Clothing in the food industry: what we are up against

When talking about the food sector, every detail is important. Any person who works in contact with food must have the necessary knowledge to carry out the correct handling practices, as well as observe the hygiene norms. Therefore, the work clothes of a food handler are a fundamental aspect to consider. 

But what is a food handler? According to the la RAE (Royal Spanish Academy), a food handler is a person who, due to his work activity, has direct contact with food during its preparation, manufacture, transformation, preparation, packaging, storage, transport, distribution, sale, supply and service.

Thus, the Rieusset team is in this group, since for over 150 years now we have been dedicated to making labels and flexible packaging for the food sector. Concretely, nowadays 38% of our total production of labels and flexible packaging is in this sector, of which 31% is flexible packaging for ice cream, cookies, chocolate and pastry; and the remaining 7% is labels and sleeves for dairy products, cheese and juices. 

This factor already obligates us by regulation to follow a strict safety and hygiene protocol in our production, and consequently, for many years our factory personnel has been wearing clothing and following specific regulations to safeguard all the protection required in this industry.

What norm are we talking about? 

Keeping the BRC-Packaging and ISO 22000 standards in mind, for which Rieusset is certified, the entire team pays special attention to the use and maintenance of our work clothes in order to minimize the risk of product contamination.

Some of the implemented regulations are: 

1. Washing work clothes at least once a week, following the manufacturer’s instructions for each item, if possible in separate loads.

2. The laundry products must be neutral detergents and softeners. 

3. Safety shoes must be kept clean and in good condition.

4. The level of cleanliness and general condition of the work clothes is supervised by the persons in charge of each area.

5. Work clothes must always be protected during transportation from the worker’s home to Rieusset. For this reason, an exclusive plastic bag with zipper (supplied by the company) is to be used to transport the clean clothes.

6. Workwear may only be used for work, and manipulating it in any way is not allowed. 

7. Workers must enter the premises wearing street clothes and each worker must change in the changing rooms. The lockers have a double compartment, so that work clothes can be kept separate from street clothes. 

8. Pre-printing clothes are to be left in a specially designated container in the changing rooms, so that they may be washed in an external laundry facility.

9. Disposable protection garments are eliminated at the end of each workday or visit. The Human Resources Department keeps a record of these garments, to ensure that these are always available.  

10. Staff that is not directly implicated in production, as well as external visiting staff, must enter these areas wearing lab coats or work clothes, caps or hair nets and safety shoes. Likewise, clothes and shoes must be changed again when leaving the premises.  

Rieusset lockers with double compartment

In addition to garments, there are other hygienic-sanitary practices to consider and which the entire Rieusset team is very mindful of. Three of these are: 

1. Before starting work, all professionals take off rings, chains or necklaces, earrings, watches, bracelets, as well as any other hanging ornaments.

2. Hair must always be kept covered by a cap/net.

3. We must wash our hands with hydro-alcohol lotion and/or soap and water frequently: before starting work, after using the bathroom, after eating and/or smoking, etc.

Without any doubt, hygiene accidents come at a high cost to any company, wherefore the only way to avoid these is by implementing sound hygienic practices and complying with these. For this reason, the entire Rieusset team rigorously observes these regulations. 

Without forgetting the regulations … we have updated our uniforms! 

This year 2020 is turning out to be a year full of changes, challenges, etc., as a consequence of the atypical situation in which people all around the world are living due to Covid-19. But also, in the meantime, the Rieusset team has a reason for celebrating, since we have completed 150 years of history

Thus, at the beginning of 2020 we decided to implement some corporate changes to our uniformity. Would you like to know what they are? 

The first one of these consists of using the slogan of our “Stand Out” campaign on the back of our lab coats with the text “150 anys destacant”, una empresa de Gerosa Group (“150 years standing out” a company of the Gerosa Group); while the second one consists of introducing a color code that distinguishes the lab coats by color depending on the different work areas (turquoise for production staff; grey for maintenance; uniforms with reflective stripes for warehouse staff, etc.). 

What do you think of these changes?