Food production facilities are often expanded or reformatted, requiring construction in portions of the facility while operations continue.

These construction projects add hazards and headaches to the production process, and measures must be in place to limit risks and liabilities for the producing companies.

So, how do food companies help ensure safety during the construction process? Asking the following three questions is a good place to start.

Do you have a pre-, during and post-construction planning process?

If environmental monitoring is not increased during construction activities, checkpoints are missing as your risks climb for contamination. Debris and trash from the construction area must also be accounted for and a plan for removal mapped.

Organizations in this situation must prepare construction planning operating procedures and ensure all team members know the plan for foot traffic of employees and contract workers, controlling risks in the process. Contractors’ tools and machinery must also be managed.

Has a roof leak occurred that has not resulted in a cease production?

Roof leaks have contributed to several high-profile outbreaks of food-borne illness. The issues with this situation revolve around water and allowing bacterial growth. In the case of roof damage, a leak can bring in rainwater contaminated with bird droppings and various other microbial hazards.

Placing a bucket under a roof leak in a production area and continuing to operate is not acceptable. Roof leaks must be contained at the source and environmental sampling must be used to ensure the production area has been qualified and is “fit for use” prior to resuming production.

Is glass and/or wood is present in manufacturing areas?

Glass and wood are two of the largest contributors to foreign material complaints in food products. Remove all glass in production areas associated with infrastructure. Ensure exposed
wood is not present, as it can retain moisture and harbor microorganisms.

The end result of unmitigated risk in this area can be foreign materials occurring in your product line. Minimizing the presence of glass and wood, and ensuring a check-in, check-out process for tools and materials can help prevent these harmful occurrences.

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