Consistency counts for hygiene management at Refresco
Headquartered in the Netherlands, Refresco is the world’s largest independent bottler of soft drinks, fruit juices and other beverages for retailers and A-brands throughout Europe and North America, currently operating 59 manufacturing sites in Europe, US, Canada and Mexico.
Vikan and its local distributor AGIS Industrie Service Viersen worked with Refresco quality management experts to implement a consistent, easy-to-use colour coding concept for the cleaning equipment used at the company’s four bottling plants in Germany – Herrath, Erftstadt, Calvörde and Grünsfeld.
High ambitions, close collaboration and site surveys
An effective, consistent and reliable hygiene regimen is crucial for the quality of Refresco products and services – as well as for customers’ willingness to rely on Refresco quality management and food safety capabilities. The company’s quality assurance experts are constantly in search of the best possible solutions.
Working closely with the technical team at Refresco, Vikan experts carried out comprehensive site surveys in each of the four Refresco bottling plants in Germany, aimed at identifying how to improve their current capabilities with cleaning equipment and procedures that are both food contact-compliant and cost-effective.
They also had to meet all the challenges encountered in operating environments that are extremely hygiene-sensitive, and where standards are getting steadily more stringent.
The choice fell on two specific solutions. Refresco decided to adopt Vikan Ultra Safe Technology (UST) cleaning equipment for use inside the bottle filling stations and where there is any risk of contact with products being bottled, because these provide the highest level of hygienic design – as laid out in the BRC v. 8 Global Standards for Food Safety (August 2018) and in the ISO/TS 22002-1:2009 (2013) Prerequisites programme on food safety. Vikan hygienic design principles cover everything from the materials used to the detailed hygienic design of the equipment, ensuring these are safe whenever used in contact with edible or potable substances, as well as being quicker and easier to clean and dry. Vikan Ultra Safe Technology is now widely considered the “gold standard” in brushware and other cleaning tools for use in the food and beverage industry.
The site surveys also pointed to the use of the Vikan Hygiene range of colour-coded cleaning equipment for maintaining environmental surface hygiene in the Refresco bottling plants, including for cleaning floors and other areas outside the bottle filling stations. All Vikan colour-coded tools are made with EU and FDA food contact-compliant materials. Working closely with the local Vikan distributor made it easy to implement the same colour-coding concept in all the four Refresco plants in Germany, and to make sure that the correct tools are now delivered to all sites.
Colour coding brings big benefits
According to Refresco manufacturing director Clemens Müller, there are significant benefits to be gained when multiple Refresco plants use the same equipment and colour coding system for the hygienic cleaning tools they are using so intensively. It makes it easier to maintain high standards, by enabling supervisors and staff at the different plants to cross-reference and compare their hygiene management procedures and work out how best to tackle the kinds of cleaning challenges they most often encounter. It’s also easier to use fewer cleaning tools to do a better job, and to maintain the same high hygiene standards.
“We’ve been able to improve Refresco’s overall hygiene management capabilities as well as making it easier for our cleaning staff to do their jobs quickly and effectively – and we save money at the same time,” explains Clemens Müller.
For hygiene-driven companies eager to achieve and/or keep a commercial edge amid fierce market competition, the ability to accumulate and transfer specialist knowledge about how to maintain the strictest hygiene standards can be crucial.
“With this across-the-board use of colour-coded hygienic cleaning tools, we’ve certainly achieved that here,” declares Müller.
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