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Food Crates 200 Times Cleaner Than ‘clean’ Hands
New food hygiene laws introduced earlier this year mean that it is more important than ever for all companies involved in the transportation of food to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness at every stage of every journey. Britain’s largest crate rental company PHS Teacrate provides a wide range of Returnable Transit Packaging (RTP) products for the food industry, including pallets, food trays, and of course crates from its distribution centre in Coleshill Warwickshire.
With well over a million items a year passing through the plant, and hygiene standards now being so high, meticulous cleaning of every item is absolutely essential. Teacrate has invested heavily in the very latest technology to provide its customers with the highest standards of service whatever area of the food industry they are involved in. Teacrate’s operations supervisor Sean Pinches explained just how clean containers now have to be before being reused by the food industry: “The hygiene rules are different depending on the product being carried. Every pallet of cleaned crates has to be swab tested and the level of contamination measured using bioluminescence technology. The maximum reading for, let’s say dairy products, is 150 Relative Light Units (RLU), whereas a maximum reading of 500 RLU is permissible for meat products. To put that in context, the average person’s ‘clean’ hand would give a reading of around 30,000 and a typical domestic wooden chopping board about 23,000 RLU.”
All test data is recorded for each consignment and can be provided to the customer should the need arise. Only items from one type of food product are cleaned at one time to prevent cross contamination.
After cleaning and checking the crates are wrapped using a protective plastic material to avoid contamination on their journey back to the customer.
Being able to react to seasonal changes in demand is another strength of Teacrate’s Coleshill operation, as Sean explained: “During the run up to Christmas, for example we were very very busy cleaning crates for the poultry and baking industries. Between October and the end of the year we processed more crates than in the previous six months, someone worked out that we could have filled Wembley Stadium with them!”
Teacrate’s ability to react quickly to customers’ needs is what sets the company apart from its competitors. Most orders for RTP are met within 24 hours and cleaning only contracts are turned round within the same period. The cleaning plant operates every day of the year, including Christmas day.
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Photo caption: Crate washing at PHS Teacrate's distribution centre in Coleshill Warwickshire
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