Understanding chemical hazards in lubricants and other non-food compounds – Part 2

Implementing HACCP in processed meat products - It’s not just about Listeria

By Ulli Gerntholtz on 30 November 2018

Managing the lubricant hazard

 The last few months have understandably been dominated by discussions on listeria in processed ready to eat meat and chicken products. The recent Listeriosis outbreak associated with polony has resulted in the amendment to the HACCP regulation and Regulation 607 of June 2018 now makes it compulsory for producers ready to eat processed meat and chicken products to implement a certified HACCP system.


In part 1 of this article, we discussed the inherent chemical hazards associated with lubricants.

These nonfood compounds are essential for effective operation of your equipment but the incorrect lubricant can result in contamination and even harm to the consumer.


While you may have the right lubricants in the maintenance lubricant store, the correct application is critical to prevent accidental contamination.


Machinery lubrication protocols and procedures are important focus areas because leakage or over-lubrication, even with the right products, always presents an immediate contamination danger to the product. This is your responsibility and should be integrated into your HACCP control measures.


You should set clear procedures for the use of these lubricants by maintenance technicians. A lubricant management system (LMS) will help you to survey the types of all lubricants used in the facility and their applications, correct lubricant usage, amount and frequency of lubricant, monitoring, sampling and testing, and record keeping. Include this as part of your PRP for preventive maintenance. You should designate employees responsible for lubrication and ensure they are effectively trained. This training can address food safety and HACCP awareness in addition to lubrication. Employees should also be taught correct disposal methods of used lubricants.


Ideally designate lubrication equipment for greases and oils to prevent contamination of different food grade lubricants. During lubrication, maintenance technicians should check points of lubrication are clean and undamaged.


The control of lubricants begins at receipt of the lubricant, where technicians should check that the container is not damaged, is properly sealed and is correctly labelled. Ensure lubricants are protected from contact with water, drinks or food, foreign material such as rust and other chemical substances, which may cause oxidation and/or other chemical reactions, decreasing the proper function of the lubricants.


Failure to properly clean out equipment after maintenance or repair is one of the major causes of food contamination—and one of the most preventable food safety hazards in the plant. Implement an adequate cleaning programme which includes specified lubricant cleaning procedures. 


Change of habits

Engaging maintenance staff in the food safety management system is essential. Maintenance should be included on your HACCP team to ensure the potential risk of chemical contamination by lubricants is understood and managed.

Although using the appropriate registered lubricants can go a long way to ensuring you do not inadvertently introduce chemical hazards into your product and process, the behaviours of the maintenance team during maintenance activities and even in the workshop, are critical to the success of your HACCP system and the safety of your products.





https://www.newfoodmagazine.com/digital/nf-issue-1-2016-fgl-supplement, accessed 8/10/2018


NSF International evaluates and registers cleaning chemicals, based on requirements originally developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Today this registration has a global reach with products produced in over 50 countries (including South Africa) and continues to grow as food safety becomes increasingly important to consumers, producers and regulators. Be sure to ask your lubricant supplier if their products are NSF registered. www.nsfafrica.com



Related Articles

Understanding chemical hazards in lubricants and other non-food compounds – Part 1

By Ulli Gerntholtz on 19 November 2018

It is compulsory for producers of ready-to-eat processed meat & chicken products to implement a certified HACCP system, thanks to the amendment to the HACCP regulation (R607)...