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

BRCGS Food Safety Issue 84.15 Storage facilities

5.7 Product release

BRCGS Packaging Issue 65.9.1 – 5.9.5, 5.9.8 Storage of materials and positive release

4.1.5 External storage

BRCGS Agents & Brokers Issue 34.7.1 Positive release
BRCGS Storage & Distribution Issue 44.1.5 X External storage

7.2.4 XD Product storage

7.3.1 X Environmental control

7.5 Stock rotation

7.6.1 XD Product release

15.2 Contract packing storage

FSSC22000 Version 5.12.5.10 Storage and warehousing

ISO 22000:2018 8.2.4 g) Storage

IFS Food Version 74.14 Storage of goods (not 4.14.1)
SQF Edition 911.6.1 Storage of Goods

11.6.2 Cold Storage, Freezing, and Chilling of Foods

Storage Facilities

Storage, including off-site storage, must be controlled and segregated where needed, to protect materials from contamination, including taint or odour and malicious intervention.

The storage of materials or equipment outside, is only allowed where:

  • They’re protected from deterioration and contamination, including malicious contamination.
  • The materials are checked before being brought inside or are cleaned before being brought inside.
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Storage controls

A procedure must be in place which manages the requirements for storage of all materials, including rework, recycling and finished product.

The procedure needs to detail the controls including:

  • That a risk assessment must be used to identify what controls are needed.
  • Segregation controls for cross-contamination, taints and glass.
  • Storing materials off the floor and away from walls.
  • Storage conditions to meet the specification.
  • Resealing of any part-used materials before they’re returned to storage.

Temperature control

Where materials must be stored under temperature control, a procedure must detail how the control system monitors the temperature, against the acceptable limits.

The control system can be manual or automated. But where the system identifies that the temperature is outside the acceptable limits, the procedure must explain what corrective action must be taken.

Where possible, doors to temperature-controlled areas should be automatic, or fitted with an alarm, to stop them from being left open.

Frequency

The checks for temperature, if they’re not automated must be at a set frequency. The frequency must consider:

  • How likely the system is to fail.
  • How long the storage facility can maintain temperature.
  • How long it will take for the material temperature to be affected.

The idea is that the frequency must be set, so that there’s enough time to fix the problem before it affects the materials.

Records

The temperature control checks must be recorded, and they must also be verified. This means, that if the temperature monitoring is automated, you still need records of the checks to prove that they were correct. And someone needs to manually verify that they’re within the acceptable limits.

Alarms

If the system is automated, it must be fitted with an alarm so that action can be taken. The format of the alarm is up to you. It could be a simple audible alarm, or it could be a text sent to someone’s phone. Either way, there must be someone responsible for receiving the alarm and taking the required action. This also needs to happen outside of normal working hours.

Validation

The storage area needs be kept at a temperature which keeps the material at the temperature stated on the specification. The facility must also be able to keep its temperature even in worst-case situations, such as when it’s at full capacity or when external temperatures are high.

This means that the facility must be validated. The validation must include temperature mapping for new installations.

The validation must be repeated at a set frequency based on risk and also repeated where changes occur which may affect the previous validation.

Acceptable limits

The validation must define and validate the acceptable limits. The limits must consider:

  • The material specification.
  • Storage temperatures needed to achieve the target material temperature.

Corrective action

Corrective action procedures must be in place which ensure that all the material that may at risk is isolated. There must be a nominated person who can assess the investigation and decide what to do with the material.

Controlled atmosphere

Where controlled atmosphere storage is needed, the same requirements must be put in place as detailed in the temperature control section, including:

  • Having a defined monitoring system.
  • Frequency of checks.
  • Records.
  • Alarms.
  • Validation.
  • Acceptable limits.
  • Corrective action.

Stock control

Stock control must be applied so that materials are used on a ‘first in, first out’ basis.

Materials must only be used if they’re within their expiry date and have been approved where positive release is needed.

Where stock is dispatched, it must comply with the minimum life on delivery requirements stated on the specification.

Positive release

Positive release is where materials can’t be used until test results have been received. This is typically for safety purposes, so it’s really important that there’s a robust process that ensures that materials are only released when they’re approved. Therefore, a procedure must be in place which ensures that:

  • It identifies who can release materials.
  • The release system is secure to prevent unauthorised release.
  • Manual release is verified prior to loading.
  • The release is recorded.

The criteria that are used for release must be clear. So, you need to make sure that this information is provided to those who need it.

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