This article is written to meet the following sections of the Standards:

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.15.1, 4.16.5 Handling of materials
BRCGS Packaging Issue 65.9.1, 5.9.6, 5.10.3 Handling of materials
BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 3Not applicable.
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 44.3.3, 7.2.1, 7.2.3 X, 12.4.1 Handling of materials
FSSC22000 Version 5.1No specific clauses.
IFS Food Version 7No specific clauses.
SQF Edition 9No specific clauses.

Handling

Materials must be handled to prevent contamination and damage. Handling includes off-loading, putting away materials and picking.

Off-loading

When off-loading temperature-controlled product, it must be carried out so that product temperatures are maintained. If the material is off-loaded into an ambient area, you’ll need to define the maximum amount of time it can be in that area – before it’s put into a temperature-controlled environment.

Putaway

Putaway is where the material is placed into its storage location. Making sure the material is stored correctly and segregated is important to control contamination.

Picking

When picking, staff need to understand if there are any restrictions on mixed loads. Sometimes you can’t put product on a vehicle together – this is called a mixed load. For example, you wouldn’t want to transport raw meat carcasses with ready-to-eat salad.

Handling procedures

When working out what handling requirements you need to train staff in, think about:

  • Rules which generally prevent damage.
  • If the materials need to be segregated and stored in specific places, for example allergens.
  • Where specific locations are important, for temperature.
  • Any rules about maximum timescales to put materials away, for example if they’re off-loaded in an ambient area and need to go in a chiller.
  • Whether unloading areas need to be designed, to prevent product mix-ups – meaning that materials must be offloaded to wait in certain locations.
  • What must be done with materials which require positive release.
  • How expiry dates may affect where the material must be placed.
  • How to put away or pick, based on stock rotation requirements.
  • If there are any limits to what materials can be handled at the same time (including rules for mixed loads).

Rebuilding pallets

Your site may need to re-pack materials. This may happen because the material on a pallet has become damaged. This means you need a procedure which you can use to train staff, so that they:

  • Construct the pallet (or other container) to the agreed configuration to prevent damage.
  • Band-wrap it or add other packaging to secure the materials.
  • Label the materials to ensure that traceability is maintained.

Pallet condition

Wooden pallets must be checked before use to ensure that they’re in good condition, dry, clean and free from contamination.

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