Tip of the Week: Facility Fitness

Get fit with AIB! In July our Tip of the Week series featuring our Plant Education (P.E.) tips to get your facility in shape. This week we're featuring tips on chemical control.

Chemicals, including those used for production, sanitation, maintenance, pest control and laboratory work, are essential in a food plant. However, if the wrong chemicals are used or if the right chemicals are misused, there is a risk of product contamination that could lead to serious consumer health risks. Mishandling of chemicals can also lead to health risks for employees. A complete and effective Chemical Control Program must be in place to ensure that necessary plant chemicals do not pose a risk to product or personnel. 

The Chemical Control Program must address all chemicals on-site, including production, sanitation, maintenance, laboratory, and pest control chemicals. 

  • All chemicals on-site must be identified on a chemical log. 
  • Secured and segregated storage must be provided for all chemicals. 
  • Secondary containers must clearly be identified to prevent cross-contamination through re-use of containers and to prevent misapplication of chemicals. 
  • Only chemicals approved for food handling facilities should be used in product storage or handling areas. 
  • Chemicals brought on-site by contractors must be included in the program. 
  • A defined approval process for chemicals will help to ensure that appropriate chemicals are brought on-site and that proper notifications associated with the new chemical are made.

It is of little value to have a documented and detailed Chemical Control Program if employees are not aware of the actions they must take. All employees must be made aware that no chemicals are allowed on-site without approval. In other words, no employee can purchase a chemical from a local store or bring one from home to the facility. All employees must also be educated about the risk that mishandled chemicals may pose to themselves and to the product. They should also be trained regarding any color-coding that may be used in addition to labeling to discourage to the misuse of containers. 

Specific training is necessary for anyone handling chemicals, including receiving or using chemicals. Employees should know how to properly store and apply chemicals, how to fill out associated documentation including inventory logs, how to read an MSDS and associated procedures such as health hazards, PPE, first aid, etc.

Use this helpful checklist to grade your facility's chemical control fitness today!