Why 5S and Color-Coding is Important in the Food Industry

Why 5S and Color-Coding is Important in the Food Industry

Look around for a moment - chances are you can see how 5S principles would benefit any organization. From the front doors at your place of business to the shelves in your stock department, when items are inappropriate locations, at a glance -  organized, safe, and clean spaces are created.

5S in the food industry is especially beneficial by allowing workers to cut food safety risks for consumers. With visual tool displays, you can combat cross-contamination.

5S is more than what some people call, ‘a fancy housekeeping tactic,’ as it creates continuous improvement – which is critical for the food industry – since clean zones are mandatory for safe production.

With the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of our food safety laws in more than 70 years, utilizing 5S principles are even more critical to ensure food is of the best quality and safe to consume.

Additionally, per FSMA, food facilities are to have a food safety plan in place that includes an analysis of hazards and risk-based preventive controls to minimize or prevent hazards. Reinforce the 5S and color-coding methodology with safe behaviors, sanitized environments, and practices.

Here is an example of what color-coding looks like:

Here’s the breakdown of 5S Practices for the food industry:

  • Sort – This is the process of removing everything that is not needed in the area. Go through everything that isn’t frequently used or needed in the immediate area and move it out. Going through every nook and cranny in the area and labeling or putting red tags on items that need to be moved or thrown out is the easiest way to sort.
  • Set in Order – This is the step that generally takes the longest but is the most impactful. The goal is to increase efficiency in the work environment. Cut the chances for cross-contamination between raw and finish products with the organization. Organizing items logically together with like items prevents food-contact with non-food-contact items. Incorporating color-coded tools and visual boards will keep the appropriate zones separated.
  • Shine – At this step tools, machinery, and the work area should be completely cleaned. Provide an atmosphere where your workers can use cleaning as a way to inspect the 5S process. Keeping the area thoroughly cleaned and sanitized helps prevent the spread of fool illness and contamination – especially when cross-contaminated with cooked and raw meat can occur.
  • Standardize – With this step, you can set clear, visible methods for how the area should situate. Take notes of what works and what doesn’t. Conduct a 5S audit to find solutions for inconsistent or inefficient processes or steps. With everyone in the business working toward the same goal – continuous improvement and sanitized work environments –the process should start to feel natural.
  • Sustain – Conduct daily checks to ensure the above steps are routinely followed through. Sustain requires repetition, diligence, and accountability until it becomes a daily habit that’s embedded in the culture.

With 5S principles utilized in your food processing plant – you keep the integrity of your brand, the quality of your product, and the health and safety of others at the top of your mission.

At the 5S Store, we offer stock and custom color-coded tool shadow boards. Contact us today!

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