When creating a food storage warehouse, some considerations may be unnecessary when creating warehouse spaces to store furniture, machinery, or other goods. It isn’t as simple as erecting several wire shelving units and finishing the job. Here’s a helpful guide to how to best create a comprehensively safe and effective food storage warehouse.
What kind of food needs to be stored?
Before you start looking for warehouse spaces, it is crucial to take into account the type or types of food you will be storing in the warehouse. Some of the most common types of food-grade warehouse storage is designed for cold or frozen food storage, chilled or refrigerated storage, or dry food storage.
If you are storing multiple kinds of food that will need to be stored in different environments from each other, this is another consideration that will need to be thought about when picking a space, because you may have to control the climate in different areas of your warehouse space.
Making a warehouse a food-grade warehouse
Not just any warehouse is suitable for the storage of food. When searching for warehouse space, make sure you are looking for factors that will make your food storage as efficient and hygienic as possible.
For example, a building with leaks in the walls, roof, or any part of the foundation will not serve as a hygienic or appropriate food storage facility due to its inability to keep the outside temperatures and weather outside the confines of the warehouse. The same reasoning applies to finding holes in the windows or the window frames of the warehouse, as well as building damage such as holes, cracks, or open pipes on the exterior or interior of the building.
If there is standing water, trash, weeds, or rodent tracks and burrows around the perimeter of the building, this is also a red flag should you want to store food in this warehouse.
If a substantial amount of cleaning agents and pesticides have been stored in the warehouse before your purchase of it, this space might not be ideal for storing foods, even if they are packaged, because of the increased risk of contamination.
Separation of problematic foods
If you are storing foods that you are worried about receiving cross-contamination from other foods, such as allergen cross-contamination or odor contamination, it is important to make sure that you keep foods that are contamination risks separate from the rest of the food you are storing.
Wire shelving and other racking systems, like the ones sold by Shelving + Racking Systems, Inc. are an excellent separation solution. Wire shelving is a popular option for food storage because it provides ventilation to help keep your chilled or dry goods fresh. It is also easy to wipe down in case of spills and can be fixed or free standing.
Employees in food storage warehouses also need to be aware of the sensitive nature of the materials they are working with. The company must supply its own soaps and sinks, as well as hygienic drying systems for employees to dry their hands after washing.
Employees should also be trained in areas such as personal hygiene, food safety, crisis management, quality awareness, and traceability before beginning to work in the food storage facility.
The food storage facility should be cleaned thoroughly and properly and must be kept tidy and neat at all times. Housekeeping and cleaning in the warehouse should also be very thoroughly documented, in case it needs to be presented to a customer or anyone threatening legal action against the facility.
This sanitation regimen also should include regular pest control. Updates to the pest control regimen should be documented and updated quarterly to keep up with the evolution of the warehouse and the food it is storing.
Lot traceability is a final and essential part of keeping a hygienic warehouse environment. A system should be implemented that can track the items brought into the warehouse for storage, and goods should be transported under a “first in, first out” system to make sure that food is moving smoothly through the storage process. This inventory rotation should also be documented well.
Our in-house fabrication department can help you design your food storage shelving, and our insured installation crews can assemble and install the equipment. Please call 1-800-589-7225 (RACK) or complete our online contact form to speak to a member of our team about your food storage needs.