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Water Drinking in the Warehouse

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#1 chrisv5656

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:12 PM

Our building is a 30,000 sq. ft. building with a 2500 sq. ft. production room.  We are a low risk category E processing plant (long shelf life at ambient temps.) and our processing area is in a separate room from our storage warehouse, shipping room, offices, lunch room, etc.  The processing room has sinks for washing your hands just inside the door.

 

I had an FSSC 22000 consultant do a GAP analysis in anticipation of our actual audit which will occur in 3 months.  He told us that we could not have any type of beverage, including water, in any area of the warehouse other than in the lunch room or the water fountains located in different warehouse areas.

 

What I would like to be able to do is to have absolutely no drinking of any type in the processing room.  In the warehouse, I would like to be able to drink out of a non-screw top container and be able to have either water, coffee or a soft drink in this approved container.  This is in the non-processing area of the warehouse where we do not have to wash our hands or wear hair nets.  

 

I could not find anything that specifically says that you cannot have drinks in non processing areas of the facility.  Can you guys give me some guidance in this area?

 

 


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#2 brianweber

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 07:35 PM

I dealt with this as well. i decided it was much easier on everyone and certainly less monitoring if we just said no food/beverage outside of the break rooms. As far as per code, I have never seen anything that says you cannot do it. This was at an SQF III facility.


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#3 Simon

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 08:06 PM

I agree with Brian, in my experience you shouldn't allow drinking in the warehouse except under the same controls as you mentioned.

 

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Simon


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#4 chrisv5656

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 10:25 PM

Thanks for the replies.  So, here is another situation on the same topic.  My office is located in the middle of the warehouse with 4 walls and a ceiling, is air conditioned and has 2 doors which close automatically.  Is this considered part of the warehouse?  Can I have a cup of coffee in my office?  For than matter, can I have a snack?  Also, when you go into the office area (where the lunch room is) there are 10 offices.  What is the rule for these offices?  Where does the warehouse stop and the office (mine) or the offices start, and do all the rules not count in the office areas?

 

Thanks for your input!

 

Chris


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#5 trubertq

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 11:41 AM

How's about using common sense and risk assessment?

 

Do you drink coffee in your office and then allow the cup to sit for the requisite 3 weeks until the mould is growing out the door? Or,are you that rare individual who brings your cup back to the break room and washes and dries it?

 

General rule of thumb is not to have eating or drinking in production areas, or areas where work is being carried out, that would include your warehouse. Is there a potential for packaging to become contaminated with whatever beverage is being wielded in the non-screw top container?

 

The problem with having different rules in different areas is that it causes confusion and while it may seem unfair to bind everyone to strict regulation it certainly makes monitoring a lot easier. 


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#6 Setanta

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 12:22 PM

I SO agree with trubertq!  

 

How does your coffee get to your office? Are you carrying it through production? Is it sealed and covered? Is it a glass or ceramic mug?  I can see allowing sealed non-glass packages though, MAYBE.  You will risk the wrath of the production employees who perceive this as unfair.


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#7 saucy

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Posted 24 July 2015 - 01:20 PM

Our plant is very hot in summer. We have no fountain available--just break room for water, which is not nearby some workstations. We have marked off an area near a handwash station and have provisioned it with water cooler, paper cups, trash can. One employee is charged with keeping the water supplied to the cooler. GMPs are trained to allow brief trips to the water cooler area. Cups must be disposed and not allowed outside the marked area. Hands must be washed after drinking & before returning to shop floor. Rubbish is disposed frequently. This area & floor are cleaned just as all other areas on a daily basis and as needed.

 

This is our second summer with this policy. So far, employees are not abusing it and normally keep the area tidy (one GMP inspection found cups on the floor).

 

We must keep our employees safe.


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#8 chrisv5656

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 01:36 PM

Thanks everyone for your input.  What we have decided to do, is the following:

 

Not allow any drinking in the processing rooms or in the area where we keep our glass, lids and packaging material. In the rest of the warehouse we will allow drinking water only from a non breakable spill proof bottle that is supplied by us.  The bottle has a lid that comes open without the risk of hand contamination.  We will document weekly spot checks to confirm that only water is being put in the bottles.  We have one full survice (food and drinks) luch room and are going to set up another break room where non water drinks will be allowed.  Since the employees have been expecting a no water policy, they were very happy that we are trying to keep water where we can even if it means a weekly random container checks.

 

Our first FSSC 22000 audit will take place in early September.  We are putting this plan in place and when the auditor comes for the stage 1 audit, we will ask him/her if he feels our plan is sound, and then we will enact whatever he decides.  This really makes the transition easier for the employees since they feel we are trying to do what we can to allow them to have water bottles outside of processing areas and at the same time, they are really getting an education on why having coffee or soft drinks in the warehouse is bad and why having water can also be bad if not controlled properly

 

Thanks again for your input.

 

Chris  


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#9 Setanta

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 01:53 PM

I may be wrong, but in my (SQF) experience, auditors do not give advice on what you should do, they only mark if it's a violation cannot consult on how best to remedy it. YMMV and I hope so!!   :smile:


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#10 ncwingnut

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Posted 28 July 2015 - 03:51 PM

My office is also in the warehouse, however, we have a "common" area with lines drawn on the floor as to where food/beverage is allowed to go between the employee entrance doors and the warehouse offices.  We do not allow food/drink to be consumed in the common areas, but it can travel through those areas (clear as mud?).  Also, trash is emptied every 2 hours to prevent any type of buildup in the offices or break rooms.  This has never been an issue on any of our SQF audits.  


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