A food-grade warehouse is a specialized facility that provides different types of storage for food products, including ambient, refrigerated, and frozen space. These facilities adhere to precise Federal, State, and local guidelines to operate and must also undergo rigorous evaluation by food safety management systems like the Safe Quality Food Institute or ASI Food Safety.
What are the requirements for a food-grade warehouse?
All food grade facilities must register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and undergo annual inspections. Additionally, the operation requires a state food license, adherence to Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) guidelines, and a Preventative Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI) on staff to oversee the Food Safety Plan.
This Food Safety Plan must contain certain Good Manufacturing Processes (GMPs). These GMPs include:
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plan
- Sanitation and cleaning procedures
- Preventative maintenance
- Non-conformance product procedures
- Food security and defense plan
- Glass and clear plastic policies
- Safety of water supply
- Visitor Policy
- Customer complaint process
- Pest control
- Personnel Practices Program
What disqualifies a warehouse as food grade?
Food-grade warehouses must maintain proper health and sanitation to protect the products they store. These facilities must focus on key areas to ensure safe storage and there must be an absence of:
- Leaks in the walls, roof, or edges of the foundation
- Trash, weeds, or rodent tracks/burrows within the building perimeter
- Holes in windows or frames
- Exterior damage
- Cleaning products, pesticides, or chemicals near the general storage area
- Cross-contamination from odor
Operating food-grade warehouse space
Running a warehouse that meets these requirements can feel daunting when it is outside your core competency. Often, companies choose to outsource food-grade warehousing to a third-party logistics (3PL) provider with expertise in the matter. If this is the route your company chooses, there are some things you will want to keep in mind when you are looking for a 3PL, including:
- Temperature integrity
- Lot traceability
- No allergen cross-contamination
- GMP audit scheme
- Food Safety Plan with written GMPs
WOW Logistics’ Food Grade Storage Solutions
WOW Logistics® is an industry-leading food-grade storage provider. We are the only 3PL company in the United States that is ASI audited at the rigid food processor level, and consistently score above 97 percent. WOW also differentiates itself from other food-grade warehousing providers in the following ways:
- Exceptional Staff – WOW not only staffs PCQI certified personnel, but also employs HACCP trained staff at every location. Additionally, designated individuals sit on the International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA) Food Safety Council who work hand in hand with the FDA to understand FSMA 3PL regulations.
- Top-tier Technology – Our Warehouse Management System (WMS) can track lots within minutes, and our online portal offers real-time temperature tracking with automated alerts if anything falls out of spec.
- Superior Processes – WOW has a detailed food safety manual located online that is updated frequently and is easily accessible to employees.
Learn more about WOW Logistics by exploring our website.