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Food Safety and Environmental Services
Food Processing and Food Handling Basics (Page 2)
Premises and Surroundings
Outside surroundings should be evaluated for sources of contamination such as vermin, bird harborage areas, drainage problems, odor problems, debris, refuse, and pollution-smoke, dust, other contaminants. Appropriate steps must be taken to contain and control any potential sources of contamination.
Buildings and Facilities
The two most important overall elements of any food processing and handling facility is that it should be cleanable, and so designed and constructed that it prevents entrance or harborage of pests or other sources of contamination. Unfortunately, many existing facilities do not readily meet these essential elements.
Design and Construction
The facility should have floors, walls, and ceilings constructed of suitable, approved materials which are durable, smooth, impervious and easily cleaned. Walls should be light colored and well-joined, and floors should be adequately sloped for drainage to trapped outlets. Openings to outside and/or non-food-processing or -handling rooms or facilities must be sealed. Instrument panels should be appropriately locked and sealed to prevent harborage of insects. Windows and doors must be tight and close-fitting. And doors in food-processing areas self-closing.
Overhead Structures and Lighting
Overhead structures should be situated and constructed to prevent contamination of the food products, and lighting is to be adequate with properly sealed, safety type overhead fixtures.
Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC)
Systems must be designed and installed to prevent build-up of heat, steam, condensation, or dust, and to remove contaminated air. Positive air pressure is required in microbiologically sensitive areas. HVAC systems should be designed to be cleanable, and air intakes located to prevent intake of contaminated air.
Drainage and Sewage Systems
Appropriate traps and vents are to be used throughout. There should be no potential of cross connections existing between human waste effluent and other wastes in the plant. Appropriate vacuum breakers or air breaks must be used.
Facilities designed to prevent contamination should provide for the sanitary storage of waste and inedible material prior to their removal from plant or surroundings. Waste containers are to be clearly identified.
General Protection from Contamination
In general, the facilities and various non-product contact surfaces and equipment must be evaluated to assess potential for food-product contamination. Shielding from overhead contamination should be provided as deemed necessary. Examples include: shielding over food product fillers or bottle conveyers, shielding from refrigeration unit drip in coolers, sneeze guards on food service serving lines, etc.
A well designed food processing or handling facility is constructed to minimize traffic to prevent contamination. It is desirable to have a product flow-through that physically and operationally separates raw product functions from processing functions and finished product functions in order to avoid cross-contamination. Boiler and engineering rooms must always be separated from food processing and handling areas.
Washrooms, Lunchrooms, Change Rooms
Self-closing doors must be provided for all washroom facilities. Washrooms, lunchrooms, and change rooms must be separate from-and not directly entered from-food-processing and -handling areas. Such facilities are to be properly ventilated and maintained.
Hand Washing Facilities
Sufficient numbers of hand washing sinks, with hot and cold potable water, soap, sanitary hand drying supplies or devices, must be provided in washrooms. A sufficiency of suitably located hand washing sinks are also necessary in food processing and handling areas. Hand washing sinks should be separate from sinks used for equipment cleaning and other operations.
Water Quality Program
A potable water, steam, and ice supply is imperative for sanitary food-processing and -handling. Compliance with appropriate regulations and standards must be verified through testing programs. Water treatments (such as chlorination systems, ozonation, demineralization, filtration, etc.), if applied, must be maintained. Adequate water temperatures and pressures are to be provided in processing areas.
Food Processing and Handling Continued: Page 3