Is Your Poultry Processing Plant Compliant in Time for Thanksgiving?

Here are four compliance steps to ensure you’re producing safe poultry this holiday season./PEXELS

Over 46 million turkeys are eaten every Thanksgiving, according to the USDA. The CDC also estimates that one in six Americans will get sick with a foodborne illness every year. As such, sanitary processing is extremely important during the holiday season. 

If your poultry processing facility is gearing up to churn out the festive fowl, use these four major compliance steps to prevent foodborne illnesses: 

  1. Keep Your Equipment Clean 

The USDA lays out specific guidelines for when and how food-contact surfaces must be cleaned. Surfaces that touch poultry must be cleaned to sight and touch and be free of grease and soil deposits. 

All food-contact surfaces must be cleaned: 

  • At least every 4 hours (except containers kept under a certain temperature or in a refrigerated room). 
  • Before being used with a different raw animal product (i.e. in between processing of beef and poultry). 
  • When there is a change from processing raw foods to ready-to-eat foods. 
  • Between uses with raw fruits and vegetables. 
  • Before using a food temperature measuring device. 
  • Any time that you suspect contamination may have occurred. 

To save time and money on labor costs, automate your cleaning process with industrial washing equipment. It’ll also guarantee that you get the perfect clean every time. 

  1. Watch out for condensation. 

Sometimes, condensation in processing can make food such as poultry unusable. Here are some examples to look for to ensure compliance: 

  • There is heavily beaded condensation on a ceiling or wall of a processing area that is not regularly cleaned. 
  • Ceiling condensation drips onto carcasses. 
  • Condensation forms on a refrigeration unit that has not been cleaned and drips onto product. 
  • Condensation drips onto boxes on a loading dock, breaking down the packaging. 
  1. Keep bathrooms up to code. 

It’s crucial that your employees have safety-compliant bathrooms, as much of food contamination originates in poor lavatory practices. All handwashing stations must be able to provide water of at least 110°F (43°C) and any automated faucets must provide a water flow of at least 15 seconds before shutting off. 

  1. Maintain your surfaces. 

All multiuse surfaces that touch food must be: 

  • Smooth. 
  • Free of breaks, open seams, cracks, chips, inclusions, pits, and imperfections. 
  • Free of sharp internal angles, corners, and crevices. 
  • Finished to have smooth welds and joints. 
  • Must be able to be cleaned and inspected either: 
  • Without being disassembled 
  • By being disassembled without tools 
  • By being disassembled with common handheld tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, and wrenches. 

A clean business is a healthy one. Keep your customers healthy this turkey day by standardizing your facility’s cleaning process. If you have questions about how to automate sanitation at your facility, reach out to us here