TRSA Unveils Food Safety Certification
TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci recently announced that the association has developed a certification program for laundries serving food manufacturing/processing sectors. Ricci first described the Hygienically Clean Food Safety Program during the American Reusable Textile Association Educational Conference on Feb. 26-28 in Orlando, FL.
Like TRSA’s Hygienically Clean certification program for healthcare, the Hygienically Clean Food Safety Program emphasizes best practices for laundry processes and quality control practices that are verified through facility inspections and microbial testing of reusable textiles.
The laundry practices that the program will verify include washing procedures (e.g., detergent formulas, temperature, disinfectant, pH extraction) as well as drying, garment inspection and transportation. A certified laundry plant must follow an operational flowchart that maps these procedures as well as pickup, unloading and sorting of soiled items, plus sorting of clean laundry. Employees’ use of personal protective equipment must be documented as well.
In addition, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) practices will be examined, including the plant’s procedures for:
- Conducting hazard analysis
- Determining CCPs, monitoring their control, and correcting them if not under control
- Validating and verifying HACCP system effectiveness
- Documenting and record-keeping to show ongoing conformance
TRSA will conduct an initial inspection to evaluate a plant’s HACCP procedures, compliance with its flowchart and other practices relevant to handling and processing textile products used in food manufacturing/processing establishments. These include adherence to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directives.
At the same time, monthly bacteriological testing will begin. Certification is awarded when the plant passes three consecutive months of testing with no failures based on TRSA microbiological performance specifications. The plant also must pass an inspection.
Such test results must be replicated every six months and the plant must pass inspections every three years to maintain certification.
TRSA’s Hygienically Clean program remains the fastest-growing certification initiative for textile services companies in North America. It will likely maintain that distinction in coming months with 30 U.S. and Canadian laundry facilities certified during the program’s first year and with another 30 plants currently undergoing testing, inspections and verifications. Introduced in 2013, Hygienically Clean was the first certification program in the United States to establish measurable microbial limits for laundered textiles.
The testing protocol has prompted launderers to improve their processes as plants adjust to meet the TRSA standard and produce the cleanest textiles for increased public safety. “Hygienically Clean provides a quantitative measure that ensures ongoing adherence to best practices and outcomes based on internationally recognized, proven and accepted testing for biocontamination,” Ricci said. “Our emphasis is on quantifying the results that various technical approaches achieve. TRSA does not mandate laundry practices, but evaluates the effectiveness of the techniques that a laundry chooses to deploy.”