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Is an exposed packaging area acceptable in a warehouse?


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#1 G. Desir

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 08:36 PM

Hello,

 

I need help confirming if this practice would be acceptable.

 

We are a refrigerated snack food producer. We have  2 production lines that lead into packaging room, all enclosed and ventilated. There is a plan to start new line, which will start in production area, and lead through an area into the warehouse (a hole will be made through the wall). The primary packaging occurs right before the products would be sent through the area in the warehouse. There are plans to enclose that area, but for the time being it will be an open section for secondary packaging. IS this something that would be acceptable for our SQF Food Safety audit?  The warehouse looks very much like a warehouse and I want to ensure this would be acceptable per SQF to communicate to the team?

 

Thank you,

GD



#2 SQFconsultant

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 09:12 PM

I wold have to say (without seeing some pics) that you should speed up your plans to get the area enclosed - I do not think this will be acceptable to an SQF Auditor.


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Glenn Oster
 
 
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#3 G. Desir

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Posted 30 April 2020 - 10:38 PM

Thank you. I anticipated it wouldn't and needed some additional expert opinion. I just couldn't find an exact code reference to defend the argument. The best I could argue is :

 

 

Product shall be processed and handled in areas that are fitted with a ceiling or other acceptable structure that is constructed and maintained to prevent the contamination of products. (SQF 11.2.3.6)

 

 

I will communicate my concerns to my team.

 

Thanks. 



#4 Mulan1010

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Posted 08 May 2020 - 11:03 PM

I was at a plant a couple of years ago that actually had this same type of scenario.  They had an SQF Audit and it was not marked as a non-compliance because they had assessed the situation and put in measures to control the possible hazards and protect the product.  SQF or not the main concern was the safety of the product.  If you can put in measures to assure that then you should be fine. They addressed it in their HACCP Plan and based on the hazard analysis they had procedures in place to control traffic around the area, listed the PPE required by employees, etc... They had also done extensive environmental testing, air testing and product testing to support the justification that the packing environment was not a hazard.

 

It is scary when situations are not ideal but many plants are limited by space and do not want to miss the opportunity for sales or growth so it is a balancing act with the end result being able to produce a safe product.  After doing a risk assessment if you do not believe the product can be protected and ensure it is safe and wholesome then you should not do it.



#5 FurFarmandFork

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Posted 11 May 2020 - 05:13 PM

The  primary packaging occurs right before the products would be sent through the area in the warehouse.

 

 

 

So they're already packaged and protected from contamination?

 

As long as your warehouse has the same controls as the retail environment (refrigerated, pest and weather prevention), it's fine. If it's open to air more concerning, but if it's leading into where you pack things in corrugate...if you've already sealed the food in something it's no higher risk than a pallet of packaged milk sitting in a refrigerated warehouse.

 

Unless you're describing something different with your primary packaging like wrapping a hamburger in paper, in which case the product is still exposed and I agree with the above.


Austin Bouck
Owner/Consultant at Fur, Farm, and Fork.
Consulting for companies needing effective, lean food safety systems and solutions.

Subscribe to the blog at furfarmandfork.com for food safety research, insights, and analysis.




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