Keys to compliance in food warehousing

August 12, 2022 | Supply Chain, Third-Party Logistics (3PL)

The storage of food in warehouses is an exacting process that requires resources, expertise and diligence. If your warehouse provider falls short in caring for your food, then your product will suffer, putting its freshness, quality and even viability in the marketplace at risk. When you work with a warehouse provider, you want to be sure that they are equipped to provide the ideal conditions for your product so that it reaches its destination in the best possible shape for your consumers. You can’t risk them falling short. 

For companies looking for food warehousing partners, a provider’s proven dedication to compliance is a vital characteristic to consider. Compliance is at the core of a successful and safe food warehousing operation.

Distribution Technology, a third-party logistics provider in Charlotte, North Carolina, offers highly rated food-grade warehouse and distribution in a rail-served facility with temperature-controlled and refrigerated space. We have extensive experience working with an array of suppliers of food products and getting their items to the shelves on time and fresh.

Basics of compliance

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act serves to regulate not only food production but also gives the Food and Drug Administration authority related to the food supply chain, including food products’ storage in warehouses and their transportation in and out of them. A proficient warehouse provider is prepared to manage all compliance matters related to the FSMA on a reliable, consistent basis. 

A published food safety plan

Warehouses that receive and distribute food are required by the FSMA to have a published food safety plan. This plan should ensure products are maintained in a way to prevent contamination by any physical, chemical or biological hazards. The plan should include guidelines governing temperature controls, food allergen controls (including preventing cross-contamination – a common cause of recalls), sanitation controls, pest controls, chemical controls, transportation procedures, and foreign material controls (ensuring other materials at the warehouse cannot contaminate food products). The plan should include employee training and practices designed to ensure the safety of the food, such as restricting where employees can eat, drink and smoke at the warehouse, ensuring sick employees do not handle products and establishing guidelines for care of uniforms and gloves, among other details.

Temperature and climate-controlled conditions

Crucial to finding the right warehouse for your food or beverage product – and meeting food compliance standards – is identifying a provider, such as a 3PL, that will reliably keep your product in the proper conditions at all times to maintain its freshness. Food warehousing can mean storing products at a variety of temperatures. At Distribution Technology, our facilities can manage food products that should be kept in ambient, air conditioned or refrigerated space, including offering large coolers with temperatures that can drop to 36 degrees for a variety of product types. Warehouses dedicated to storing food at any or all of those temperatures must maintain those conditions to remain in compliance. In addition, warehouses with food storage must regulate the humidity of their spaces to keep food fresh. 

Monitoring, Oversight and Recalls

As part of FSMA compliance, food warehouse providers must ensure – and document – that they are properly monitoring and managing the preventive controls they have put in place, including verifying that guidelines are followed and taking corrective action whenever standards are not met. Workers must have adequate training, education and experience to handle the tasks they are assigned. You will want to work with a food warehouse provider who understands the intricacies of the food regulatory landscape – keeping track of updates and changes as they occur – while also tailoring their processes to serve your particular products. Processes should include preparation and planning dedicated to the possibility of a recall, including ensuring the proper resources are in place for efficient, targeted notifications. Effective inventory management, including a reliable warehouse management system for tracking and managing products, can help ensure stock is properly rotated, products are shipped in the proper order and the optimum freshness for products is met.

Distribution Technology operates 1.2 million square feet of warehouse logistics space across a campus environment network of six facilities in the Charlotte, North Carolina region. We handle nationwide and international supply chain logistics services with coast-to-coast routes and port-to-warehouse lanes opening opportunities for Fortune 500 companies and small to medium sized firms throughout the Carolinas and beyond. For more information, contact us today.