgrade! All our lubricants are food safe and NSF registered.

Avoidance of strongly scented products

Activate foodgrade lubricants are not scented.

The labelling and/or identification of containers of chemicals at all times

Activate lubricant containers are colour-coded for quick, easy and accurate identification and the storage unit features a specific, colour-coded Application Guide for reference. The combination of these two features enables correct identification and application every time.

A designated storage area with restricted access to authorised personnel

The oil store itself can be kept locked or, if this is unworkable or undesirable, Activate offers lockable storage solutions, thus enabling restricted access.

Use by trained personnel only

Activate provides full training in the requirements for compliance with regard to production area lubricants, as well as in the specifics of using Activate products and systems. This has traditionally been given face-to-face on initial install of our systems, then ongoing (recommended at least once a year), and is once again available following Covid lockdown easing.

We have now developed an online platform - Activate Insights - to further facilitate this training. This is available 24/7 for all lubrication culture stakeholders and uses a certificate system to build and display training history. The certificates should be printed out for inclusion in the Compliance Folder that sits on the lubricant storage unit.

The BRC Global Standard gives clear instruction for processes that will eliminate the risk of chemical contamination and it is clear from this article that the requirements for chemical control in food production areas need not be complex to follow. The key action is to use a lubrication partner who provides quality products and a knowledge-based, systemised approach, and gives ongoing advice and support to help ensure compliance.

All Activate lubricants, systems, training solutions and customer support processes are specifically designed to ensure compliance – with regards to both the chemical control we are addressing here and the wider requirements of the BRC Global Standards.

Please contact us for no-obligation advice on how to achieve chemical control compliance and develop an optimised food grade lubrication.

Changing the game

“Thank you so much for your help we cruised through the audit nicely thanks to your swift response! I don’t think there is anything we need at the minute but thank you again for the support - times like that show which suppliers truly deliver support and you do!”

Engineer - Leading UK Meat Producer

“Thanks to you and the whole Activate team for your assistance this year, it has been great working with you.”

Chief Engineer - Global Snacks Producer

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