White Paper – Food Safety in Storage Facilities

You Know it’s Important. How Do You Know Yours is Right?

Food processing facilities are held to high standards of safety. Labeling, packaging, temperature, cleanliness and more are part of a careful and methodical orientation. Of course they are. But what about warehousing and distribution? If you’re transporting and storing food, this part of the supply chain cannot be ignored.

So, what should you look for in a third party logistics partner when you’ve got food and dry product storage needs? Is it as simple as walking around a facility and viewing white walls and well-lit rooms that pass the ‘eye test’? No way. Half-measures or the window dressing of safety and cleanliness will not do. We’re talking about the value of your product and the brand you have developed.

It’s got to be right

There is a standard. As you review potential partners for food grade and dry storage, price is a factor. But it’s not the only factor. Not by a long shot. So, who sets the standards? Well, if you look at it in a broad fashion, the end-user is the ultimate arbiter. They don’t have much insight into your supply chain, though. So, digging a little deeper, you’ve got the client, auditors and other agencies and legal enforcement. How can you satisfy the requirements of each and add value to your supply chain?

At Distributor’s, our food grade storage facilities hold an AIB Superior Rating. And have since 2009. Distributor’s warehouses are registered with the Food and Drug Administration. Lastly, if specified, your warehouse will be BRC and SQF certified. BRC establishes global standards for quality and safety that are increasingly prerequisites for industry. SQF is highly recognized by retailers and foodservice providers around the world who require rigorous food safety management systems. BRC Global Standards were developed in response to the growing need for a world standard of safety, quality and operational standards for the foodservice industry. BRC standards are now often a fundamental requirement of leading retailers.

As a quick example, elements of the American Institute of Baking formal programs applicable to warehouses include the following:

  • Sanitation – Scheduled cleaning. From a master cleaning schedule to a daily schedule, to procedures for checking and monitoring and validating that work, sanitation requires written procedures and protocols that are followed and verified.
  • Integrated Pest Management – More than ‘spraying for bugs’, an integrated program includes other programs, such as sanitation, to minimize the potential for adulteration or contaminated product. (Image: Safety-focused image, clean room, white outfit, etc.)
  • Chemical Control – If you’re cleaning, controlling for pests and allergens and maintaining your facility, you’re using chemicals. The identification, storage, safe handling and proper disposal of chemicals must be a controlled process. (Image: chart)
  • Allergen Control Program – A facility with a recognized program must be able to inspect, identify, store, segregate and label allergens. This includes knowing not only the US’s “Big 8” allergens, but those that are recognized in Canada and other countries.
  • Maintenance – A solid maintenance program optimizes the overall productivity, quality and safety of the facility. It works to contribute to all of the various safety programs.

Other programs can be equally important, whether it’s developing formal processes for packaging and labeling, MSDS programs or regulatory inspection procedures. A good starting point is asking your logistics partner about their certifications. A follow-up is talking to them or scheduling a facility visit.

Source material for this white paper include AIB online, SQFI.com and BRCGlobalStandards.com