Consumable products must be handled in line with industry regulations at all points throughout the supply chain. Regulations surrounding the appropriate handling of food can be complex, but ensuring your storage and distribution practices meet all regulatory requirements is essential.
Here are three important things to think about when selecting a new warehouse facility or logistics partner.
1. Are your facilities appropriate for the types of food you are storing?
If you won’t be handling any products that require refrigeration, concentrate on securing a warehouse with appropriate dry storage facilities that will enable you to keep your products safe and protected from moisture. Storage equipment, such as shelving and lin bins, should be cleaned regularly to prevent contamination.
Alternatively, seeking a warehouse with refrigeration and/or freezer capabilities should be a priority if you know that you will be handling perishable items. All freezer and refrigeration facilities must be able to maintain a consistent temperature, so be sure to check that everything is in good working order before your stock is delivered. The Food Standards Agency has very clear refrigeration guidance that should be adhered to at all times.
2. Are your storage facilities well maintained?
All spaces storing food must be kept clean and free from anything that might have serious health implications for consumers further down the food chain. In addition to maintaining the inside of your warehouse, the exterior should receive the same level of care and attention. This will discourage pests such as insects and rodents and prevent the build-up of potentially harmful bacteria, fungus and mould.
A comprehensive maintenance schedule should be in place from day one and cover everything from the structural integrity of the building to the condition of the windows and doors.
3. How thorough are the hygiene and sanitation procedures?
Your warehouse must maintain consistently high levels of hygiene and sanitation to protect the integrity of your products and ensure they are safe to consume when they leave your facility. This means ensuring that all storage solutions, such as lin bins, boxes and shelving, are sanitised regularly.
There should be enough handwashing sinks within your warehouse and the staff working there must practise consistently excellent standards of personal hygiene. A comprehensive sanitation and cleaning schedule must be in place, with regular monitoring to ensure that proper procedures are followed.