Recently, I came across an interesting article from Industry Update. The title was Good manufacturing practices set the standard for food hygiene, by Laurence Marchini.

Here’s the article, in part:

It goes without saying that hygiene is of paramount importance in any food processing operation. The consequences of poor hygiene at any stage in the paddock to plate journey of foodstuffs can be catastrophic. But, fortunately, the global acceptance of the necessity for the highest hygiene standards in food production is spurring technological advances that make the task of maintaining those standards less onerous.

The key to maintaining hygiene throughout the processing chain is to have the proper procedures in place. And that means GMP – or good manufacturing practices.

Good manufacturing practices cover many basic operational conditions and procedures that span the whole manufacturing operation from the building itself to the equipment used, cleaning regimes, pest control and avoidance of foreign matter in the finished product.

While the article is specially targetted at material production for the Food Industry, certain points noted specifically apply to our bailiwick, anti-fatigue and anti-slip mats. The second paragraph states the obvious really, have proper procedures in place.

So, what does this have to do with mats used in the food industry?

A month or so ago, I went to a food manufacturing plant and looked at some mats used there. Out of curiosity, I asked when was the last time the mats were cleaned. There were puzzled faces and no one was really sure. Cleaning was only done sporadically. Usually, when one of the supervisors, or people on the factory floor thought about it.

So, I put the suggestion, why not a regular cleaning schedule.

Now, the next question is how often should the mats be cleaned. Of course, this well depend on the use and duty cycle of the mats. Depending on duty use and dirt build up, this can range from daily, to every few days or once a week. 

Suggested cleaning routine will involve washing mats according to your normal regime, using detergents, high pressure hose, or whatever you normally do. This exercise can also be tacked on to normal CIP (Clean in Place) practices when this are performed. This way, mat cleaning is part of an existing procedure and will be regularly done.

Giving up on cleaning mats at a food production plant
This an actual photo at a food manufacguring plant where it seems cleaning just got too hard. It shouldn’t be.

Another point we need to raise is treatment of the mats after washing/cleaning. I raise this issue after I noted how some mats were washed and left outside the factory to dry. And, on a damp wintery morning, this was not going to happen quickly. What’s more, placed outside on damp soil (or even dry soil or grass, for that matter), the possibility of contamination from ground bacteria, flying and crawling insects and the like should not be discounted.

You keep your mats flat and let air surround them to dry properly with this trolley
The AMCO Deluxe Mat Trolley: note how the mats are vertical to keep flat, also allow air to go in between the mats.

We strongly suggest the use of our mat trolleys for the drying of the mats. Ideally, you could use our Deluxe Mat Trolley for this purpose. The mats are hung straight up and down (vertical to the ground and not touching it, see photo on the right). This not only allows air to pass between mats to assist in the drying process, but also allows the mat to stay flat. This prevents the mats from curling at the edges.

Our Premium Mat Trolley allows the user to place the mat flat, but one on top of the other, unless one mat is placed on each rack. Again, ideally, the Premium Mat Trolley is best used to keep replacement mats for those being cleaned. With the mats laid flat, this also helps prevent curling of the edges.

For more information, or to discuss your anti fatigue and anti slip mat requirements in food manufacturing, please contact us now.