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Zoning for multiple facilities

zoning SQF

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 06:51 PM



I am having a hard time finding guidance on some zoning questions I have with respect to SQF.


I have multiple facilities.  1st processing facility is a raw facility where ingredients are received, processed and sent to a third party for tempering.  Once the tempering is complete, the product is sent to a different facility (ours) where it is formed and packaged (all raw, but frozen).  A portion of this frozen product is placed into WIP, after forming, and sent to yet another facility (ours) where it goes through further processing (frozen, raw to a low moisture product).


My question:  Can I zone my first facility as "RED", on a map, because it is processed from frozen raw to ground raw? "Blue" for the frozen raw to packaged facility, and "Yellow" for the low moisture facility?  Or would I have to color zone red, blue and yellow for each facility?  Basically, my ops team thinks that all three facilities (while being separate from each other (as is miles apart from each other)) should be categorized as though it is one whole facility. I am just unsure if I can zone in this manner.  


Thanks in advance for any help.




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Posted 10 September 2018 - 08:48 PM

I suppose it depends on whether you have red blue and yellow zones in each facility, or if you're wholistically approaching things from rte vs nonrte or temp controlled vs non.


What's the purpose of the zoning, and what specific SQF clause are you trying to address?

Austin Bouck
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Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

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Posted 10 September 2018 - 11:58 PM

I agree with FFF - WHAT CODE IN SQF are you attempting to address?

Onto the second part... I agree with the team that each facility is a separate entity... if I read that correctly that is.

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 05:34 AM

Hi Katie,


As per the previous 2 posts we need to understand what you are trying to comply with and what you are trying to achieve?


The SQF Code has the following terms when referencing zones but no requirement for zoning as you are describing:

Food handling or contact zone

Food handling/contact zones

Food contact/handling zone

Processing zones

Product zones

Product handling or contact zone

Product contact zones

Product contact/handling zone

Product handling/contact zone


It is likely that each facility will have different areas of risk and so zones (open product vs. enclosed product) rather than one facility being a whole zone. For example, take the BRC standard, where there is a requirement to identify different production risk zones within the processing and storage facilities which require corresponding levels of hygiene and segregation to reduce the potential for product contamination with pathogenic micro-organisms:

These production risk zones or areas are classified as:

Open product areas, consisting of:

• high risk (chilled and frozen)

• high care (chilled and frozen)

• ambient high care

• low risk

Enclosed product areas (e.g. warehouses and storerooms)

Non-product areas (e.g. canteens, laundries and offices)


Kind regards,



Brendan Triplett

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Posted 11 September 2018 - 10:54 AM

My belief here is that you are looking at a multi-facility program which most likely has you using multiple HACCP Plans to cover different risks in each of the facilities.  I cannot imagine that you would have all of the same risks.  I think that your best bet is that if you focused on zoning that you should look to have zones for each building.  Common reasoning behind the zones would make sense so that you have company cohesion on what each zone means in each building (all red zones in the building means the same thing, all blue zones mean the same thing, etc.) but you are more likely to have safe zones and danger zones in every building more than you are likely to have a building be all one singular zone.



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Posted 11 September 2018 - 11:49 PM

Hi, Katie.


What are the risk associated with the process that you have? and what are the mitigating steps for the risk that you assessed? You can decide on the zones based on this assessment.  Once you have the above, ensure that proper barriers (physical such as walls, doors, etc.. or visual such as color changes, uniform changes, etc)  from zones (or rooms are available) and correct flow (material, people, equipment, air) is in place.


Agree on post #2, #3, #4, in example, you are processing raw nuts and raw potatoes that you packed differently, you cannot just "zone" that materials into one as you have different hazard. It may need different room, different cleaning implements or routines at entry.

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