Maintaining Our Hygienically Clean Certification
Servicing the food-service industry safely and securely with maximum confidence in the CITY’s cleaning and processing of garments has always been a priority. CITY’s President Colin Wetlaufer wanted to go a step further and make sure customers can have peace of mind through third-party certification.
“I think, as an industry, it’s a really good goal and standard to say, “What differentiates a professionally laundered item,” Colin said. “The answer is being hygienic.”
Since 2017, CITY remains the only industrial laundry in the region to have TRSA’s Hygienically Clean Certification. The Hygienically Clean certification recognizes linen, uniform and facility services companies’ commitment to cleanliness through laundry plant inspection and third-party, quantified biological testing. To attain the Hygienically Clean certification, the laundry must submit to a facility inspection and laundered products must pass three rounds of outcome-based microbial testing, indicating that their processes are producing Hygienically Clean Healthcare textiles and diminished presence of yeast, mold and harmful bacteria.
“With the systems and processes we have in place, we ensure that what our customers are getting is clean and the right quality,” Luis Portillo, CITY’s Director of Operation said. “To me it’s very important that the customer doesn’t have to worry about it and being hygienically clean certified does that.”
As CITY’s Hygienically Clean (HC) coordinator, Brenna Ballo oversees the quality of CITY’s food processing garments and is in charge of maintaining the TRSA Hygienically Clean Food Safety certification. Once a week, Brenna tests garments to ensure they are remaining compliant with the third party requirements.
By swabbing individual products, she is able to test a variety of CITY’s microbiological levels. To keep CITY’s certification, Brenna submits quarterly microbiological testing. A swab is used to check sorting tables and surfaces inside the plant and temperature checks are ran to ensure bacteria is killed.
“We have to get re-certified in 2021,” Brenna said. “I am very excited to be part of the process, a lot of food processing customers depend on us and if we fail our inspection, I fail. It’s very important to me to make sure we follow the guidelines and make sure workers feel safe in their uniforms.”
Brenna maintains checklists to make sure all staff members are aware of what’s necessary for certification and safety. She also has an audit checklist and works with the janitorial staff and plant management to ensure the cleanliness of the plant. Part of the checklist also verifies that clean product does not cross-contaminate soiled product.
A distinct, physical line at the facility differentiates the clean from the soil making sure cross-contamination can’t happen. CITY also has two designated team captains that help maintain production on each individual side of the facility. CITY also follows a comprehensive quality management program that includes temperature and quality testing of the water (conducted by Norchem, Corp.), washers, dryers, and steam tunnel inside the plant.
“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, CITY’s President 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.”
CITY also sets itself apart by having only one processing facility. All food-processing garments go through the laundering process at the same Hygienically Clean facility. It can guarantee that every piece of clothing coming through the steam tunnel, the washer, the dryer, or the actual door of this facility will be processed and controlled the same.
“Our employees know how important this process is,” Luis said. “It’s very important to say that were hygienically clean certified and we follow the processes to stay certified. We can guarantee your garments are cleaned to a specific standard and When we do the right thing, clients are confident in our service, and real relationships are built.”