I have been thinking for a while that a lot of you may be interested in some behind the scenes action about our quality control efforts. As some of you know, I am about as crazy as they come when it comes to cleanliness. In case you haven’t heard, they say it’s close to godliness!
I was trained in a 5 star resort kitchen and trust me, you worked clean or you didn’t work there. Those lessons never left me, I put them to great use in my restaurant, where we constantly got reviews and comments about the cleanliness, and now in this business as well.
I not only trained in a kitchen where cleanliness and attention to detail was paramount, but I also have a degree in food service management as well as certification in Servsafe, which is the industry standard for food safety and cleanliness.
I can hear you now, “but Erin, how does this apply to Sweet Cedar”? Well, many of the same lessons and attention to detail are super important in this biz too. In the US, anything other than soap is considered a cosmetic and has to follow certain rules about GMP (good manufacturing practice). GMP is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards. It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any cosmetic production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.
We follow GMP to the extreme, I mean we overkill it! First of all, we manufacture everything in a commercial kitchen. We of course are not inspected by the health department now, but in the 6 years that we were, we never had any kind of violation. That kitchen sparkles! There is no worry of pets running around, no kids in the work area, no dinner dishes sitting near the lotion making dishes, many of the things you may find with home based makers, we don’t have in our setting. This eliminates a lot of contamination right there.
We have separate utensils, bowls, pots, and containers just for our lotions, facial products, and everything but soap. We wash all of these things with super hot water and a commercial detergent. We then soak in a special sanitizer designed for restaurants that is called a quat sanitizer. Quats (quaternary ammonium compounds) are potent disinfectant chemicals commonly found in disinfectant wipes, sprays and other household cleaners that are designed to kill germs. It is often the stuff that allows a product to claim to be antibacterial. Everything sits in this solution in our huge, 3 bay sink for at least ten minutes. It is then air dried and sprayed with 70% isopropyl alcohol. Fun fact, there are much higher percentage isopropyl alcohols available to us, but they don’t work as well because they evaporate much quicker. 70% evaporates slow, allowing it to kill any leftover germs or bacteria as it does.
Once all of this is done, those items are bagged and tagged that they are clean and sanitized and available for use with the next batch.
Now the fun part, the actual manufacturing. When we start to make lotion for example, we wipe all of our work surfaces with the quat sanitizer and once it’s dry, we spray it all with the above mentioned alcohol and allow the surfaces to air dry. We then suit up with hair nets, gloves and masks and finally begin weighing out the ingredients and making product.
Once its finished and cool, we package in containers that have been sanitized and we top with lids that have built in, tamper evident seals. When they are screwed on, the pressure attaches the seal to the container so you can open it and be assured that is has not been tampered with. We then overkill this part too, because after all of that, we then add a small seal that goes over the lid and onto the jar.
I told ya we specialize in over doing it! But that’s what I expect from products that I want to use on my face and body, and I imagine that there are other’s who appreciate it as well!
If y’all like this type of behind the scenes info, please let us know, I have a few more subjects that I can talk about as well!