Aloysius G. Pasion, Nestlé Market Food Safety Manager and Quality Pillar Leader, MENA speaks to Clean Middle East about the core cleaning and hygiene practices followed by Nestle Middle East.
With 25 factories in the region, what are the best practices in cleaning and hygiene at Nestlé? How are they maintained and standardized across all facilities?
At Nestlé, quality is an integral part of our Nestlé Corporate Business Principles. These principles guide our actions all over the world to deliver products and services that are safe, compliant and preferred by our consumers and customers. In line with our Nestlé Quality Policy, quality and food management systems and processes are put in place for offices and manufacturing facilities, to ensure food safety, regulatory and quality compliance across the value chain.
The Nestlé Quality Management System and Food Safety Management System are fully aligned with international standards ISO 9001:2008 (quality management system) and FSSC 22000 (food safety). Food safety and full compliance to regulations are non-negotiable at Nestlé. All Nestlé manufacturing sites are certified by third-party accredited certification bodies for food safety according to FSSC 22000 - the most well recognised food safety management standard. With several stringent, inbuilt controls to guarantee safety, from raw material selection through to processing and packaging, the company does more food testing than any other entity in the world, globally carrying out 100 million tests a year on its products.
Food safety and hygiene is a huge concern the world over. For a brand like Nestlé, what are the major touch points taken into consideration at your facilities?
Nestlé has a food safety management system wherein the heart of it is the HACCP program. Our release system (quality monitoring scheme) has the HACCP as a basis for the disposition of our products which also includes regulatory and nutritional requirements. Note that Quality and safety are non-negotiable priorities at Nestlé.
Tell us about the major areas that pose a challenge when it comes to cleaning at your facilities. How do you manage them?
Cleaning properly requires discipline in execution as procedures are in place. The challenge is the consistency of cleaning as done by each staff as it is subjective. Therefore, Nestlé implements visual standards to serve as a guide for them to have consistency in their cleaning.
Nestlé also implements a comprehensive pathogen monitoring plan that is executed to validate and verify the effectiveness of the cleaning activities in the environment, cleaning tools, process equipment and utilities aside from the product itself. This pathogen monitoring plan includes analysis for microbiological hygiene indicators and the significant pathogens of concern for food safety.
Does the cleaning process and product differ based on the product manufactured (solids, powders, liquids)?
Yes. Each cleaning activity for equipment is customized and the developed procedures go through a validation process. Depending on the complexity of the equipment, Nestlé has specific Clean-In Place (CIP) and Clean-Out-of-Place (COP) requirements that are complied with. It is mandatory that these requirements are met for each cleaning activity and each product category, and verification procedures are conducted to ensure effectiveness.
How important is hand hygiene in a food processing facility? What kind of training is given?
When entering the facility, hand washing is mandatory for everyone whether you are an employee, a visitor or a contractor. Moreover, visitors and contractors are provided hygiene induction training upon entry. Nestlé factories have state-ofthe-art hand washing facilities that help ensure proper hand washing. The subjects of hand washing, and disinfection are very important to Nestlé and always emphasized during training and coaching activities. In Nestlé sites, hand disinfectants are provided at entry points for each section of the manufacturing sites.
Awareness campaigns are also conducted using videos, signages and digital means across the factory. Nestlé also makes it a mandatory requirement to conduct Basic Food hygiene in its induction, routine and refresher training. For hygiene training, a refresher training is conducted at least every 2 years. Hygiene training is also part of the on-boarding process for new employees.
Overall, tell us about the training offered to Nestlé employees with regard to cleaning and hygiene? How frequent are these training sessions and who provides them?
Induction training for basic food hygiene is conducted to any new employee, visitor or contractor before they enter the facility. These trainings evolve every two years with new techniques and technologies used. Nestlé builds a quality culture that is embedded in the shop floor and verification processes are done frequently through internal audits.
What kind of products and technologies do you use in cleaning? What about during packaging? Is there any specific process followed?
Over the years, Nestlé has partnered with leading global solution providers with regards to cleaning chemicals that are used for equipment. We do understand that some equipment requires specific technologies and processes; with this Nestlé follows the supplier’s recommendation.
What futuristic technologies does Nestlé look forward to using? What are your short-term goals with regard to cleaning and hygiene?
Nestlé’s goals have always been ZERO defects and all our programs are aligned towards achieving this. Nestlé is open to technologies that will enhance the performance of our cleaning processes, but of course this will eventually go through a validation process before it is rolled-out. (ISO 22000).
In the Middle East, our food manufacturing facility in Dubai TechnoPark received the Dubai Municipality Food Safety Award for large scale manufacturing in 2011 and 2012, and the Environment, Health and Safety Trakhees Food Safety Award for manufacturing and logistics in 2014. Regulatory authorities such as DM, Trakhees, ESMA have also been using TechnoPark factory as a benchmark for best practices in Hygiene and Food Safety.