If your facility produces a food product or a substance that is intended for food contact (i.e. food packaging, baby bottles, plastic cups, etc.), it is most likely regulated by FDA. Therefore, to pass the food-grade inspections, you must comply with regulatory requirements, including food contact regulations, that may depend on the nature of your product.
Luckily, most problems can be solved with simple corrections and diligent facility oversight.
What is a Food-Grade Inspection?
Government agencies conduct several types of food-grade inspections to protect public health from unsafe practices:
- pre-approval inspections
- routine inspections of a regulated facility
- “for-cause” inspection to investigate a newly reported problem
Food manufacturers, processors, and distributors are responsible for their products being safe, sanitary, and labeled in accordance with federal requirements. Certain products, like seafood and infant formula, have additional requirements to be healthful and free of contamination.
The same applies to facilities manufacturing and handling substances that are intended for food contact (like food packaging), or to be used as parts of products that are intended for food contact.
What Agencies are Responsible for Food-Grade Inspections?
Among other things, the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are government agencies responsible for the safety of the U.S. food supply, for both human and animal food. They regulate the activities that involve the food production process and food labeling.
In addition to regular food products, the FDA and USDA inspect bottled water, dietary supplements, food additives, color additives, infant formula, and human milk. USDA is specifically responsible for the regulation of meat, poultry, and certain processed egg products.
What Elements May Cause You to Fail a Food-Grade Inspection?
Any of the following elements may prevent your facility from passing a food-grade inspection:
- Peeling paint
- Dust (including loose and hardened combustible dust)
Why Dust and Cobwebs are Bad?
When the dust settles on your equipment or directly on your products, it may contaminate the substances and cause you to fail the food-grade inspections.
Dust may harbor a cocktail of toxic chemicals that can lead to a range of health hazards, from cancer to problems with fertility.
To take care of these risks, adopt a regular ceiling and wall cleaning at your facility.
How a Clean Facility Helps Pass Food-Grade Inspections
Any substance intended for food contact (or manufactured to be used as part of a product that is intended for food contact) is required to be inspected for food safety assurance. This is done to ensure that the product is free of toxic contaminants that could accumulate during the manufacturing process or handling.
The contamination can come from different sources:
- Unsanitary, dusty facility (examples: dirty equipment, dusty walls or ceilings)
- Unsanitary product handling (examples: dirty hands, sick employees)
Inspectors will notice if the facility is clean to make their final decisions. To ensure you dot the i’s and cross the t’s, add two essential items to your facility management:
- Equipment cleaning
- Ceiling and walls cleaning
Need help? Contact Kelly Industrial Services for a free quote to get your facility inspection-ready.