Some of our employees just got back from a show and while they were there they ran into several people who sell sprinkling systems and fire extinguishers. The ironic thing about this, is that the show was for cold storage facilities. As you might expect, they were thinking, so my frozen meat is going to catch fire? These people are wasting their time and funds. However, after speaking with them, they learned that just between 2005 and 2009 there were 1,310 fires ignited within cold storage warehouses and distribution centers in the U.S. alone. Why?!
Special Hazards in Cold Storage Warehouses
There are many unique hazards in a refrigerated warehouse that have combustible attributes throughout the building.
We can start with just the items that are stored. This frozen food is stored in cardboard. When cardboard becomes refrigerated, it drys it and then becomes combustible. This goes along with many other materials such as rubber tires, rolled paper, carpet, bailed fiber, lift truck batteries, and lighting within the warehouse. The lighting that companies use within these warehouses account for 12% of those fires that I mentioned before. If the bulbs explode and send hot fragments down, well there is the end of your building.
The other shocking detail is that foods such as food coloring and other frozen products such as this are flammable and are classified as a class II or class III commodity.
Cold storage warehouses also have unique insulation to ensure the cold air remains within the pre-established area. In order to maintain the temperature of a refrigerated warehouse, polyurethane and polystyrene foam are often used as insulators. Ammonia-based refrigeration equipment is common within a refrigerated warehouse. In concentrations of 15-28%, ammonia is extremely flammable.
It is necessary to have sprinkler systems within the cold storage unit to contain or extinguish any fires that may occur before it can spread by means of the insulation or refrigerant.
You learn something new everyday.
ASI Food Safety
On Monday June 19th, 2017, food safety icon David M. Theno, only 66, passed away after a wave hit him as he was getting out of the ocean, while swimming with his grandson.
Theno was best known for stepping up and reviving the food chain, Jack in the Box after the massive and deadly outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 in 1993; he was the senior vice president and chief food safety officer at the time. Since then he has become recognized worldwide for his leadership in the food safety industry.
Theno was one of the first to implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points in the facility, or HACCP, which we almost all have to have now. He required a finished product testing protocol, test and hold, which eventually became the norm for the meat industry.
Theno was with Jack in the Box for almost 16 years after the outbreak and then started the company Gray Dog, better known to serve the Milford, CT based Subway Restaurant chain and become the chief global food safety and quality officer.
Theno’s leadership in responding to the 1993 outbreak and challenge of E. coli O157:H7 has been recognized by numerous scientific and industry organizations.
Rest in Peace Mr. Theno. Your knowledge, efforts and insight will be missed.
It’s likely that the family will hold a memorial service in about three weeks in the San Diego area.
ASI Food Safety
I was reading an interesting article this morning that discussed how complicated the food industry has really become. There is so much to document, including items that you can not even control including other companies actions. You should have, at minimum, three months worth of documentation on incoming product and outgoing product.
I have seen a multitude of companies that can make your life much easier with documenting all of this. Just know that it has to be done to pass a food safety audit and to properly handle a food recall. It’s probably worth the money and headache to put some sort of program in place well ahead of the three month mark if you plan on having an audit or plan to continue to serve food to people.
Call us, we’re good at getting facilities going in the right direction.
The aspect of food safety, that is. I read a pretty interesting article today that went over what is required by the FSMA Produce Safety Ruling. There are a whole slew of things, but among them what I found that could be confusing, are the water rules.
You have to worry about Microbial Water Testing and understanding when water qualifies as agricultural water. Then you are required to do testing before, during and after harvest, and after all of that, you are also required to create a microbial water quality profile, MWQP. Luckily, there are resources available to you to help along the way.
Below is a link that I found helpful in explaining things in further detail if you are interested.
Produce Safety Alliance
I am on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus daily always looking out for the latest food safety news to keep everyone in the loop. I think the biggest shocker that I have seen, not just once as we all know, are the companies that are getting in trouble for cutting corners and killing people.
The latest one was a cheese sauce in a gas station and I read about a company that out of 4 samples taken, 3 had Salmonella. What!?! I guess I can’t stress enough that there are food safety laws for a reason and that of course the almighty dollar is important, Mothers, Daughters, Sisters etc., are more important.
There is a guy, which if you are really involved in the industry you will already know, Bill Marler. He has a great blog site, but basically all he does for a living is try and get justice for people that have been hurt or died from food. You need a reason to tighten up some of your procedures around your facility, read a few of these posts.
If you are running a company, you need to put some real thought into how you are going to handle caring for society. You can start by checking out the FDA website and reading more into FSMA https://www.fda.gov/food/guidanceregulation/fsma/ . All of the rules that were made here are to ultimately protect you, the Quality Assurance Manager of your food production, processing and distribution plant. Then in turn, it will protect the people who eat your food.
You want job security, give us a call. We will point you in the right direction.