TRSA--a textile service industry association--has developed a certification program for laundries serving the food manufacturing and processing sectors. The Hygienically Clean Food Safety program will emphasize best practices for laundry processes and quality control practices verified through facility inspection and microbial testing of reusable textiles.

Laundry practices 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.

TRSA conducts an initial inspection to evaluate a laundry 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 and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directives.

At the time of the initial inspection, monthly bacteriological testing begins. 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 3 months and the plant must pass inspections every 3 years to maintain certification.

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.”

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