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"Food Processing Area" in a Storage and Distribution Warehouse


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#1 kay-16

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:02 PM

Greetings,

I work for a Storage and Distribution Warehouse for produce. We recently had a pre-assessment audit for SQF level 2. We do NO processing ( slicing, dicing, etc) we do however take product from one case ( 25 pound) and repack into smaller cases ( 5 to 10 pounders). The auditor observed staff to be wearing an phone ear bud during repack of product and noted so on report as being done in "food processing area". We have noted in our policy that personal garments are not allowed. My question is, do we need to document that our repack room is a food handling area only, since this is the only time the actual product is handled outside the case? Or will our loading and unloading docks be "food handling areas" as well? Just so I can update our policy on personal garments.  

 

Thank you,

 


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#2 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 04:27 PM

As long as you can create a clear division by a line on the floor, walls, or some other physical barrier/separation, you can have a specific food handling area with stricter controls than the other areas. It's exactly what traditional processors do with their warehouse areas (if products can be stored ambient, refrigerated storage is more strict.

 

Level of control needed depends on what you're repacking and associated risk, and some amount of who's auditing.


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#3 CMHeywood

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:03 PM

Getting past the different definitions people may have for "food processing", "food handling", etc:

 

Is the food item exposed when it is repacked?

Is there a chance of an earbud, jewelry, etc. getting into the food?

 

If yes, then you have a contamination risk that must be controlled.


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#4 MusselsGalore

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 07:29 PM

Is there a "receiving area" separate from "packing area"?  In our GMPs we do not allow earbuds (for hearing protection) unless they are attached by a cord or earmuffs.  The small foam ear plugs can easily get lost in your product.  Folks who wear jewelry or accessories in the food processing area must have them covered by their outer gear such as a hooded jacket or ski mask -- if working in a freezer or cooler.


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