Food goes through many hands and phases, from the fields to the store’s shelf, before arriving in your kitchen cupboard or fridge. Some of the major players in the food industry are food handling warehouses. They oversee many procedures, including production, packaging, and storing. Due to the various processes, numerous contacts, and health risks that come with food handling, all components of the food industry go the extra mile to ensure consumers’ health and safety. Here’s how warehouses ensure safe food handling practices.
Compliance With Federal Associations
Food-grade facilities must comply with numerous health and safety associations. As the leading legislation overseeing all things pertaining to consumables, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires all food handling warehouses to register with them. Under the watch of the FDA, warehouses must comply with its health and safety standards by passing regular inspections, meeting sanitization protocols, and using verified equipment and materials. Other legal associations and acts with which warehouses must comply include the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and the Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance (FSPCA).
Food Safety Plans
The federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C) requires all food handling facilities to create and implement food safety plans. These plans should include a hazard analysis, recall plan, specific monitoring actions, and set protocols for process, food allergen, sanitation, and supply chain controls. A warehouse’s food safety plan lists work site–specific requirements and action plans that pertain only to that warehouse.
Use of Food-Grade Conveyor Belts
Conveyor systems conduct the main functions of warehouses. They’re the center of all operations, and they provide numerous benefits to warehouse productivity by streamlining assembly lines, transporting numerous items at once, and carrying heavy loads. Ensuring that the conveyor systems consist of quality and food-grade parts optimizes production and protects consumers’ health and safety. When equipping their conveyor systems, warehouses look for certain food-grade belting features that maximize cleanliness and minimize carrybacks and contaminations.
Allergen Cross-Contact Management
A large portion of the world’s population has minor to severe allergic reactions to various foods. Depending on the sensitivity of one’s allergy, even the slightest contact with a food can cause an allergic reaction. Food handling warehouses avoid allergen cross-contamination in various ways, such as cleaning between the handling of different food items. Some warehouses only manage one type of food, further minimizing cross-contact risks. Other protocols put in place to ensure allergen-safe facilities and food handling include properly labeling packaging and storage, creating designated allergen-free zones, and using color-coded handling systems.
Warehouses ensure safe food handling practices in numerous ways, from their equipment choices to their procedures. Since food plays a major role in people’s lives, rights, and needs, taking precautions in food handling protects people from illnesses and other harm. Although it’s easy to forget how food ended up on the grocery store shelf, it’s good to know that it was handled with care and with your health in mind.