Product integrity means everything to producers of food and pharmaceutical products, so it needs to be equally important to providers of food and pharmaceutical storage facilities. We all know that these facilities must go to great lengths to keep products at appropriate temperatures and protect against damage. But, they must also prevent cross contact between products – not only to preserve product integrity, but to protect the 15 million Americans who have a food allergy.
What Is Cross Contact?
Food and pharma products are sensitive items that don’t always play nice with others. The efficacy of pharmaceuticals and the safe consumption of foods can be severely impacted if those products are exposed to other products. For example, 8 items – milk, peanuts, eggs, soy, tree nuts, wheat, fish, and shellfish – account for 90% of allergic reactions in the U.S. each year. Something as seemingly benign as a pallet of bananas can thus pose serious health risks to the population if, for instance, that same pallet previously held a nut product. The prevention of cross contact (i.e., exposure of one product to another) is therefore paramount at food and pharmaceutical storage facilities such as 3PL warehouses.
Preventing Cross Contact
There are many steps that can – and must – be taken to prevent cross contact at food and/or pharmaceutical storage facilities. These include adherence to all related GMP and FSMA/Food Safety Plan regulations, as well as the facility’s written policies and procedures. Cross-contact-prevention measures include:
- Separation of materials. Products in the food and pharmaceutical warehouse must be separated – and kept separate – from each other. This includes movement of products through unauthorized areas. For example, at Kanban’s warehouses, certain products can only be unloaded, stored, or transported within a designated section of the warehouse by authorized personnel.
- Education of Associates. Warehouse staff must be adequately trained to recognize the potential allergens at the facility, the opportunities for cross contact, and the policies and procedures in effect at the facility.
- Designation of facility sections. Areas of the warehouse containing sensitive items must be clearly identified; unapproved equipment and unauthorized personnel must be prevented from entering each given section.
- Sanitation efforts. Associates must wash hands with soap and water after handling any food or pharma product. Appropriate clothing must be worn and changed or cleaned as needed. Equipment and storage areas must be maintained and cleaned in accordance with facility and/or regulatory requirements.
- Designation of supplies. Supplies such as stretchwrap and pallets can be designated for a specific product type and their use will be solely limited to that product type.
- Quarantine of rejected items. Rejected pharmaceutical items must be appropriately identified and quarantined in order to prevent their use. Similarly, incomplete or incorrect packaging for any item – food or pharma – should result in removal of that product from the product pool until it can be repackaged or discarded.
Kanban Food and Pharmaceutical Storage Facilities
At Kanban, we operate in strict compliance with GMP regulations, Food Safety Plans and regulations from a variety of other agencies. We meet all requirements of ISO:9001:2015 quality standards. We also have a superior rating from AIB International.
If you’re considering food and/or pharmaceutical storage facilities for warehousing of your products, learn how Kanban has the facilities, the staff, and the commitment to quality to ensure the integrity and safety of all your products.