TRSA, the global textile services trade association, recently introduced its latest market-specific Hygienically Clean designation. The Hygienically Clean Food Service Certification will certify cleanliness for laundry operators working in the food service sector.

The new certification follows in the footsteps of comparable TRSA cleanliness certifications for laundry operators working with food processors and healthcare providers.

The new Hygienically Clean Food Service protocol applies many of the same principles as Hygienically Clean Food Safety. This existing program was first introduced in 2014 to certify laundering for companies engaged in manufacturing/processing sectors including dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, baking, milling and agricultural businesses.

The new TRSA certification applies to textile services for restaurants, cafeterias, food service contractors, caterers, snack and beverage bars and similar organizations.A recent epidemiology review deemed TRSA’s Hygienically Clean programs as having a large and positive impact on public health in general because they lower the overall community infectious-disease risk burden.

Both Hygienically Clean food certifications refer to the Codex (United Nations/World Health Organization) decision tree for identifying and addressing hazard analysis critical control points (HACCP) in laundry production and service processes. The certifications also incorporate a HACCP-Codex checklist in assessing the need for personal protective equipment and the Global Food Safety Initiative in detailing best-management practices for garment inspection and transportation.

In addition, Hygienically Clean food standards call for gauging the cleaning of hard surfaces that contact textiles by measuring the level of microorganisms present in these areas.

These steps come in addition to the standard Hygienically Clean facility inspection and laundered product microbial testing requirements that apply to the Healthcare and generic (for providing reusable textiles to general industry) designations. These two programs were introduced in 2012.  

“Our emphasis is on verifying processes and quantifying the outcomes that various technical approaches achieve,” said TRSA President and CEO Joseph Ricci. “In some laundry functions, different procedures effectively implement a single best practice. Laundered product testing evaluates the success of the range of techniques that a laundry chooses to deploy.”

Hygienically Clean requires physical inspections of laundries every three years following an initial inspection to assess a facility’s compliance with its implementation of industry best-management practices as outlined in its Hygienically Clean Quality Assurance Manual. Plants, not companies, are certified, meaning that every laundry in a multi-plant chain is inspected separately.

The laundry practices that are verified include washing procedures (detergent formulas, temperature, disinfectant, pH, extraction), drying, garment inspection and transportation. A certified laundry plant must follow an operational flowchart that maps these procedures as well as pickup, unloading and sorting of soiled items and sorting of clean laundry. Employees’ use of personal protective equipment also must be documented.