Based on member demand, TRSA, the textile services industry’s leading association, has developed a certification program for laundries serving the food manufacturing/processing sectors, announced President & CEO Joseph Ricci at the recent American Reusable Textile Association (ARTA) Education Conference in Orlando.
Developed from TRSA’s Hygienically Clean for Healthcare, the new Hygienically Clean Food Safety program emphasizes best practices for laundry processes and quality control practices verified through facility inspection and microbial testing of reusable textiles.
Laundry practices to be verified include washing procedures (detergent formulas, temperature, disinfectant, pH, extraction), drying, garment inspection and transportation. A certified laundry plant must follow an operational flowchart that maps these procedures as well as pickup, unloading and sorting of soiled items and sorting of clean laundry. Employees’ use of personal protective equipment must be documented.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) practices will be examined, including the plant’s procedures for: conducting hazard analysis; determining CCPs, monitoring their control and correcting them if not under control; validating and verifying HACCP system effectiveness and documenting and record-keeping to show ongoing conformance.
TRSA will conduct an initial inspection to evaluate a plant’s HACCP procedures, compliance with its flowchart and other practices relevant to handling and processing textile products used in food manufacturing/processing establishments. These include adherence to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) directives.
At the same time, monthly bacteriological testing will begin. Certification is awarded when the plant passes inspection and three consecutive months of testing result in no failures based on TRSA microbiological performance specifications.
Such test results must be replicated every six months and the plant must pass inspections every three years to maintain certification.
TRSA’s Hygienically Clean remains the fastest growing certification for textile services companies in North America and will likely retain this distinction in coming months, with 30 U.S. and Canadian laundry facilities certified during the program’s first year and another 30 such plants currently being tested, verified and inspected. Premiering in 2013, Hygienically Clean was the first certification in the United States to establish measurable microbial limits for laundered textiles.
The testing protocol has prompted launderers to improve their processes as plants adjust their practices to meet the TRSA standard and produce the cleanest textiles for increased public safety.
“Hygienically Clean provides a quantitative measure that ensures ongoing adherence to best practices and outcomes based on internationally recognized, proven and accepted testing for bio-contamination,” Ricci stated. “Our emphasis is on quantifying the results that various technical approaches achieve. TRSA does not mandate laundry practices but evaluates the effectiveness of the techniques that a laundry chooses to deploy.”
In addition to Hygienically Clean, TRSA also administers the Clean Green and Certified Professional Laundry Manager (CPLM) programs and provides professional development, compliance and training resources to commercial and large central laundries worldwide. Hygienically Clean is governed by commercial laundry owner-operators, senior executives and healthcare professionals, as well as a Hygienically Clean Users Group. TRSA has submitted this program for adoption as an ASTM International standard.