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Solving the Problem of Cross Contamination in the Warehouse

Warehouse

If you are in the business of storing, processing, manufacturing or transporting food products, then your number one issue will be hygiene and safety. At every part of the food production process, there are risks of contamination, which can mean the loss of an entire production line, warehouse or shipment of food. The consequences to the safety of the end-user, whether human or animal, and to the reputation and success of your business can be devastating.

According to the most recent World Health Organisation figures food poisoning kills around 420,000 people worldwide annually, partly due to the increased globalisation of food production but the mishandling and careless contamination of food are a factor along with greater pressures on food production and warehousing processes. It is vital that warehouses are kept as free from cross-contamination as possible and the most efficient barriers are PVC door curtains.

How Does Food Contamination Occur?

When insects, rodents, dirt, dust and other debris are allowed into an area where food products are then contamination is always bound to be the result. If there are any parts of the warehouse or storage areas that are less than pristine, this will impact on the purity and viability of the product. Visitors or employees moving around the premises can also transfer contaminants into the food areas with devastating and speedy results mainly if there is any issue with illnesses such as coughs, colds and flu. If any form of bacteria is introduced either by airborne or direct contact, this is enough, especially in combination with unclean conditions, to cause a growth of harmful diseases like salmonella, listeria and e-coli. An outbreak of diseases like this can easily cause the complete shutdown of a food storage or production facility.

How to Avoid Contamination

It stands to reason that access to food production, packaging and storage areas should be restricted to essential personnel only. Those who are working in these areas should wear the appropriate protective clothing and hair coverings. The use of hand washing and sterilising facilities should be compulsory.

As food products move between different parts of the warehouse, they are at risk of contamination. Separate areas should be sectioned off or divided up accordingly. PVC door curtains are an effective barrier against contamination by multiple pathogens and also provide a way for personnel and machinery to move safely through them without needing to touch any part of them.

Temperatures should be carefully maintained at the correct levels for the product. If this part of the process fails, then food products can be spoiled and rendered unusable. PVC door curtains are the solution here as well as they help to prevent heated or cooled air from escaping and keep out draughts. When you maintain the correct temperature, you can notice a significant savings on your energy costs. Work to keep any food production and storage areas dry to avoid the build-up of mould and bacteria.

Separate out raw foods from other food products and allocate specific personnel to the handling of each. Cross-contamination occurs when the same person handles products at different stages.

Don’t Bring the Outside In

Contamination can easily occur if the exterior of your premises is dirty and poorly maintained. You should take care around main entrances and collection and delivery points. These areas should be kept scrupulously clean, and anyone coming in from the outside should abide by stringent hygiene regulations. Any machinery like forklift trucks and pallet loaders should be kept clean at all times to avoid bringing in mud and debris.

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