Hygienically Clean | An Ongoing Responsibility
A job well done contributes to the overall success of a company, but it also promotes personal job satisfaction. For Amanda Genthe, that sense of fulfillment comes from seeing a project through to the end and beyond.
As CITY’s Hygienically Clean (HC) coordinator, Genthe oversees the quality of CITY’s food processing and food service garments and is in charge of maintaining the TRSA Hygienically Clean Food Safety certification.
When she was first assigned this task, Genthe jumped right into it to learn everything she needed to know.
“I went from knowing little about Hygienically Clean to putting together a rather robust quality manual which outlines all our methods and processes at CITY,” she said. “Even the TRSA inspector commented on our efforts saying that we did a very thorough job. It was a huge undertaking, and seeing that come to fruition was very fulfilling.”
Genthe has gained much of her knowledge from taking a TRSA E-course, speaking with food safety experts, and assisting with prospective client plant tours to answer questions in regards to the quality manual.
“My role has a step-by-step process that is results-driven, so when I see that positive number at the end, it’s very rewarding,” Genthe said.
It’s Only the Beginning
When CITY started servicing the food processing industry, food safety guidelines were always followed; however, CITY decided to officially obtain the Hygienically Clean certification, which was granted last August.
“It was one thing to say we followed those guidelines, but another to say we have a third-party certification that guarantees it,” Genthe said. “It was really important to us to support what we say with credibility.”
After obtaining the certification, CITY has a lot of responsibility to sustain the endorsement, Genthe said.
“People may assume we are done now that we have the certification,” she said. “But we’re not done. This is always going to be a constant ongoing thing that we’re going to have to maintain everything from our housekeeping, our records, and of course doing our testing.”
“I incubate the samples for 24 hours to determine what sort of germs we could be growing,” Genthe said. “Having less than 50 colonies is considered ‘a pass.’ CITY has done a very good job at maintaining at 50 or less from all of the testing that I have done.”
“We have to submit two separate garments to the third-party lab where they do more intrusive testing,” she said.
Keeping track of everything is one of the most important parts of maintaining the certification, according to Genthe.
“We have checklists to make sure we are maintaining good house keeping that is in guidelines with our Hygienically Clean standards,” she said. “I also have audit checklists where I will take a look at the cleanliness of the plant.”
Part of the checklist also verifies that clean product does not cross-contaminate soiled product.
“We have established practices for everything,” Genthe explained. “For example, we have orange slings to designate that the garments are from food service.”
There is also a distinct, physical line on the floor of the facility that differentiates the clean from the soil. Additionally, CITY has two designated team captains that help main production on each individual side of the facility.
“Our quality management system is not just a process for our workflow, but it’s a system for how we’re going to run the operations of our business,” Colin Wetlaufer, president of CITY, said. “It’s easy to do the big things right, I think it’s hard to do the little things right, day-in and day-out every day, and that’s what this is all about.”
Once a month, CITY offers tours to potential clients, current clients, and also vendors. Tours provide clients with all the information necessary to understand CITY’s certification and processes and how it all integrates into their own Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan or Total Quality Management plan. Anyone who is interested in touring the facility is welcome.
“We are proud of our accomplishments,” Genthe said. “I set all tours up each quarter, then I notify the district managers and service managers so that any client who would be interested in seeing what we have to offer can take that opportunity.”
Once the tour is scheduled and set up, interested individuals come to CITY’s headquarters where they get to see everything first-hand. They also are able to talk directly to CITY President Colin Wetlaufer, as he is the one who leads the tour.
Genthe is also present to answer any questions.
“I share our flow diagram, or codex decision tree,” Genthe said. “It shows all of our critical control points that we need to monitor to make sure that we’re meeting those standards.”
According to Genthe, a tour is key in proving our commitment to food safety standards in the garment rental and laundering industry.
“This is action. We’re about much more than just talk,” she said. “This is how we do it. It’s satisfying when someone comes through for a tour, and they see that we are genuine and that don’t just ‘talk the talk’, but we also ‘walk the walk’.”
“What we are doing is very impressive for the industry,” Genthe said. “For example, we have SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), we have procedures in place, we do internal testing, and we have HC trained employees. But even beyond all that, we have all of this documented.”
“Afterwards, they said that out of all the other national laundries they visited, CITY was the only one that had this level of organization and proof of its claims,” she said. “I feel there’s nothing better than having that confidence when you know you’ve got everything together, and you know you’ve nailed it.”
It’s Our Responsibility
“The third party has set standards,” she said. “Because of that, it’s much harder to let things fall through the cracks. We have to remain proactive.”
Additionally, tours also hold CITY accountable because people are visiting on a consistent basis.
“Our customers sometimes notice things that can be improved upon,” Genthe. “It’s really helpful to have a lot of eyes on this so that we can constantly make ourselves better. We always want to go above and beyond.”
“We can guarantee that every piece of clothing that comes through the steam tunnel, the washer, the dryer, or the actual door of this facility will be processed and controlled right here,” Genthe said. “We know we are following a very strict set of criteria to ensure that everything is processed correctly without allowing any cross contamination.”
According to Genthe, other laundries might say mention that they have the Hygienically Clean certification; however, that does not necessarily mean a client’s garments are being laundered that way.
“For example, a company may say they have the certification, which they might at one particular facility, but then they also have other non-certified processing facilities all of the United States,” she said. “There’s really no guarantee that your garments are being processed through the certified facility.”
All items that CITY processes are processed through its headquarters ensuring that every item is handled through a HC facility.
“When we do the right thing, clients are confident in our service and real relationships are built,” said Wetlaufer.
Don’t Take Our Word for It
“We would be happy to show you around and let you see for yourself just how proud we are of we’ve done,” Genthe added. “It’s very special to be able to say that we’ve done this. It’s a real pat on the back to not only follow it, but to achieve this goal and then continue to maintain it.”
To schedule a tour or to learn more about our facility, contact us at 1-800-798-5621 or contact us here: https://www.citycleanandsimple.com/hc/