Edited by Jeremy Russell

March 19, 2001



By Steve Sayer, SNR Consulting


In today’s prophylactic food processing environment, it’s imperative that your maintenance personnel be partners and participants in your company’s HACCP, SSOP and Quality Control systems. Having a preventive maintenance system to document and verify equipment reliability and other critical areas is a fundamental building-block of a successful HACCP program. It should be an etched-in-stone prerequisite that all maintenance personnel attend accredited HACCP, SSOP and GMP seminars. Procedures to verify sanitary conditions are a must, and a proactive maintenance department will help to preclude many NRs.


Ponder this for a moment:  What negative impacts can maintenance workers and inculpable outside sub-contractors have on your plant or products?  Aberrant maintenance workers can cause any and all of the following misfortunes:


Chemical Hazards


Physical Hazards


Biological Hazards


The catchall antidote is to institute a Maintenance Sanitation Operation System (MSOS) tailored to your company’s distinct needs. The foundation of such a system could be comprised of your company’s already established GMPs. But the MSOS should emphasize both worker and product safety, maintaining “HACCP integrity” of product contact surfaces. To function, the MSOS should be both living and variegated, and it should include accountability and verification practices. In general any new MSOS would include:



The objective of an MSOS is to maintain a perpetually safe, clean and trouble-free environment, while accommodating company policies and procedures, including those imposed by regulatory agencies. Only if top management provides continuous support can these very rigorous objective be met. Teamwork is the name of the game here. Any company that bases its policies and procedures on commitment and pragmatism, rather than merely reacting to regulatory consequences and their negative residual side effects, will always fulfill and often exceed its goals. Ultimately, such a commitment will result in a safe, clean and reliable workplace.


SNR Consulting offers consulting in HACCP, SSOPs, GMPs, food safety and EPA regulations. Contact Steve Sayer at (323) 377-7949.