What Makes a Warehouse Food Grade?
If You Value the Quality of the Food Products You Supply, Isn’t Your Warehouse Partner Just as Valuable?
Storage is an integral part of food supply chains between the producer, processor, retailer, and consumer. Warehouses that store food products must meet extensive requirements and undergo continuous evaluation. If a facility doesn’t meet regulatory standards, they must discontinue operation.
There are several types of food-grade warehouses. Dry storage, frozen food storage, and refrigerated storage are the most common types and the most likely options for food warehousing.
Dry storage warehouses are suitable for food products that do not require temperature regulation. These products include canned food, rice, and grain. Frozen food storage warehouses have facilities to maintain a constant freezing temperature to handle perishable food products.
A refrigerated warehouse has all the necessary equipment to store food products below a specific temperature without freezing it.
Health and Sanitation Issues
Health and sanitation are crucial in food storage. If a warehouse doesn’t manage cleanliness carefully, it can result in food contamination by bacterial growth, fungi, rodents, or other pests.
Indications that a warehouse’s sanitation is compromised include:
- Rodent tracks or burrows in- or around the warehouse
- Standing water, weeds, or trash in the vicinity of the warehouse
- Leaks in the warehouse’s roof, foundation, or walls
- Holes in the warehouse windows
- Signs of damage to the warehouse building’s exterior
In addition to the issues listed above, the odour from other products in the warehouse can result in cross-contamination. Food product packaging can absorb odours from other products in the warehouse. When storing a new food item, the warehouse should consider the other products in the warehouse.
Customers who are selecting their 3PL should also consider the products that a warehouse stores as many facilities don’t pay attention to products that can result in cross-contamination.
Four Principles for Food Grade Storage
Substances for pest control at strategic locations around food grade storage perimeter eliminates the presence of rodents, insects, birds, and other animals. A warehouse should inspect the perimeter at least once every quarter to check for infestations.
Master Sanitation Schedule
The warehouse should schedule and document regular cleaning sessions to ensure that the food-grade facility is sterile from the roof to the floor. Records of cleaning sessions should be readily available. The warehouse should either appoint a skilled cleaning staff or hire an industrial sanitation service provider.
Personal Hygiene and Training Program
All the employees who work in a food-grade warehouse should regularly wash their hands at company-supplied stations with soap and hygienic hand-drying devices. Employees should also undergo training in personal hygiene, food safety, incident and crisis management, and quality awareness. The warehouse must keep a record of all employee training sessions.
The warehouse’s food-grade logistics operation unit traces lot and date codes on the products to ensure that the warehouse rotates them on a first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis.
The four principles above are central to the operations of a food-grade warehouse. Contact Brimich Logistics to learn more about our 3PL warehousing solutions and value-added services.