Adult Care in Nursing Homes


Nursing homes are a vital resource for elderly people who are no longer able to take care of themselves. In the future, the demand for long-term care organizations will likely increase as baby boomers begin to require these services. According to data from Family Caregiver Alliance, the number of elderly people using long-term care services will reach 27 million by 2050, more than twice the number of individuals using these services in 2000. The organization also noted people older than 85 are among the fastest-growing segments of the population and are expected to reach 19 million by 2050.

Elderly care facilities are large operations that require a significant amount of disposable gloves and other materials for staff to provide service to residents, making their needs in many ways similar to day care centers. They are self-contained living facilities that require staff to accommodate every element of care, from bathing to feeding. These facilities have nurses, janitors, foodservice staff and even landscapers who require gloves. Ongoing measures to improve quality of care in these facilities could also lead to an increase in staffing requirements, leading to the need for even more gloves on hand.

Wipes
Staff that clean and bathe elderly patients also require the right materials. AmmexCare Adult Washcloths may be used to wipe patients clean. These wipes are alcohol-free with Vitamin E and aloe to make them safer for use on sensitive skin.

“Initiatives to improve quality of care could increase staffing needs.”

Exam gloves
It is also important for staff in nursing homes to wear disposable gloves for most tasks. There is risk of spreading or contracting bloodborne pathogens, so staff dealing with patient cuts or wounds should wear exam-grade gloves. Staff should avoid powdered gloves in this environment because the powder can interfere with wound closure. AMMEX Nitrile Exam Gloves are a good option for staff. These gloves also come in several different colors, which can be helpful for organizational purposes. Companies can color code gloves by size so all staff can quickly find the gloves they need.

Other glove needs
There are many moving parts in a nursing home facility. While nurses and physicians bathe and examine patients, the cafeteria workers are busy preparing meals, and janitors may be cleaning hallways, bathrooms or dining areas. All of these employees require disposable gloves as barrier protection. Cafeteria workers need to wear gloves to prevent the spread of foodborne illness, while janitorial workers need to protect themselves from cleaning chemicals and bloodborne pathogens. Landscapers also require a barrier to protect themselves from lawn and garden chemicals.

Nursing homes require disposable gloves on hand for many different applications. Contact us or your AMMEX representative to learn more about glove needs in elderly care facilities.

AMMEXAdult Care in Nursing Homes
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AMMEX Gloves Used in Agricultural Industry


In the agricultural industry, workers are involved in a number of tasks where gloves serve as a protective barrier. These duties include working with livestock, handling chemicals such a herbicides and disinfectants and dealing with contaminated soil.

With regard to herbicides and insecticides, there are hundreds of varieties that are used in agriculture, each with chemicals that can be harmful to humans. Furthermore, it is important that personal protective equipment is used to reduce or eliminate exposure to these chemicals.

In the dairy farming sector, glove use has become more common in recent years. Gloves help prevent the spread of bacteria, which is key for dairy farming, as a sick animal is unproductive until it can be brought back to health.

There are various zoonotic diseases, which are those transmitted from animals to humans. One example is brucellosis, a disease that is caused by a bacteria known as brucella and primarily affects animals. However, humans can contract brucellosis if they come in contact with infected animals or animal products. Additionally, livestock handlers need to ensure they are not passing diseases from infected animals to healthy animals.

Workers also need protection when repairing and maintaining their fleet equipment. Whether tractors or combine harvesters, the machines contain chemicals that can cause health issues if they get onto a worker’s hands and absorb through the skin.

With these risks, agricultural employees need a glove that can stand up to harsh chemicals and bacteria.

Nitrile and latex gloves for chemicals and pesticides
Agriculture is currently trending toward lighter weight nitrile gloves which offer durability and chemical and pesticide resistance at a competitive price.

Nitrile, a synthetic rubber, provides the best overall chemical resistance. Agricultural workers who spend their days spraying pesticides on crops have the risk that they could get the chemicals on their hands which could be absorbed through the skin. Nitrile gloves provide protection that will not easily break down when it comes into contact with harsh chemicals. This protection is also beneficial for guarding against the many fluids that workers can come into contact with while they are performing maintenance on vehicles.

Latex gloves are the second most-common glove in agriculture. These gloves are also donned when workers are dealing with pesticide residues. When handling plants and plant products, workers use latex gloves to protect themselves even if there are not visible signs of pesticides.

While latex previously was the most-used glove type in agriculture, nitrile gloves have become more popular.

Vinyl gloves for tending livestock
When it comes to tending livestock, vinyl gloves are a more suitable option compared to other glove materials, particularly for tasks that require several glove changes in a short time. Vinyl is an inexpensive material that is perfect for short-duration tasks as workers move from animal to animal to prevent cross contamination. Vinyl gloves are common in breeding applications.

Regardless of the application, it is important to remember gloves are not solely for safeguarding workers and livestock. They also protect government and private inspectors. These parties should also don the appropriate gloves to guard themselves and livestock they inspect and ensure the integrity of agricultural facilities.

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The Trend Toward Ecommerce


The business world has changed significantly over the past decade. Ecommerce is now a crucial part of the economy, and companies that do not have an online presence will suffer. According to data from research firm eMarketer, ecommerce in the U.S. is expected to grow 14.2 percent in 2015, accounting for 7 percent of total retail sales and reaching a total of $349 billion in sales. As the years go on, online revenue will continue to take a bite out of overall retail sales. AMMEX took the right steps to stay on top of the ecommerce trend, remain ahead of the curve and helps its customers do the same. In addition to embracing ecommerce, AMMEX developed digital marketing resources to increase Web traffic and engage with customers.

Remain competitive with ecommerce

In 2015, having an ecommerce platform is crucial to maintaining a successful business. Customers expect to be able to purchase items online. They are unlikely to work with a vendor that does not provide an ecommerce solution, especially if another local vendor does allow online sales.While there will always be a place for in-store sales, customers enjoy the flexibility of online shopping. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Total Retail Survey, nearly half of respondents indicated they like being able to go online whenever they want: day or night.In addition, 27 percent say they shop online because a wider variety of products are available. These days, it is common for businesses to have more inventory available online than in their physical locations. A big-box chain may have 900,000 SKUs available on its Web store. This means all mid-sized distributors that maintain traditional stores need to also have an online site to remain competitive.

Support ecommerce with digital marketing
Many companies fail to adapt to a changing marketplace and perform badly as a result. Just think about how Kodak failed to understand customers’ interest in digital cameras and continued to invest in analog film. Despite being the first company to invent a digital camera, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2012. In contrast, AMMEX recognized early on the need to develop a robust online presence. As a multinational corporation with offices that span the globe, it was necessary for AMMEX to invest in digital solutions. As a result, AMMEX has been named one of the fastest growing companies by both Puget Sound Business Journal and Inc. magazine.

Distributors that partner with AMMEX have the benefit of working with a forward-thinking supplier. AMMEX recognizes the need to support online sales with digital marketing. AMMEX leverages marketing support as a key differentiator. With the shift toward online stores and ecommerce spaces, AMMEX embraces digital marketing.

 “Digital marketing engages customers and earns their trust.” 

Along with the availability of an online store, digital marketing programs are also an important way to keep customers engaged and earn their trust. According to PwC, 56 percent of customers research a purchase by using a search engine. Moreover, customers regularly turn to social media, especially Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to learn more about companies and their products.

For this reason, AMMEX developed digital marketing assets, which distributors use as a resource when developing their own campaigns. AMMEX provides educational videos, a blog and social channels to educate potential customers and lead them to make a purchase online.

Whether or not customers choose to make a final purchase online, the Internet figures heavily into their decision-making process. It is important for all businesses to have an online presence bolstered heavily by digital marketing efforts such as search engine optimization, social media or email campaigns. AMMEX develops resources to support distributors and help them get started with digital marketing to bring in more customers. AMMEX embraced the digital revolution head on. It is the company’s mission to help customers do the same.

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Upgrading the Sales Pitch with Digital Content


Digital channels supplement traditional marketing efforts by providing more ways to move leads down the sales funnel. This digital content not only offers a direct way to educate consumers about products and services but is also useful for a sales pitch while representatives speak with prospective clients.

Using digital content aids in lead nurturing, which involves communicating with leads throughout the sales process and educating them toward a well-informed purchase. AMMEX takes significant steps to remain at the front of the industry in regard to digital marketing and produces comprehensive and shareable content to nurture leads and close more sales.

Here is a look at why digital marketing and content are important and how AMMEX utilizes these tools during the sales pitch:

Why digital marketing matters
Building an online presence is more crucial than ever. Consumers spend more time on the Internet, so it only makes sense marketing efforts would shift in that direction. In fact, adults in the U.S. devote 11 hours per day to digital media, according to a Nielsen report. Whether it is social media, shopping or other purposes, consumers like to surf the Web.

But this does not mean digital marketing benefits only business-to-consumer sales. Online ads, videos and additional strategies also help move business-to-business leads down the sales funnel.

“AMMEX’s blog provides a large library of articles and infographics.”

Where content comes in
Content is a key aspect of digital marketing—so much so that marketing departments put increasing shares of their budgets toward building sizable libraries of videos, blogs posts and more. A poll from Smart Insights revealed most respondents felt content is the digital marketing tool that drives the biggest return on investment.

In addition to driving website traffic, content also improves engagement. Leads may start a conversation with a business through a comment thread on a blog post or share a product video via social media. In either case, the brand has more opportunities to interact with prospective business, and these scenarios are not limited to just online interactions.

How content works with lead nurturing
AMMEX sells a commoditized product, so driving leads toward a purchase is crucial. The AMMEX blog provides a large library of articles and infographics to help current and prospective clients get up to speed on their disposable gloves knowledge so they understand which product best fit their needs and why AMMEX’s lineup is the right choice for them.

However, this information does not solely have a passive place on the blog or move through only social media sharing. AMMEX sales representatives actively utilize the content during their sales pitches. With a wealth of key facts and statistics about AMMEX products at their fingertips, reps are able to quickly locate reference material to address questions, correct misconceptions about the products and overcome objections.

Even if a lead is at the top of the sales funnel, this nurturing step ensures decision-makers keep AMMEX top of mind when they are ready to close. While the competition may offer the same products at a similar quality, utilizing content means AMMEX gains an advantage with more than price—leads remember the vendor that provided helpful information in their purchase decisions. Reps may also direct leads to the blog for continued reading—and nurturing—after a call.

“Digital content also aids in lead nurturing during sales calls.”

Creating a seamless buyer journey
These days, decision-makers do a lot of the research required for a purchase decision before they contact a representative. AMMEX provides the content they need to get started and further enhances that product knowledge during the pitch. These lead nurturing efforts are part of an omnichannel approach that encompasses both traditional and digital marketing to close more deals.

A Content Marketing Institute study showed 70 percent of B2B marketers produce more content compared to the previous year. However, only 35 percent have a documented strategy. AMMEX remains at the forefront of the industry with a solid plan for not only what content it will produce, but also how that content will impact both marketing and sales processes. Through this content plan—as part of a larger digital marketing strategy—AMMEX ensures leads move down the sales funnel and make the right purchases for their needs.

AMMEXUpgrading the Sales Pitch with Digital Content
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Disposable Gloves Star in Summer Blockbusters


The summer always brings a slew of fun flicks and a good chance to escape into the air conditioning for a while. We enjoy a good movie here at AMMEX, but the silver screen is also an opportunity to share just how pervasive, not to mention exciting, disposable gloves are. Film narratives demonstrate how frequently people need to use disposable gloves. Across all industries (and genres), characters on screen need disposable gloves to carry out various tasks throughout the movie. Of course, since we happen to be in the glove business, we always wonder: If this movie were real, what gloves would the characters wear? Sit back, grab some popcorn and read on to learn what gloves characters would don in this summer’s top blockbusters.

Dinosaur movie
When dinosaurs are sick, what gloves do you wear?

Jurassic World

In “Jurassic World,” park employees are kept busy tending to the dinosaurs, which have as many needs as the average group of livestock, just with sharper teeth. The brontosauruses, T-Rexes and raptors need consistent care to maintain their health. As with any situation where workers deal with potentially sick animals, it is important to contain any possible pathogens so they do not spread to the rest of the herd. Widespread illness would disappoint the legions of visitors who came to the park to see live dinosaurs, although it may have prevented the mass escape of the dangerous beasts.

When working with animals that might carry harmful bacteria, employees need to use a protective barrier on their hands. This prevents workers from contracting a disease or spreading it between animals. You never know what kind of strange bacteria a dinosaur could transmit. Reptiles and amphibians are known to carry salmonella – a bacteria that is easily transmitted to humans – on their skin.

In this case, Jurassic World staff would probably wear vinyl gloves, disposing of them as they move between animals. As a relatively inexpensive material, vinyl is a smart choice for workers who have to change their gloves frequently. Considering how many dinosaurs these staff would treat in a day, the cost of gloves could add up quickly. With Jurassic World’s operating costs likely being high enough already, there is no reason to add a huge disposable glove cost to the bottom line.

Minions

Plenty of employees across the world need gloves to work with harsh chemicals, but we hope none of them are operating under a criminal mastermind, like the workers in “Minions,” the latest installment of the “Despicable Me” franchise released in mid-July. In “Minions,” America’s favorite tiny yellow henchmen finally get the origin story we have all been waiting for. The movie documents their relationship with their first super villain master, Scarlett Overkill. Anyone who has watched the Despicable Me movies knows the minions wear gloves, but what kind are they?

As minions, the little yellow guys have to work hard to support the endeavors of their super villain master, which involves building weapons, vehicles and more. It is hard to know whether the minions are as susceptible to chemicals as humans would be, but they do wear gloves.

If the minions work on vehicles, they probably wear nitrile gloves. Oil, gasoline and hydraulic fluids irritate skin and possibly even have a negative impact on health. Nitrile gloves are strong enough to protect the skin from these fluids, where gasoline causes latex to dissolve. Nitrile gloves also conform to the workers hands during use. The minions wear their gloves constantly, so they will be looking for superior comfort.

The nitrile gloves would also be a good choice for the minions’ other duties, like working in manufacturing facilities where they would need greater dexterity and protection from possible chemicals.

Boxing ring
Physicians don gloves to treat boxing injuries.

Southpaw

In “Southpaw,” a boxer tries to get his life back on track after disaster strikes his family. The most prominent gloves in this upcoming film are a pair of boxing gloves, but look closer and you may see disposable gloves in a supporting role. Boxing is a brutal sport, and the medics on the sidelines, known as ringside physicians, are some of its unsung heroes. To treat the boxers in between rounds, medical professionals need disposable gloves.

While Jake Gyllenhaal’s character is getting slammed in the ring on his road to redemption, the medics will don disposable gloves to clean any wounds he may have been obtained. The gloves form a protective barrier against bodily fluid contact. For this particular application, most medics would go with a latex exam glove for its comfortable fit and superior barrier protection. However, a physician with a latex allergy or sensitivity may opt for nitrile instead.

Disposable gloves are a necessity in many industries, helping to keep employees safe from chemicals and contaminants. Without gloves, these movies could have been disasters. From the boxing ring to the dinosaur pen and everywhere in between, look out for disposable gloves this summer – coming to a theater near you.

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Handy Equipment for Fireworks Manufacturing


Independence Day is just around the corner, which means Americans around the country will be preparing to watch fireworks displays to celebrate. While many enjoy this holiday tradition, some people may not know most fireworks are still manufactured by hand to reduce the risk of factory explosions. This is because automated machinery has the potential to create sparks that would ignite the explosives.

As sales are increasing it is a great time to talk about how fireworks are made and why the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) is necessary in facilities.

A brief history of fireworks
First invented in China more than 1,000 years ago, fireworks have come a long way from sparks to large-scale aerial displays. Although China is still the leading producer of fireworks, the U.S. is one of the largest fireworks consumers. Aerial fireworks are typically made in an external shell filled with black powder and connected to a fuse.

People first started experimenting with colored fireworks during the Italian Renaissance. Different chemical compounds, typically metal salts, are responsible for the various colors. Strontium and lithium make red; calcium chloride makes orange; sodium salts produce yellow; barium compounds create green; copper compounds and chloride make blue; mixing strontium and copper makes purple; and aluminum, titanium and magnesium produce silver. Blues may be more difficult to create than other colors.

“Fireworks have changed a lot in the past millennium.”

Appropriate gear for handling fireworks
Some of the metal salts used in fireworks may be carcinogenic to humans. AMMEX N95 Cone Masks reduce the inhalation of the dust from these chemicals when inserting them into the cone that will be lit. Most aerial fireworks are made up of a cardboard cone with an igniter at the base, a fuse and stars, the pellets that add the color. The way the stars are arranged determines the pattern.

Some of these chemical compounds cause chemical burns, which are a serious workplace hazard. Gloves should be worn to minimize skin exposure to dangerous chemicals. Latex and nitrile disposable gloves protect the hands from harmful materials used to create fireworks while providing dexterity that makes it easy to handle smaller parts.

All in all, facilities need to provide the right protective coverings to keep their employees safe. On that note, have a safe Fourth of July!

AMMEXHandy Equipment for Fireworks Manufacturing
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Not without Gloves: Specialty Chemicals


Specialty chemicals are produced to serve a specific function and may be composed of a single chemical or a blend. Specialty chemicals often have an influence on the end product in the manufacturing process and are commonly used in the oil industry, agriculture, electronics, construction and consumer goods, such as detergents, perfumes and paper items, according to Value Line. Because these blends vary depending on the application, specialty chemicals should always be handled with care, which means utilizing gloves and other personal protective equipment (PPE).

Compared to other chemicals, specialty chemicals are typically manufactured in a batch process rather than continuous, which results in a pure product, according to the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates. Each compound may have only one or two uses, which means companies need to understand the specific chemical compounds used in their processes to select the right gloves for the job. Here are some components of specialty chemicals and the appropriate gloves for handling them:

Iodine
Although iodine is elemental, compounds of this chemical often appear in specialty chemicals. Commonly used in medicines and animal feed supplements, iodine compounds may be considered specialty chemicals. Iodine is an essential nutrient, but too much exposure – 400 micrograms per day or more – has been linked to thyroid complications, according to Fox News. This condition may cause fatigue, depression and dry skin. Vinyl, nitrile and latex gloves all provide sufficient barrier protection when handling iodine.

Printing ink
Many printing inks contain carbon black, which is classified as a carcinogen. Ink is used for a variety of purposes, and overexposure may be risky. Latex and nitrile gloves protect the hands from printing ink.

Lubricants
Often found in the oil industry and automotive applications, lubricants contain mineral oils and may be carcinogenic. Nitrile gloves offer protection from this specialty chemical and are well suited for automotive applications because this glove material is highly puncture resistant and offers protection from many common engine chemicals. Latex gloves may not be suitable for automotive work because they are not resistant to petroleum-based chemicals.

Plastics
Petroleum and a variety of specialty chemicals are used to manufacture different types of plastics. Nitrile gloves are also recommended for handling petroleum of up to 100 percent.

This has been AMMEX’s “Not without gloves” series, where we have discussed hazardous chemicals and effective PPE for each. For more about chemical resistance and barrier protection, contact AMMEX today.

AMMEXNot without Gloves: Specialty Chemicals
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Baby Care Products for the Growing Market


Child care is a growing industry, and day care facilities need to have the right supplies on hand. With the high number of children in care arrangements, child care providers go through a substantial amount of disposable gloves, changing table paper, baby wipes, bibs and diaper disposal bags.

In 2014, 11 million children under five years old in the U.S. attended day care each week, according to research from Child​ CareAware of America. These children spend an average of 36 hours per week in day care. With the amount of time the average child spends in daycare before entering preschool, it is no surprise how many supplies these facilities go through.

This is particularly evident with diaper disposal bags, for example. Babies one to five months old go through eight to 10 diapers per day, totaling 870 diapers per month, according to New Kids Center. Although the number of diapers per day may slow after a child’s first year, the total is still significant. The average American baby will go through 6,500 to 10,000 diapers before reaching 30 months old. The significant diaper usage from small children supports the necessity for products that help day care workers handle diapers.

“Day care facilities need bibs, wipes and diaper disposable bags to provide a superior level of care.”

Having the right supplies on hand
Rolls of sanitary changing table paper help employees maintain a sanitary environment. Along with diapers, childcare facilities should be well-stocked with baby wipes. AMMEX’s baby wipes are alcohol free and contain Vitamin E and aloe, making them safer for use on sensitive skin . Because of the hours children spend in day care, facilities stock poly bibs on hand for meal times, which feature a crumb pocket to limit the mess.Disposable bibs are beneficial for facilities that care for a large number of children, as they reduce the amount of laundry loads per day.

Child care facilities represent a significant opportunity for distributors because they use these supplies every day and go through them quickly.

Disposable gloves for child care
One overlooked supply for child care facilities is vinyl gloves. Gloves are needed for a variety of applications, including changing diapers, food preparation and general cleaning. For diaper changing, AMMEX Stretch Synthetic Vinyl Exam Gloves are an excellent fit because they are medical grade, making them more effective barrier protection. AMMEX GlovePlus Vinyl Gloves are well-suited for food preparation and cleaning the facility. Vinyl gloves are looser fitting than nitrile or latex, which makes them easier to don and doff. These gloves are less expensive than other materials, which helps day care facilities save money on something they use multiple times per day.

As the demand for child care services increases, day care providers need to consider their supplies. These facilities need to have the right changing table paper, baby wipes, diaper disposal bags and gloves on hand to offer a high quality of care. Distributors should make the most of this growing market for disposables.

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Not without Gloves: Perchloroethylene


There are a number of things you shouldn’t touch without gloves, but AMMEX has you covered with superior barrier protection. Perchloroethylene is a non-flammable, colorless, volatile organic compound frequently used in dry cleaning applications. It is also known as tetrachloroethylene, PCE and PERC. While dry cleaning fabrics is the most common use for PERC, it is also used to manufacture other chemicals, such as chlorofluorocarbons, rubber coatings, insulating fluid or cooling gas for electrical transformers, solvent soaps, printing inks, adhesives, leather treatments and automotive cleaners, among others.

Employees may be exposed to PERC if they work in a facility that dry cleans, degreases metal, produces chemicals, manufactures textiles or coats rubber, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

How are employees exposed to PERC?
Although PERC is the most common solvent used in dry cleaning, it poses serious health risks to workers, especially if employees regularly breathe in vapors or their skin comes into contact with the substance. Exposure may immediately lead to dizziness, blistering or irritation of the skin. Over time, exposure may cause loss of coordination, memory loss and delayed reaction times. Some studies have indicated PERC leads to an increased risk for esophageal, cervical, kidney, liver, skin, lung and bladder cancer, as well as lymphoma and leukemia, although it is unclear if other risk factors affect this. Several organizations, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), have classified PERC as a probable human carcinogen. Employees with heart, liver, kidney or lung diseases are at a heightened risk of the effects of PERC.

Dry cleaning workers may be exposed to high levels of this chemical when loading dirty clothes to a machine because contaminated air is forced out. In addition, removing clothes before a cycle is finished, transferring items, cleaning lint traps and changing solvent filters exposes employees to PERC.

How employers combat PERC exposure
Although most PERC-related health problems are caused by inhalation, the chemical may cause irritation after direct contact with the skin. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration limits PERC exposure in the workplace. Over the course of eight hours, workers should be exposed to no more than 100 parts PERC per million (PPM). The maximum PPM is 300. In addition to these federally regulated limits, facilities need to have the right protective gear on hand.

Industrial-grade latex and nitrile gloves protect workers who handle PERC, and face masks should be used to minimize exposure. AMMEX N95 Cone Masks are rated N95 by NIOSH, ensuring a high level of protection for employees.

Stay tuned for our next installment on lacquer thinner.

AMMEXNot without Gloves: Perchloroethylene
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Global Trends in Food Processing


Food processing facilities follow the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) rules, but these food safety guidelines are the bare minimum facilities undertake to prevent contamination. In addition to HACCP, these facilities follow rules regarding high- and low-care (or high- and low-risk) areas.

High- and low-care areas establish physical barriers against contamination and relate to anything that creates a process, such as washing, salting and cooking. This not only applies to personal protective equipment (PPE), but also the facility itself. The regulations designate clear start and end points for different parts of the processing supply chain to prevent microbial growth and other types of contamination.

Here is an overview of how high- and low-care areas work:

What are high- and low-care areas?
When employing these guidelines, each facility has its own standards. However, one factor remains constant: As food products move further up the supply chain, the control standards become more strict. Essentially, as food goes from farm to table, it will move from low- to high-care areas.

“As food goes from farm to table, it will move from low- to high-care areas.”

As implied by the name, low-care areas require a lower standard of hygiene than high-care segments of a facility. Although food products in these areas may have contact with the environment, they are not at risk for additional contamination, according to Food Safety Magazine. Food processing steps to be completed in low-care areas include receiving, preparing and cooking food.

High-care areas have the utmost hygiene standards. Furthermore, these sections of the facility are temperature-controlled.

Before entering either of these areas, workers must change into the appropriate PPE at designated changing stations and wash their hands throughout the process. In the case of equipment moving between areas, these tools must undergo sanitation procedures.

How do facilities delineate high- and low-care areas?
Several factors establish the barriers between different sections of a food processing facility. These include installations and PPE, according to the British Retail Consortium’s Global Standards.

For the physical structure, a few features are present in both areas but more extensive in high-care sections: entrances; filtration systems to remove dust, microorganisms and airborne particles; and color coded floor markings. Color coding also applies to PPE, tools used for processing and appliances.

The physical segregation also includes transfer points. These are places in the facilities between low- and high-care areas where employees must complete certain steps to prevent contamination. Before workers or equipment pass from one area to the other, they must undergo the aforementioned hygiene and sanitation procedures in the transfer point. In some factories, employees cannot move between low- and high-care areas under any circumstances.

“As part of the segregation measures for low- and high-care areas, employees must wash their hands before moving from one area to the other.”

How do facilities establish a flow to prevent contamination?
Food processing plants have certain guidelines and layouts to further ensure activities in low-care areas do not affect high-care sections.

Drainage is one key concern. Any drainage systems in the facility must flow from a high-care area to a low-care area. This ensures no contaminates, such as blood from livestock, flow into a high-care section and come into contact with cooked foods.

Another aspect of flow is the cooking process. Because foods are raw when they begin cooking in a low-care area, BRC’s standards require double doors on cooking ovens for thorough segregation of cooked and uncooked food products. While some facilities use single-door ovens, they put additional sanitation measures in place to prevent contamination in lieu of a second physical barrier.

What is the global perspective?
More foods are processed now compared to previous years, which raises the chances that part of the supply chain takes place in another country. Not only does this refer to steps in the process, but it also applies to where the ingredients come from.

Different countries have varying degrees of regulation for food processing, and the U.S. has less intense rules compared to Europe and Asia. For instance, the European Union enforces good hygiene practices (GHP), which include extensive training to make certain food processing employees prevent contamination, in addition to HACCP. As shown through regulations regarding low- and high-care areas, HACCP, GHP and other food safety guidelines, increased scrutiny and care of food processing and food safety are growing globally.

AMMEXGlobal Trends in Food Processing
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