We’ve heard unique cleaning challenges from all types of facilities - residential and commercial buildings, hospitals, airports and hotels. But the challenges at food manufacturing units hit an entirely different level! So this month, we headed straight to the multinational food manufacturing food, snack, and beverage giant - PepsiCo to understand how they have successfully tackled these challenges for decades.
PepsiCo has adopted strict corporate standards that govern their operations and ensure accountability for their actions. In addition to globally established protocols, they have developed and are maintaining robust food safety programs to assure safety for every package, every day in every market and have detailed internal programs and procedures for food safety.
At the corporate level, PepsiCo has developed a Global Sanitation Program with Standard Operating Procedures detailing step-by-step practices for employees & plant staff to follow. This includes a list of approved materials & designated equipment to mitigate the chemical, physical and biological hazards.
PepsiCo has also invested heavily in advanced technology like satellite cleaning units, cleaning in place systems, motorized floor scrubbers and steam cleaning equipment that improve accessibility, optimize water and chemical consumption, and make operations more efficient & sustainable. It has strict personal hygiene programs in place to mitigate food safety risks including awareness-building mechanisms, hand washing stations and sole cleaners at all plant entrances. All these efforts help PepsiCo work towards producing the safest, highest-quality and best-tasting products in every part of the world.
“At PepsiCo, we follow globally recognized standards to ensure that food safety and hygiene are prioritized over everything else. This is in addition to PepsiCo specific programs and local government regulations that allow us to localize concerns and mitigate specific risks.
We have an excellent track record in delivering safe products - this work is guided by the PepsiCo Food Safety Policy. Our efforts are focused on building a sustainable food safety program and providing the framework to develop and sustain food safety of existing brands and new innovations. The scope covers the design, manufacture, and distribution of food products. Our programs and procedures apply to all current and future divisions in PepsiCo.
PepsiCo quality professionals assess product compliance to PepsiCo's Quality Policy. Our quality agenda is led by quality professionals who oversee food safety, innovation (R&D), manufacturing quality, co-manufacturing quality, supplier quality and plant quality.
We are implementing globally recognized food safety systems including the Food Safety System Certification FSSC22000, American Institute of Bakery (AIB), and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) that made it mandatory to conduct comprehensive risk assessments at all stages of production and determine assess the effectiveness of mitigation controls, which serves as a cornerstone in ensuring our adherence to quality & safety standards,” says Rami Amawi, National Quality and Food Safety, Senior Manager, PepsiCo, Saudi Arabia.
Cleaning is somewhat of an art! The complexity of the plant layout, particularly high ceilings, confined spaces, and high storage racks among other things as well as advanced automation that requires various parts to be attended to, make cleaning quite challenging. Cleaning the equipment meticulously and efficiently is not only important from a safety and hygiene point of view, it's essential to ensuring that operations run smoothly and efficiently.
PepsiCo has implemented a variety of measures to combat these challenges including adhering to world class systems like Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) and strict deployment of the sanitation SOPs. They also continually train operators on the best cleaning practices and invest heavily in advanced technologies and equipment that help us overcome specific challenges such as high altitude vacuum machines, Mobile Elevated Work Platforms (MEWP), telescopic cleaning tools, high pressure cleaners, and cleaning in place equipment and use the best approved materials to guarantee the best outcomes.
All systems and practices are subject to internal and external audits by food safety professionals and international certification bodies that identify areas for continual improvement.
The most challenging food to process (in terms of hygiene)
All products entail a specialized packaging process that is carefully developed to ensure products are fit to be consumed by consumers. However, potato chips processing often proves to be the most challenging from a hygiene point of view. The freshness of the product needs to be maintained while simultaneously ensuring that potatoes are cleaned properly once they arrive from the farms. There are various players involved in the process. The initial cleaning is undertaken by the supplier, after which PepsiCo uses specialized cleaning and washing machines that can handle the toughest type of soil and other foreign matter.
“In addition to this, cleaning processes vary greatly based on the type of product. We have different equipment designed to handle specific requirements for different categories of product including fryers, boil-outs, conveyors CIPs, as well as deep and red-line cleaning,” says Rami.
Hygiene training for the PepsiCo staff
All cleaning and maintenance is carried out by PepsiCo trained staff. Comprehensive training programs are in place to build workforce competencies. This starts with Food Safety and GMP orientation training for everyone followed by detailed sanitation training for cleaning staff. These trainings are given to employees upon hiring and are refreshed annually by authorized trainers qualified at every plant called Site Expert Trainers (SETs).
“In addition to technical support, our chemical and equipment suppliers play an active role in introducing new innovations, materials and technologies and keep us up to date with advancements in the field,” concludes Rami
While PepsiCo is keeping an eye on all developments in the field at the local, regional and global level, their focus this year with regards to cleaning is to increase the automation level when it comes to cleaning by expanding CIP systems and covering specific points in the process lines.