Lubricants and other nonfood compounds play an important role in the safe operation of food processing and production plants—but how are they actually used in a food processing facility? And how do they help protect the food supply chain? Claire Goring, supply chain and technical consulting manager at NSF International, a global public health and safety organization, explains the activities in a food processing facility, points of potential contamination and the legislation and globally accepted ways of mitigating risks in food production.
Technical and operations managers at food processing plants work in a busy, high-pressure environment, which I learned over 15 years as a manager responsible for safety and quality issues in food production. For example, a factory producing pastries may have meat, vegetarian and vegan items in production that may also have “free from” requirements, such as gluten-free or lactose-free.
On top of this, plants may be producing multiple brands, such as supermarket store brands and independently branded products, which have different recipes and different production run lengths for each product. There are distinct lines of production equipment for some items and other lines that need to be changed from one product to another. In the latter case, special precautions and cleaning procedures are in place to prevent cross-contamination, which could endanger consumers with allergies.