Food handling businesses play a crucial part in communities. They manage the safety, supply, and distribution of one of the biggest necessities of life—food. If you plan to join this keystone industry and operate a food handling warehouse, you should know these five things to consider in your food handling warehouse design and management.
1. Qualifying as a Food-Grade Warehouse
Food-grade warehouses are legally acknowledged and approved food handling businesses. They meet and comply with all the federally mandated protocols and undergo the appropriate procedures required to qualify as a food-grade warehouse. Steps to qualify as a food-grade business and worksite include registering with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and going through regular inspections. You will also need to obtain a state food license and adhere to federal standards like the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
2. Meeting FDA Approval Standards
Like qualifying as a food-grade practice, meeting FDA standards includes specific procedures and compliance with various other acts and association regulations. The FDA oversees the safety, efficacy, and security of consumable items, biological products, and medical devices. As a food handling business, you work closely with the FDA. To ensure the safety of consumers and your employees, much of the equipment in the warehouse must get FDA approval. When you use permitted gear, such as an FDA-approved conveyor belt, your consumers and partners can verify that you’re taking everyone’s safety into account and operating ethically and legally.
3. The Type of Food Handled
Food comes in various forms, from fresh produce to manufactured sweets and bulk supplies. Considering the type of food you intend to handle determines different aspects of your operations, equipment, and warehouse. Food allergens require specific handling measures to avoid cross-contamination. Handling fresh produce like meats involves added cleaning protocols. Furthermore, certain food mixtures need proper ingredient tracking and labeling standards.
4. Products To Avoid Within the Warehouse
As an added safety measure, you must ban certain things from the vicinity of the warehouse because they can affect different aspects of the operation. Chemicals typically used in cleaning products, pest control, and certain building materials cause safety hazards. They can cause potential harm to those consuming the food from the facility. Warehouse managers need to ensure that all products used in any part of the warehouse or operations aren’t toxic.
5. Storage Solution and Food Handling Equipment
Some forms of produce require specific storage conditions. For example, any unpackaged items, such as fruits, veggies, and meats, must remain in climate-controlled spaces to maintain their quality. Supplying your warehouse with storage solutions that meet the various needs of different products doesn’t just preserve the food’s quality. It also keeps it away from external dangers like pests, bacteria, and contaminants.
When you’re creating a food handling warehouse operation, you should know that these various things to consider determine aspects of your business’s functionality and procedures. They also affect the equipment you need and how your employees interact with the products. Since food plays a major role in people’s lives, food handling requires multiple considerations and standard protocols.