This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:
|BRCGS Food Safety Issue 8||4.9.4 Products packed into glass or other brittle containers|
|BRCGS Packaging Issue 6||No specific clauses, even for sites making glass containers|
|BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3||Not applicable|
|BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 4||Not applicable|
|FSSC22000 Version 5.1||No specific clauses|
|IFS Food Version 7||4.12.7 Glass containers|
|SQF Edition 9||No specific clauses|
Glass, ceramic and brittle materials used in the make-up of the finished product, must be controlled to ensure that they don’t contaminate the final consumer product.
This isn’t to be confused with the control of glass and brittle materials, which solely looks at brittle materials in the processing facility.
The aim of this section is to ensure that the processing area is kept clear of broken glass, ceramics and brittle containers, to prevent product contamination.
There must be a procedure in place, which controls the use and breakage of containers. This must include:
- Identification of the area where the product is at-risk.
- Breakage procedure.
- Cleaning equipment.
Empty containers must be segregated from the storage of other materials. The area must be located to minimise the risk of broken fragments being carried into other areas, by the movement of equipment.
A procedure must be in place to manage container breakages, which includes how to handle at-risk materials and that the area must be inspected prior to restarting.
Cleaning equipment must be identifiable, so that it’s only used for cleaning container breakages. The methods used in cleaning must be designed to limit the spread of the contamination.
Records must be kept of container breakages, and all related information about the breakage must be documented. Where there hasn’t been a breakage, this must be positively confirmed at a set frequency.
Container breakages must be trended and then reviewed, to identify improvements to prevent future breakages.
Control of brittle containers
It’s widely understood that glass and ceramic containers need to be controlled, but don’t forget the brittle containers. This would include any CPET packaging or any acetates. It’s unlikely they’ll need a breakage procedure as they don’t shatter when dropped, but they’re known to break and cause contamination of other containers. For example, the edges tend to break and drop into the next container. So if you use this type of packaging, think about the controls you have in place for this type of breakage. It’s a good idea to log broken pieces, so that they can be trended.
Control of containers at packaging manufacturers
Interestingly, only the BRCGS Food Standard asks for control of containers. If you produce the containers though, you don’t need to control them – or at least there isn’t any specific requirements for it. The manufacturer would be expected to include it in their Product Safety Plan.
This means that in theory, a manufacturer of glass jars has to have a breakage procedure for a light in the production area (which is high up and unlikely to break), but no breakage procedure for when glass containers are broken on the line (which happens all the time).
Makes sense…not really!