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Foreign Material Control in Food Storage Facility/Warehouse

foreign material loose items contamination guidelines best practices food warehouse audit risk assessments packed products

Best Answer Peaches, 28 June 2017 - 04:57 PM

To answer your question - we conduct the inspection on random employees (at least 5 per month) 

We do not allow any personal medication in the warehouse.  It can be stored in personal lockers.  

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#1 WeeVa

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 01:27 PM

Hi All,

 

Our facility was recently audited and the comment given by the auditor was that our facility lacks of foreign material / loose items control e.g. pen, mobile phone, wrist watch, etc.

We have tried to justify that risk of contamination is low as the products we handled are already packed products in cartons. We do not open the product carton except for quality check activity, which will be conducted by designated personnel that is subject to strict foreign material control policy e.g. no wearing of jewelry and wrist watch.

However, the comment given was that there is still a 'possibility' of foreign material contamination by other personnel in the warehouse. Example; bringing into the warehouse prohibited items such as snap blade, personnel wearing wrist watch (watch face is usually made of glass) while handling closed carton products. 

 

Appreciate if anyone could share any guidelines/best practices/risk assessments in foreign material control in a food storage facility.

Or if there is anyone who has encountered same situation above, how do you justify to the auditor on this?

 

Thank you.


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#2 Peaches

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 11:13 AM

Hello

While your risk might be low for fully packaged product, do you take into account what happens with damaged product or how to handle repackaging those items? 

 

Do you have a glass and brittle plastics policy?  An inventory of those items (i.e. thermometers, plastics, etc) and inspection on a monthly or quarterly frequency would verify your risk assessment.  Do you include GMP's in your internal warehouse inspections and list out items that were mentioned? 

 

We include foreign material (i.e. wood fragments from pallets), damaged product, and personnel practices i.e. do we see anyone using a cell phone while we are conducting our monthly inspections.  We also include training for all of our employees on what can and cannot be brought into the warehouse (i.e. only company issued box cutters/pens are allowed and cell phones, ipods, cameras are not allowed). 


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#3 Charles.C

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 12:47 PM

Hi WeeVa,

 

Any particular FS Standard ?

 

What is the process ?


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Kind Regards,

 

Charles.C


#4 WeeVa

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:48 PM

Hello

While your risk might be low for fully packaged product, do you take into account what happens with damaged product or how to handle repackaging those items? 

 

Do you have a glass and brittle plastics policy?  An inventory of those items (i.e. thermometers, plastics, etc) and inspection on a monthly or quarterly frequency would verify your risk assessment.  Do you include GMP's in your internal warehouse inspections and list out items that were mentioned? 

 

We include foreign material (i.e. wood fragments from pallets), damaged product, and personnel practices i.e. do we see anyone using a cell phone while we are conducting our monthly inspections.  We also include training for all of our employees on what can and cannot be brought into the warehouse (i.e. only company issued box cutters/pens are allowed and cell phones, ipods, cameras are not allowed). 

Hi, thanks for reply.

 

Our company policy states that all damaged product must be disposed and no repackaging of items are allowed.

Yes, we do have glass and hard plastic policy in place. This is only for items found in the warehouse.

However, the policy does not cover personal loose items such as pen, scissors, watches, keys, etc.

 

Conducting a monthly inspection seems like a good idea.

Is the inspection conducted on all employees or randomly on a few selected employees?

 

In addition, what are your thoughts on permitting medication such as inhaler or prescribed drugs (in case of emergency) that personnel request to be brought along into the warehouse?


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#5 WeeVa

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 02:56 PM

Hi WeeVa,

 

Any particular FS Standard ?

 

What is the process ?

Hi Charles.C,

 

Audit is based on our customer's own standard.

It is a combination of several FS standard e.g. ISO/FSSC aligning with global audit harmonization efforts such as GFSI.


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#6 dfreund

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 04:54 PM

Start with simple solutions, it is likely to be not as complicated of an issue as your auditor sees it:

1. Write a specific hazard analysis for the items you will be allowing that demonstrates that there is not a safety issue.

2. Review your visitor policies and add specific training and sign off on what they are allowed to have with them inside your facility


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#7 Peaches

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 04:57 PM   Best Answer

To answer your question - we conduct the inspection on random employees (at least 5 per month) 

We do not allow any personal medication in the warehouse.  It can be stored in personal lockers.  


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#8 Suzie B

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Posted 28 June 2017 - 07:50 PM

Which scheme are you using?  Are you SQF, BRC, FSSC?  Or is it a GDP third party audit?  Either way, do you have a HACCP plan and/or Preventive Control plan for your processes?  In warehousing, it is pretty simple since you don't have ingredient steps.  The steps are receive, blast freeze if necessary, store, and ship.  You can document extraneous material like wood splinters, nails from pallets, glass/plastic, etc. in your risk assessment and describe how it is controlled via your GDPs receiving/shipping inspection SOPs, monthly warehouse internal audits. 

 

Many times, having something in writing to demonstrate the absence of a hazard lets the auditor know you acknowledge the (remote) possibility of a hazard, and you have steps in place to deal with the hazard should something remote happen. 

 

Suzie B


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