UniFirst Corp. Continues Hygienically Clean Food Safety Certification Commitment
UniFirst Corp.’s Richmond, VA laundry has recently achieved Hygienically Clean Food Safety certification and three of its plants (Bangor, ME, Kernersville, NC and Richmond, VA) have qualified to renew their certifications. These Hygienically Clean Food Safety certifications reflect UniFirst’s commitment to best management practices (BMPs) in laundering as verified by on-site inspection and their capability to produce hygienically clean textiles as quantified by ongoing microbial testing. UniFirst currently has 58 laundries that have earned this certification; their locations are (one in each state except where noted): AL; AZ; CA (five); CO; CT; FL (four); GA (two); IL; KS; LA; MA (two); MD (two); ME; MI, MO, NC (four); NH (two); NJ (two); NV; NY (two); OH; OK; OR; PA (two); SC (two); TX (eight); UT; VA; WA; and WI. Canadian provinces represented are Alberta (two) and British Columbia.
The Hygienically Clean Food Safety certification confirms the laundry’s dedication to compliance and processing garments and linens using BMPs as described in its quality assurance documentation, the focal point for inspectors’ evaluation of critical control points (CCPs) that minimize risk. The independent, third-party inspection must confirm essential evidence that:
- Employees are properly trained and protected
- Managers understand legal requirements
- Physical plant operates effectively
To maintain their certification, laundry plants must pass quarterly testing of outcome-based microbial testing, indicating that their processes are producing Hygienically Clean garments and other reusable textiles with diminished presence of harmful bacteria. Testing ensures that as laundry conditions change, such as water quality, textile fabric composition and wash chemistry, laundered product quality is consistently maintained. This process eliminates subjectivity by focusing on outcomes and results that verify textiles cleaned in these facilities meet appropriate hygienically clean standards and BMPs for animal processing, dairies, fruit/vegetable, bakeries, grain and other food and beverage industry segments.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) practices are examined in the Hygienically Clean Food Safety inspection process, evaluating the plant’s techniques for:
- Conducting hazard analysis
- Determining CCPs, monitoring their control, correcting them if not under control
- Validating and verifying HACCP system effectiveness
- Documenting and record-keeping to show ongoing conformance
On-site inspections also evaluate practices relevant to handling and processing textile products used in food manufacturing/processing establishments for adherence to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directives. Introduced in 2014, Hygienically Clean Food Safety brought to North America the international cleanliness standards for laundering garments and other textile products for food manufacturing used worldwide by the Certification Association for Professional Textile Services and the European Committee for Standardization.
“More and more, we’re seeing our customers in food-related industries looking for third-party validation that our specialized Product Protection Process and our Hygienically Clean standards are consistent with HACCP and GFSI guidelines,” said Adam Soreff, director of marketing and communications at UniFirst Corp., Wilmington, MA. “Working with a Hygienically Clean Food Safety certified laundry helps reassure them that their managed uniform program is working in concert with their own food-safety protocols to help them ensure food safety for consumers.”
Questions about the Hygienically Clean certification programs can be directed to Angela D. Freeman, manager, certification programs, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703.519.0029, ext. 111 or discover more at www.hygienicallyclean.org.