Food Safety Questions Answered: The Role of the Floor in a HACCP Food Safety Management System
Nov 03 2015
- Flowcrete Americas Seminar Explores the Role of the Floor & HACCP
- Floors, after walls, represent the largest area in a Food Plant
- HACCP based Safety Plans are legally mandated or highly recommended
- The Flowfresh range is HACCP International certified as food-safe
Last month, Flowcrete Americas had the opportunity to present a seminar as part of the Food Safety Summit’s Annual Resource Center at PACK EXPO, Las Vegas, which outlined the role of the floor in a HACCP Food Safety Management System.
At first glance, you may think that there is not sufficient material to dedicate a whole 30 – 60 minute slot on simply the role of flooring in this huge framework, however after walls, floors are the largest area within any food and beverage plant, they represent one of the largest areas of litigation and take a tremendous amount of abuse, foot traffic, rubber wheeled traffic, heavy equipment, chemical spillage, hot water washdowns and the like.
Thanks to gravity, it’s inevitable that at some point or another everything can and will end up on the floor. As such the material chosen to provide a protective floor coating plays a much larger role in food safety that one might originally suspect and should be taken seriously at design stage.
HACCP: The Background
HACCP as a risk assessment method for ensuring food safety is actually over 50 years old. In the early 1960’s a project team (NASA, US Army and Pilkington Food Group) designed a risk assessed based protocol for identifying and managing food safety hazards to prevent food poisoning from food rations taken aboard spacecraft.
This was successful and the protocol was incorporated into The Codex Alimentarius (a joint World Health Organisation / Food and Agriculture Organisation publication), which is freely available, and which sets out the rules and guidance on operating a HACCP based Food Safety Management System for the food industry globally to follow.
Food Safety Management Systems based on HACCP principles are now a legal requirement, backed by the USDA & FDA, in all meat, poultry, seafood and juice processing plants across the US.
On top of this, reforms including the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act also call for food manufacturers to adopt a method of prevention rather than responding to contamination outbreaks after the fact. As a result HACCP is emerging as an industry-standard concept and the US food and beverage processing community are taking HACCP seriously.
What Hazards Does HACCP Assess?
Well the simple answer is the hazard analysis aspect of the system addresses anything that could or may pose a risk, for example contamination risk through poorly cleaned or designed equipment, taints through unsuitable chemical usage, physical risks resulting from broken plastic or metals found in the factory, dirt from raw ingredients…the list is exhaustive.
As such, HACCP provides an advisory framework for each aspect of the design and construction of the food and beverage plant - including the floor.
What Does HACCP Say About Floors?
HACCP recommends that the floor is smooth finished and without cracks as seams, joints, grout lines and gaps can become ideal breeding sites for contaminants such as bacteria, fungi, mold and mildew. All of these could spoil consumable goods on the premises and potentially lead to fatal foodborne illnesses that could irreversibly damage a brand’s reputation and ability to function.
Having a seamless floor finish is vital to ensuring an effective cleaning program, allowing for the easy removal of contaminants. Resin flooring solutions can ensure a smooth, monolithic and crack free surface that will not only dramatically improve hygiene, but also protect the building’s concrete substrate and provide a level, reliable platform for the day-to-day operation of the facility.
However, the floor must also be robust and able to withstand the rigors of a production environment, which could include impacts from heavy traffic, equipment and dropped tools, thermal shock, wear from frequent cleaning and exposure to chemical abuse from sanitizers, acids, lubricants and the foodstuffs themselves.
If a floor cracks or splits then it no longer assists with removing pathogens, and instead becomes the perfect site for contaminants to thrive.
HACCP International Certification
Flowcrete Americas’ Flowfresh flooring range has been identified as food-safe for use in wet and dry food handling areas such as kitchens, production areas and processing areas operating a HACCP based Food Safety Program, noting the conditions of the certification statement SSZ.
Certification by HACCP International follows assessment of a product using a risk assessment based protocol very much based on that used by the food industry when following The Codex Alimentarius.
This risk assessment is performed against a generic standard, which outlines 9 key assessment criteria. Each criterion examines potential food safety hazards and assesses how the manufacturer of the equipment or material has controlled these potential hazards so that they do not adversely affect the HACCP based food safety management system operated by the food business.
HACCP International operates a world-renowned product certification scheme for equipment, materials and services used within the global food and beverage processing, production and packaging sector - confirming a product’s suitability for use within food businesses that operate to the world’s highest standards.
Flowcrete Group is now the only flooring manufacturer in the world to offer a silver-ion based antimicrobial treated, HACCP International certified cementitious urethane floor screed.
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Notes to Editors
Flowcrete Americas has its headquarters in Spring, Texas and and is part of the global Flowcrete organization. Flowcrete is part of The Euclid Group, the international construction chemicals group of RPM International Inc.
A world leader in the manufacture of seamless industrial and commercial resin floor, wall and coving solutions as well as other specialist coating technologies, Flowcrete Group has international manufacturing facilities in the Americas, Europe and Africa as well as Central and South East Asia.
Flowcrete supplies world-class seamless flooring solutions to transform environments across the globe including; decorative seamless resins, waterproof car park deck coating systems, seamless resin terrazzo, durable antimicrobial flooring, corrosion protection, self levelling underlayments, underfloor heating and now underfloor acoustic insulation.
Flowcrete's ambitious and dedicated team, led by President Craig Brookes, is inspired by excellence in people, products and service as well as continual innovation and sustainable growth.
Flowcrete continues to use its global expertise to introduce environmentally friendly, hygienic and aesthetically attractive floors to create a better and more sustainable world.
For further information please contact +1 936 539 6700. Or visit us on the web at www.flowcreteamericas.com.