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Product Contamination – How to protect your product !

Supplier: Packserv
11 January, 2008

This month’s newsletter focuses on starting 2008 on the right path with some critical information on safety standards, in particular the vital information you need to protect your product from cross contamination from packaging equipment. Whether you are hiring equipment or purchasing second hand you need to be offered certain, specific guarantees from your supplier in order to adequately protect your product, your brand reputation and most importantly the consumer.

Packserv encourages its clients, particularly manufacturers to be aware of and take an active part in policing the preparation of packaging machinery before use for themselves.

Cross contamination affects mainly the “wet-parts” accompanying “filling” machines. A Filling machine is basically the mechanical assembly of the unit and the wet-parts are the steel parts that are bolted onto the filling machine that the product runs through, hence the actual filling machine itself doesn’t normally come in contact with the product (*see exception to this rule below) but the wet-parts do, wet-parts are commonly referred to as the hopper, inlet, valve and goose neck.

All fills/products manufactured in the industrial sector (such as automotive, cleaning products, solvents) consist of ingredients that are of such a nature that the wet-parts used are not suitable to be interchanged at a later date with products manufactured in the food, pharmaceutical, health & beauty, veterinary and personal care industries.

Like –wise there are also fills/products in the pharmaceutical category or any above-mentioned category that are not suitable for food manufacturers or other industries. It is imperative to protect the purity of your product by having the right knowledge to equip you in your enquiry relating to the work/hire history (or log records) of the machine and wet-parts you are hiring, always check what products have previously been used before you commit to the hire.

Your supplier of packaging equipment should have a log of where each wet-part has been, its application and with what product (including the product’s complete set of ingredients) those wet-parts have come into contact with.You will also gain valuable understanding by asking these questions as to the suitability of the wet-parts for your fill.

At Packserv wet-parts remain with the same machine & are marked individually for specific applications, both the machine and wet-parts are categorised into specific applications so that cross contamination cannot occur. Packserv takes safety extremely seriously and therefore treats the machine assembly in the same way as the wet-parts.

We keep a log/hire history of where the machine and parts have been as well as what product (& ingredients) it has been in contact with, any interchangeable parts get put into another separate inventory for very specific categorisation. It is Packserv’s policy to categorise and log all machines and parts, unlike some operators in the marketplace Packserv does not allow its machines and parts to cross into mixed industries and applications.

If we do not have a machine or the wet-parts suitable for an application we purchase direct from the manufacturer so that we ensure we do not compromise our clients’ products or the safety of the consumers. The machines and wet-parts from Packserv are cleaned and checked for product residue when returned but we always recommend that the client also undergo a sanitary flush on the machine and wet-parts before use.

For those manufacturers ready to own their own equipment Packserv always recommends buying the equipment new from the manufacturer, when you do obtain your machine and wet-parts also bear in mind that during the manufacturing process the machine and the wet-parts have come into contact with cooling and machining solutions in that preparation (e.g. cutting solutions are used on the lathe), and you

still need to prepare the parts appropriately by using a sanitary flush or preparatory solution before you begin your fill. Should you be purchasing equipment second hand be very cautious, you should ask for a written log/history of the machine’s applications and should not trust that the wet-parts are safe even if they look clean, Packserv recommends that you should purchase the wet-parts direct from the machine manufacturer as you can guarantee that the wet-parts have not been contaminated and are new, this is still a cost effective solution.

How to Best Protect Your Product When Hiring Filling Machines

Always run a sanitary/ disinfectant flush or preparatory solution applicable to your application and prepare the machinery in a manner required by your industry’s safety standards regardless of the machinery cleanliness upon delivery.

Always ask your supplier for a history or log of applications that the wet-parts have been applied to, never accept wet-parts if your supplier cannot provide you with the information required, and never accept wet-parts that have been used for industrial purposes if your product is not classified industrial too (be careful with classifications, i.e. insect repellent may be classified “personal care” yet it contains harmful ingredients, if you are doing moisturiser which is under the same classification “personal care” -you do not want any residue ingredients contaminating your product).

If you feel you have not been provided with adequate information ask for a written guarantee from the supplier or change suppliers.

* Some filling machines are also not deemed safe if crossed with the unsuitable applications for example, a machine that is allocated to filling pesticides is unsafe for any application whether it be industrial or not, over time the rubber, plastic, steel and other assembly will be affected by the ingredients and will only be safe for filling pesticide product.

For further specs, information and pictures of our equipment and services please visit www.packserv.com.au