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Monthly Archives: July 2017

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  • A cut above: protection and hygiene in meat and seafood processing


    Workers wearing safety and protective gear while seafood processing

    When it comes to protecting workers and ensuring excellent hygiene, the standards required in the seafood and meat industry are particularly exacting. The PPE (personal protective equipment) products used in the meat and seafood processing industries therefore need to be of a very high standard.

    This blog reveals what constitutes a hygienic design and we briefly cover which materials should be used in the making of these products to ensure they are not only safe to use in food production, but that they effectively protect the wearer and resist any substances they may come into contact with in these harsh environments – including food!

    So what is hygienic, or good design?


    PU Wellington by CIS Safety


    Generally well designed products have as few dirt traps as possible. Dirt traps are sharp corners, ridges, other angular or difficult to clean areas. A good example is this PU wellington, ( PU, is an abbreviation of polyurethane). This product not only has smoothly-rounded profiles but an anti-clogging sole to prevent build-up of debris. Many styles of footwear that offer high slip resistance have sole patterns that are very hard to keep clean.

    Fabric – such as clothing – is generally difficult to keep clean due to its woven structure, and constitutes a hygiene risk unless it is industrially launderable. Most aprons and wash-down clothing are waterproof or wipe-clean, but look out for unnecessary seams or stitching, metal eyelets or pockets and pouches that can retain liquid and pose a hygiene threat.

    Some factories may have specific rules such as no laces on footwear and of course, no metal. Many of our footwear styles are metal free (even slip on shoes or wellingtons may have metallic toe caps), and are made from materials such as microfiber or PU, since leather is also not a hygienic option – nor can it be washed in the way that microfibre can. Which brings us onto materials…

    Which materials should products be made from?


    Microfibre cloth


    Let’s have a look some different materials used in food industry PPE

    We’ve mentioned leather, and the alternative to leather, microfiber, which is used to make shoes used in the food industry. Features of microfiber are:-

    1. Performance is better than real leather, same surface effect can be achieved
    2. Tear resistance, abrasion resistance, tensile strength are all better than real leather, and it is cold-resistant, acid proof, alkali-resisting, non-fading;
    3. Lightweight, soft, good breathability, smooth surface
    4. Antibacterial, anti-mildew, mothproof, without any harmful substances, eco-friendly
    5. Easy to cut, high utilisation rate, easy to clean, no odours.
    6. Can be laundered.
    7. Cost-efficient.

    Another material becoming common in wellington boots is PU, or polyurethane. This lightweight material has excellent resistance to animal fats and oils, which despite being ‘natural’ are very damaging to some plastics and PVC’s (polymerizing vinyl chloride), as they break them down causing cracking and degradation.

    PU is also cold-insulating, very durable and easy to clean. Boots made from PU are also more comfortable, as not only are they lighter but more flexible and provide better cushioning for the feet.

    As we’ve mentioned, PVC used in making boots is very susceptible to oils and fat, particularly fish oils. In some circumstances these aggressive substances result in the PVC becoming hard and inflexible, reducing wearer comfort and the lifetime of the product.

    Not only is comfort affected, but if movement is also affected, this could become a safety hazard.

    The addition of improvers or elastomisers to the blend when manufacturing PVC can overcome this however, enabling the production of a softer, more flexible material. So the correct blend can protect adequately against both chemicals and natural oils.

    Nitrile is now almost solely used in the manufacture of disposable gloves and reusable gauntlets. Nitrile is a synthetic rubber that is also used (in various forms) in making gaskets, industrial hoses and other oil-resistant applications.

    Again, it is very durable, offers good grip and puncture resistance and has a good chemical resistance, but most importantly it is much safer, as many people have developed allergies to latex.

    Vinyl gloves are still commonly used in the food industry, however these are not generally suitable for use with fatty or acidic foods, since chemicals used in the manufacture of some vinyls can migrate into these foods. If you are handling these types of foods nitrile is again the best option.


    So in summary if you are purchasing PPE for use in the seafood industry – or any food processing environment – you need to be aware that the cheapest may not offer the best protection or longevity.

    Avoid any potential health issues, costly mistakes - or even fines – and make a simple checklist:-

    1. Is the design, and material used, hygienic? Is it antimicrobial or antibacterial?
    2. Does the material used present any health issues to staff, or could it contaminate food?
    3. Will the product withstand the environment it is used in?
    4. Does the product protect adequately against any risks present?
    5. Will user comfort (and safety) be compromised by any change in the material due to contact with chemicals or natural oils?
Buyer, Cornwall Glass Group
Shortly after Cornwall Glass was formed some 15 years ago I started dealing with yourselves as a Supplier I don't believe in all those years whatever I have asked for - however obscure! you have never let me down - I'd like to think that we have quite a unique relationship thank you very much
Site Manager, International Minerals company
Special note - Amelia has done a great job this year for our site, quick, efficient, good follow-up and courteous, everything you need at the customer interface.
Purchasing, Food Manufacturer
After our BRC audit we received grade : A . I`m really happy, thank you for you and all the CIS team for your help.
Manager, Food wholesaler

You are amazing!!!!

Technical Manager, Seafood
A very good local company delivering a prompt and informative service. Excellent!
Health & Safety Manager, Waste Cleansing & Drain Clearing co
A company that always performs to the word "quality", helpful with innovations in PPE, guidance and support. A company that is a valuable asset to us as a supplier.

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