Posted by Elisa Sacchi - 13 December, 2018
In the food industry, food safety and customers’ trust are closely linked and are the pillars on which successful companies build a long-lasting brand reputation. But just one incident or recall can be enough to compromise customers’ loyalty and the financial stability of a company. The recent history of food recalls shows that when it comes to food production every detail matters, starting from the floor. We talked to Aigerim Sabit about her new role as European Product Manager for Ucrete industrial flooring, and how a flooring solution can help to prevent food contamination and to enhance food safety and productivity.
Aigerim, can you tell us what is your previous experience and what is your role now?
I am from Kazakhstan where I worked in the construction industry for 12 years. For the past 5 years I have worked with Ucrete flooring both as Product Manager and as an application contractor. In my current role, I am responsible for the technical marketing of Ucrete in Europe. This includes the trialling and introduction of new products and providing technical advice to countries around the world.
Aigerim, what do you see as the most important topic in the coming years?
That is easy. For most of our food industry customers, I believe that food hygiene is already important and will become even more so in the future.
Why do you say that?
Global food production will face numerous challenges resulting from the megatrends of growing populations and urbanization. Some of these challenges can be directly linked to food hygiene.
Firstly, food waste. This is becoming an increasingly important topic; with growing populations and pressures on the food supply chain, we must reduce the enormous amount of food that is wasted, especially in Europe. More hygienic food factories will reduce spoilage and increase shelf life, both of which can help reduce waste.
Secondly, the ever-growing size of food production units means the potential public health consequences in the event of hygiene being compromised, are also growing in scale.
How do you see flooring impacting on hygiene?
Every part of the factory is connected by the floor. The floor needs to be clean to prevent contamination being trafficked around. Let’s consider a simple thing - do the boot washers clean the workers' boots effectively? This is a wet process at the entrance to key factory areas. Wherever there is moisture, bacteria and mould will multiply, especially if a cleaning process has been ineffective. A floor that is dense, impervious and dries very quickly can help limit the potential impact. If you couple this with a solution like Ucrete, which can be cleaned to remove bacteria just as effectively as stainless steel, that the floor begins to support a more holistic hygienic environment. Hygiene is not just about cleaning, it’s also about durability. A failing floor will always compromise hygiene and food safety.
Isn’t good hygiene really just about using the right sanitizer?
Yes we need sanitizers, but putting poisons into floors is not the answer. The big fear is producing resistance in bacteria, so you need to be able to change the sanitizer you are using. There are already references to silver ion resistant bacteria in the literature, for example. Just throwing more chemicals at the floor and rinsing them down the drain costs money and is not a sustainable approach. We need well designed floors that are easy to clean and do not absorb moisture and can last twenty or thirty years or more without cracking or degrading. Ucrete meets these requirements.
To find out how to select the most hygienic and safest flooring for your factory, visit www.ucrete.basf.com and download our free white paper.