Avoiding glass contamination in food

How to prevent and manage glass contamination

Glass contamination in your product is considered to be a major food safety hazard. The best option is to avoid glass contamination from occurring in the first place. This however may not always be practical, so we need to implement minimization procedures. Read on to find out how to set-up a glass contamination avoidance program in your food business.

Avoiding glass contamination

A glass management program is a documented system that outlines the identification, prevention, minimization, response, inspection and verification procedures that will be implemented in your food business. The sole purpose and focus is to avoid your food product being contaminated with glass. Your glass management program should provide information on how your food business is going to:

  • Identify glass and glass contamination
  • Prevent and minimize potential contamination
  • Respond to glass breakages and product contaminated with glass
  • Verify that your system is implemented and effective

Let’s look further into these areas.

List of glass items

If you don’t know, you can’t prevent. Understand where glass items are located within your business and the risk that they pose. Glass is commonly found in raw material packaging, viewing windows, equipment screens, measuring devices, instrument screens dials, facility lighting and clock faces. You can then list the items and areas in a glass register.  I have previously written a post on “how to document your glass register”.

Prevent or minimize

There are lots of different ways to prevent or minimize the potential for glass contamination. Examples can include zero tolerance, inspections, light covers, film barriers, and segregated storage of glass items. Incoming goods can also be screened or filtered prior to use.

Corrective action procedures

If you unfortunately have a glass breakage or contamination issue, you need to have a procedure for dealing with the issue. Procedures for corrective action, clean-up and product quarantine are essential.

Inspection of condition

Once you know where your glass items are located, you can implement an integrity checking program. Check to see that the glass item is intact and there have been no breakages. These checks can be undertaken on a routine basis (depending on risk) or part of your daily pre-operation checks.

Evidence for verification

One way that you can evidence the development and implementation of your glass contamination avoidance program is through record keeping. If you are certified against a GFSI accredited standard, this will be a requirement. Common records can include inspection checks, breakages, identification and location of glass items, customer complaints, non-conformances and corrective action with root cause analysis.

A word on packaging

If your food business packs product into glass, extra caution is required.  Glass breakage and cleaning procedures will need to be detailed to ensure that any broken glass is not missed or left to fall into product at a later time.

Have your say

Do you have a glass management program in place? How often do you check glass items? Have you considered the potential for glass contamination as part of the hazard analysis process? Share your experience with the HACCP Mentor community by leaving a comment below.


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