BURBANK, Calif. — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. According to ARAMARK Uniform Services (AUS), one overlooked potential source of cross-contamination in a food plant lies in improperly cleaned uniforms and apparel.
To help eliminate this potential source of cross-contamination, AUS maintains the strong position that uniforms and apparel must play an integral part of a food plant’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.
HACCP is a system of quality-control management placing responsibility on the manufacturers and handlers of food products. It is a preventative system, rather than an inspection-based system, and designed to identify and address potential problems before they occur.
While there currently is no established USDA or FDA guideline requiring processing plants, restaurants, retail meat, deli and bakery departments to use laundry services that are HACCP-compliant, there is an expectation that a sanitized, safe work environment must be maintained within the industry. Unfortunately that is not always the case.
“ARAMARK Uniform Services recognizes that without the appropriate controls and operating procedures, uniforms can become a point of cross-contamination inside a food processing facility,” says Manuel Nieto, vice president of field operations support for ARAMARK Uniform Services. “ARAMARK understands the importance of food safety and sanitation and has taken the steps necessary to ensure the delivery of hygienically clean uniforms in accordance with a food plant’s internal HACCP plan.”
ARAMARK Uniform Services has established sanitation standard operating procedures at all of its plants, and developed a HACCP plan to identify and document critical control points within the entire laundry process from pickup to delivery.