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Possible Risk In Warehousing Packaging Materials


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#1 Simon

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Posted 07 March 2004 - 10:31 PM

I would like to ask some inputs from the experts about the following.

1. If you are warehousing packaging materials for food is there a probability of contamination considering the packaging materials are wrapped with plastic?

2. In this condition, is there a probability of microbiological cross contamination? In what sense?

3. What about chemical contamination, is there a possibility of migration to wrapped packaging materials, ex. bottles with caps packaged in cartons and sealed in plastics?

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I received the above questions via email and thought I'd ask you guys for your thoughts. Any takers?

Regards,
Simon


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#2 Simon

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Posted 09 March 2004 - 11:43 AM

Mae,

From the limited information you have provided and without visiting the warehouse personally, it is difficult to be precise with the answers I provide. I assume that the packaging materials were manufactured and packed hygienically in the first instance and were free from contamination before being palletised and protected by some form of 'shrink-wrap' material.

If this is the case then the question is what are the foreign body, chemical and microbiological contamination risks to the packaging materials in their current 'protected' state from the warehouse environment?

There are a number of variables that we need to consider before determining the contamination risks, for example:

 the physical condition of the warehouse
 the types of other materials that are stored in the warehouse
 the handling and storage methods used
 the environmental controls in operation
 the length of time the packaging materials will be stored

Without knowing all of the above it is difficult to provide a 'likelihood of occurrence' rating or each of the potential contaminants during the 'hazard analysis.' Let's take a 'worst case scenario' approach and assume that the warehouse is not dedicated to storing food-packaging materials and is not fit for purpose. In this case some of the types of contaminants we would need to consider are:

 rainwater
 dust and dirt
 animal / pest faeces
 microbiological / bacterial
 other stored products e.g. chemicals (oil / fuel etc.)
 exhaust fumes of stacker truck
 glass
 just about anything and everything else

In addition any damage or deterioration of the shrink-wrapped pallet could further expose the food packaging materials to any of the contaminants and storage time and handling etc. come into play here.

If the shrink-wrapped pallet were intact it would protect the food packaging materials from most and possibly all of the above contaminants. However, no plastic (as far as I am aware) provides a total barrier to oxygen, water vapour, light or aroma, and over time there will be a transmission rate expected for each of the elements through the shrink-wrap material.

If for example there was a diesel spillage onto the pallet then I would have no idea how long it would take for the diesel to migrate through the shrink-wrap material and contaminate the food packaging materials. Personally I would much prefer that there wasn't any diesel in the warehouse or that it was stored in a clearly defined and segregated area of the warehouse.

Rather than direct contamination of the food packaging materials, it may well be that the greatest risk is presented from contamination of the outer packaging (pallet / shrink-wrap). These contaminants could be transferred into the food manufacturing environment if the pallet were taken 'as is' into the goods receipt area of the food manufacturer.

At the end of the day the warehouse should be 'fit for purpose' for storing food packaging materials and then you do not have to worry about an endless list of 'possible' contaminants. A fit for purpose warehouse facility would:

 be intact i.e. no leaks
 have a pest control system
 have segregated areas for high risk products
 be reasonably clean and have a cleaning schedule in operation
 have the doors closed when they are not in use
 have shatterproof or covered lighting

I recognise that it is often difficult to identify and control all of the transport modes and storage locations that your products traverse on route to the customer. However, you should take all measures reasonably possible to minimise the risks of contamination during this important and often neglected series of steps. At the very least you should have agreed hygiene standards with transport contractors, have a pre load hygiene check. It is also advisable to visit all of the warehouse facilities, this will enable you at the very least to make them aware of the products they are storing and help you to gain as many concessions as possible.

I hope this is of some help to you.

Regards,
Simon


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#3 mae

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Posted 10 March 2004 - 08:19 AM

:clap:
Hi Simon,

Thank you for this inputs. This will be very usefull for me in one of my tasks.

All the best to you!

mae

#4 Charles Chew

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Posted 12 March 2004 - 04:33 PM

Dear Simon,

I agree that without sufficient details of the warehouse, it is not possible to provide specific comments and your advice is as good as it gets.

For example, potential cross-contamination could indeed come from improper pest control activities leading to chemical hazards if the packaging material under storage has impact barrier strength that allows the integrity to be breached.

Physical impact damages arising from forklift activities could also lead to other unforeseen hazards i.e. opened secondary and tertiary packaging and so forth.

Other potential contaminations may possibly occur from several of the areas as highlighted in your advice. However, I have a question to ask participants in the forum.

Assuming that packaging materials stored at this warehouse were manufactured in a clean and hygienic condition, food auditors generally insist that "BEVERAGE CONTAINERS" of all sorts require to be rinsed prior to the filling and capping process.

However, what measures or activities of assurance do we need to provide for DRY FOODS say, a packet of chips. (Generally, no additional requirements are needed but instead rely significantly on Product Specifications)

Where and what is the rationale of this inconsistent approach? Can anyone willing to throw some comments into this issue?

Thanks.
Charles Chew :blahblah:


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#5 Simon

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 08:50 PM

Assuming that packaging materials stored at this warehouse were manufactured in a clean and hygienic condition, food auditors generally insist that "BEVERAGE CONTAINERS" of all sorts require to be rinsed prior to the filling and capping process.

However, what measures or activities of assurance do we need to provide for DRY FOODS say, a packet of chips. (Generally, no additional requirements are needed but instead rely significantly on Product Specifications)

Where and what is the rationale of this inconsistent approach? Can anyone willing to throw some comments into this issue?

Thanks.
Charles Chew  :blahblah:

Hi Charles, :bye:

Crazy isn't it. I'm only guessing but it probably stems from the fact that the bottling plants have always operated the rinsing process as a CCP. This may have been necessary pre modern hygienic packaging manufacture and supply, but time changes and perhaps they could now consider removing this process if the quality and hygiene of the beverage containers is assured by the HACCP system in operation at the packaging manufacturer. I suppose a lot of it is in the mind though.

I hope Franco sees this thread as he is works for a beverage company.

Regards
Simon

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#6 Simon

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Posted 14 March 2004 - 09:23 PM

Whilst we are on the subject of ‘how to ensure the safety of product' after it has left the factory gate; take a look at the article below on The Food Safety Magazine website - 'Transportation: The Squeaky Wheel of the Food Safety System'

http://www.foodsafet.../feat0310-3.htm

It's an interesting subject.

Regards,
Simon


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#7 Charles Chew

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 04:20 PM

Hi Simon,

A great piece of article on the risks of transportation of products from point to point.

I feel fortunate to be able to have access to whatever information that you as an administrator have provided to the forum so far and I know and appreciate the fantastic efforts made to make it available to us. No wonder this is the best forum to surf.

At our end, we always insist in having "food-grade containers" to avoid potential hazardous cross-contaminations from previous cargoes and also, pest infiltrations.

As for "tankers", there is a great deal of differences between "single-use in-house tankers" versus "multiple-use publicly operated tankers". The reasons are obvious.

From experience, temperature abuse on refrigerated trucks is a common occurrence and these can happen due to unscheduled stops, poor maintenance of refrigerating compressors, drivers deliberately turning refrigeration unit off just to get a bit more oomph! on the accelerator etc

Well the article says it all. Maintaining product integrity from the point of it leaving the facility is even more difficult and challenging task and the biggest obstacle remains the human factor.

It appears that the crticial control point (CCP) is the prescribed minimum temperature of the refrigerated truck. Whilst the record-keeping and monitoring activity is the refrigerated truck temperature log, could THE HAZARD in this case be the DRIVER :oops2:

It is indeed a very interesting subject and with this, I like to add that a HACCP Program does go beyond the boundary of a facility. Packaging in all forms including a refrigerated container (a tertiary packaging itself) remains vital in protecting the product (processed or not processed) until it reaches its destination.

More discussions are really required to expose the potential perils and how best to ensure the safety of products after it has left the factory :welcome:


Cheers,

Charles Chew


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#8 Simon

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 04:47 PM

I feel fortunate to be able to have access to whatever information that you as an administrator have provided to the forum so far and I know and appreciate the fantastic efforts made to make it available to us. No wonder this is the best forum to surf.

Hi Charles,

Thanks for your kind words Charles I'm pleased you find the forum a useful resource. However, it should be me thanking you, the forum really wouldn't amount to a hill of beans without people like you and we sincerely appreciate your continued support. :D

Like you say I think we've hit on an interesting area regarding protection during storage, transportation and delivery. It would be very interesting to hear how other members control this? Any horror stories? I'm sure there are...

Regards,
Simon

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#9 Charles Chew

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Posted 15 March 2004 - 05:23 PM

Simon,

A true story about a self-inflicted food safety hazard and as a matter of fact, the shipment of canned juice was bound for the UK. Manufacturers / exporters who are just starting out to export but lack product technical support should be careful.

Canned beverages are generally pasteurized and hot filled into 2 or 3-piece cans and seamed with a top lid and is inverted to kill bacteria on the 'cold end". The controlled temperature is often very high.

As this company never exported their products prior to receiving their first export order, no stress tests were done and it was assumed that the shipment should not encounter any "unusual" problems at all.

They had absolutely no idea that the heat generated inside the ship containers can be so intense that upon arrival, the entire shipment was practically a write off. The cans simple blew off their tops.

Just a small incident and I know of bigger ones too especially frozen but rotten fish on arrival.

Cheers
Charles Chew :doh:


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#10 Simon

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 09:25 AM

Hi Charles,

I think I'd prefer to clear up the juice than the rotten fish. It is a serious issue though.

On a slightly different note, many years ago I worked for a food packaging manufacturer who suffered a very large loss (5 figures) because of diesel contamination that occurred at some (unidentifiable) point during the delivery process. The Transport Company refused to accept liability - and they were adamant that they were not responsible for the contamination and anyway they had a 'signed delivery docket' from the customer saying that the goods were received in good condition. :cm:

We tentatively used the 'signed delivery docket' argument against our very important (7 figure) customer, but were quickly rebuffed. The customer didn't carry any diesel on site and basically we were left with nowhere to go and had to pick up the bill.

The learning point is that we entrusted our critical products that were produced hygienically and were destined for our most important customer to a transport carrier, who:

- we had no control over
- didn't understand the critical nature of the products they were carrying
- did not regard us as an important customer

The corrective action for us was to implement a Supplier Quality Assurance programme for transport suppliers, which included:

- agreed written hygiene standards
- visits to depots and warehouses
- a documented pre load hygiene check by our dispatch personnel

It's difficult to say what the corrective actions and the SQA prevented. However, the only incident over the next 3 years was contamination by strawberry jam and we knew who was responsible for that.

It is very difficult to assure the 'after the factory gate' steps when transport is outsourced, even when control measures such as the above are implemented.

Is anyone doing anything other than the above?

Regards,
Simon


Edited by Simon Timperley, 17 March 2004 - 03:10 PM.

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#11 Simon

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Posted 17 March 2004 - 08:14 PM

Hi Simon,

What can I say when the customer had signed for the goods confirming that they were received in good condition. It was suicidal.

Knowing that the company did not carry diesel inhouse did not make it foolproof or unlikely that it could had been an internal sabotage job for all we know. In fact, it would had been the perfect alibi too. :dunno:

Well, that just goes to show just how important having an effective in-coming goods checklist can do to save the company from losing big bucks one day.

Whilst, I am on the forum, I would like to raise a new topic which I hope you will place it in the correct section.

Charles Chew
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Charles,

Iv'e split your post and moved the: Metal Detection discussion

Regards,
Simon


Edited by Simon Timperley, 17 March 2004 - 08:22 PM.

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#12 APPAJI

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Posted 17 March 2006 - 12:35 AM

Dear Charls and others ,
In this all process I observe that the communication of the requirement of shipment to transportes is missing . Communication of food handling to next in chain is must otherwise this problum will keep repeating and clams will be problum as transporter is not aware of the requirements in handling food items :whistle:
appaji






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