This FSMS guide is applicable for food businesses involved in storage of the food grains. The major activities in the warehouse comprise of the following:
- Procurement of grains
- Transportation of the grains
- Grain Storage and Handling
- Blending/Quality Verification
- Packaging and Labelling
ESTABLISHMENT – DESIGN AND FACILITIES
The warehouse must be located away from locations where there is
- environmental pollution
- pest infestations
- industrial activities that can cause contamination
- should be located on level ground that is slightly raised above the surrounding area, is well-drained and not prone to flooding
- site boundaries must be identifiable to prevent sabotage and theft It must have
- walls to keep out stray animals and rodents from entering the warehouse premises structure should be free from passing over of any tension electric line, gas and oil pipelines
- ideally situated near a transport head or main road or have access to main road
- sufficient berthing, loading and unloading facilities must be available if the warehouse is situated at a ferry road, railway station, airport etc.
Premises and rooms –Layout, internal structures and fittings
The warehouse should
- be of sufficient size to allow handling and storage of food products so there is no product contamination
- have proper space for inward and outward vehicle movement
- Conveyors and openings for transfer of materials must be designed to minimize contamination from foreign matter, pests, etc.
- Be free of flaking paint, condensate from overhead pipes, exhaust fans, grease, fraying insulation, undesirable moulds or dirt
- have under the floor conduits for air, water, electricity
- proper signage for all storage and non-storage-rooms
- have non-toxic, non-absorbent and crack resistant material that is smooth and easy to clean so they can be maintained to minimize accumulation of dirt and mould
- level and flat surface for smooth operations
- be impermeable to water or have a moisture barrier like a polythene film
- non-slip and graded to prevent stagnation of water
- general warehouse space must have concrete which can carry lorry load and withstand abrasion
- must be designed to prevent entry of pests and insects
- openings must be covered with wire mesh
- must prevent stagnation of water and have grated covers
- The number of doors will vary according to the size of the warehouse
- Double sliding doors are recommended or with self-closing devices, preferably made of steel or reinforced along their lower edges with metal plate, rubber strips as protection against rodents, dust, pests, etc.
- If swing doors are fitted they should open outwards in order not to reduce the storage capacity of the warehouse
Walls and Ceilings
- Walls and ceilings must have smooth and crack resistant surface, easily cleanable and plastered
- Design of walls must allow infiltrating water to evaporate without collecting in wall crevices
- Walls must be light coloured without flaking paint
- Ceiling design must minimise accumulation of dirt, condensation and growth of undesirable moulds and shedding of paint or plaster particles
Windows, roof vents, doors and other openings
- Need to be screened with wire mesh to prevent entry of flies, insects, pets and animals and should be removable for cleaning
- Glass window panes should be laminated, constructed of alternative materials such as PVC or protected to ensure that the product is not contaminated by breakages
Water must be
- potable and have BIS standards of drinking water IS 10500
- tested once a year for compliance
- covered if in tanks and manholes must be locked
- Systems must be constructed to prevent contamination
- Containers and bins must be colour coded
- No waste to be kept inside premises
- Discarded packaging material and gunny bags should not be dumped around the building
Personal hygiene facilities and employee facilities
- personal hygiene facilities and toilets
- clothing and safety footwear
- facility for washing and drying of hands
- rest and refreshment room facility
Food grains in the warehouse have to be
- preserved scientifically
- protected against rodents, insects and pests and other infestations
- stored off the floor and walls on pallets/tarpaulins
Stack numbering scheme (layout) should be displayed in each warehouse clearly labelling the location and number of each stack. Each material or lots should be stacked separately so there are no mix-ups. Dusting and fumigation must be done periodically so food grains are preserved.
ESTABLISHMENT – CONTROL OF OPERATIONS
Control of operations is necessary to produce safe food which is fit for human consumption. Therefore it is important to design, implement, monitor and review effective control systems.
Food grains are usually received at the warehouse by truck or rail. The sample should be inspected and tested for impurities, moisture content, insect infestation and sprout damage. If it is found that the quality is acceptable as is stated on the grading certificate received, the food grain can be unloaded.
Each vehicle must be inspected before loading for infestation, spills, rodents, insects and pests.
Vehicles must be
- free of spillages and residual grains which may be allergenic in nature
- weather proof and free of humidity and material must not be incompatible with food grains
- cleaned on a regular basis
Food grains in the transport must
- be fully covered with tarpaulin
- have no physical damage to the stock
- be samples to assess quality and maintain traceability
- be unloaded in individual stacks, with tarpaulin layer or on the floor directly, provided it is non-absorbent
- be segregated from corresponding stacks and fumigated
- All fumigated stocks should be always kept under covering to avoid cross-infestation.
Storage and handling
Silos, storage bins should be clean and storage pallets (stands) must be free of damages, wood splinters or protruding nails. Racks and pallets must be maintained in good condition and must be regularly inspected to ensure they are free from mould, moisture and infestation. They must not be broken or decayed and must be stable so they don’t collapse.
Stacking of Grains
- Stack numbering scheme (layout) should be displayed in each warehouse and unloading should be done in individual stacks with at least a meter gap with next stack or wall for people movement and cleaning.
- Stack register to be maintained which shows the entire history of each stack
- Stack card for each stack should be displayed prominently and should be always accessible. The data should be updated immediately after completion of stacking or issuance or any treatment or disinfestations.
- Stacks/bags under fumigation must be covered and sealed to ensure no open ends or loose seals are present. Stocks under fumigation must be identified and labelled. Fumigation must be carried out only by trained and experienced fumigator with a valid certification
- Floor must be flat and free of stones and other sharp objects, drains, so that a gastight seal can be made between the sheets and the surface
Handling the Damaged Goods
- The damaged goods should be stored in a designated area in order to not expose other products within the storage facility to contamination or probable infestation.
- There should be different storage facility for food grains that are on recall
- All labelling must be removed from damaged goods that are to be disposed to prevent the products from re-entering the distribution chain.
Blending and quality verification
- Approved and rejected material must be clearly marked and segregated
- Sampling must be done prior to issuance of any grain consignment or stack for production per specification for ascertaining absence of infestation
- All the records must be preserved till the shelf-life of the product or one year whichever is longer
ESTABLISHMENT – MAINTENANCE & SANITATION
Warehouse shall adopt adequate strategies inclusive of but not limited to
- Clean exterior grain handling areas and equipment
- Inspect and clean the entire warehouse to prevent build-up of dust and debris
- Warehouse must adopt dry cleaning methods and avoid introduction of water so use broom sweeping, dry wiping, vacuum cleaning
- Warehouse must be disinfested with approved agents or thermally at periodic intervals and is different from grain fumigation
- Pesticides application within warehouses may involve fumigation, space treatment and the application of residual sprays
- Fumigants used are broad spectrum insecticide and kill all living creatures in enclosed area. There are only two fumigants registered in India – phosphine and methyl bromide. Both are classified as restricted pesticides due to extremely toxic nature.
- It is very important for exporters/warehouse owners to select a pest management company carefully as it must have experienced, well qualified and trained personnel and the knowledge of Indian fumigation standards, quarantine procedures also the guidelines & procedures laid down by the European, Australian, American plant protection and quarantine authorities to carry out these extremely dangerous services.
- Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting gas, its use is legally restricted only for quarantine and pre-shipment fumigation purposes in India and governed by Directorate of Plant Protection, Quarantine and Storage which authorizes and issues licenses to fumigators.
- The most effective method to ensure food safety against pests is fumigation with phosphine (PH3) gas. Phosphine fumigation is preferred because of leaving little amount of residuals and ease of application. 650 ppm phosphine gas concentration of the storage atmosphere in the fumigation is determined as the optimum value for pest control.
Warehouse cleaning and hygiene
During storage, the food grains, and other agricultural commodities can deteriorate due to physical and biological factors. These factors include moisture, temperature, insects, birds and storage fungi. Losses by these factors may be reduced to a minimum level by maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the warehouses. The following procedures must be carried out
- The stacks (food grains bags) should be brushed at weekly intervals and after every fumigation
- The waste material and dead stock items including used old gunny bags, wooden crates, polythene sheets etc. should not be stored in warehouse but in separate rooms.
- Spilled grain should be immediately collected, sieved and filled in grain bags (palla bags)
- Warehouse must be inspected for rodents, dead rats, lizards, bird entry and control measures adopted
- Discourage vegetation growth in the warehouse and cracks and crevices must be repaired
- Pipes and openings must be covered with mesh
- warehouse roofs should be painted with waterproof material and should
If during periodic inspection of goods in storage, it is observed that these have been damaged or deteriorated either due to packaging failure, infestation, moisture absorption or due to natural calamity like fire, flood, excessive rain, etc. then these shall be handled as under:
- Segregate all deteriorated food grains
- If it is possible to salvage, carryout the same under intimation to HO and insurance company, as applicable
- salvaged goods shall be tested separately for suitability before acceptance’
- damaged goods shall be tested before declaring non recoverable damaged and stored separately and maintain record of “Damaged Goods Records
- Salvaged goods shall be kept in separate stacks with proper identification in the “Stack Card” clearly indicating the parent stack(s) details
- damaged goods shall be stacked and marked “NOT FOR ISSUE”
- If the damaged goods requires immediate disposal, dispose-off the same as per company guidelines
Common pests and control plan
Several categories of pests and insects may be found in warehouses and food grains are at risk of being contaminated by foreign material, insects, microbes and vertebrate pests. The following steps must be followed to prevent contamination
- Monitoring: Have an inspection or surveillance programme which will yield prompt awareness of a possible problem (presence, level, source) before it occurs
- Identification: Determine the extent and nature of the possible problem (species, type, level, means of transmission)
- Control: Devise a plan for controlling the problem (integration of all possible means to achieve good, cheap and safe pest control)
Stored grain management is an organised, long-term approach to maintaining the quality, minimizing chemical control inputs, and preserving the integrity of the grain storage system and techniques must be adopted to prevent and minimise losses from infestations. There should be pest management practices in place to prevent the harbourage and breeding of pests on the grounds and within the warehouse facility.
ESTABLISHMENT – PERSONAL HYGIENE
The hygiene and sanitation followed in the warehouse must be as per Schedule 4 and warehouses must ensure
- Health of food handlers
- Hygienic practices of food handlers
- Safety and security of personnel and have electric, fire and hazardous material safety measures in place
- Prevention of warehouse injuries and during operations and personnel must wear protective equipment
- Have in place non-slip surfaces and fire sprinkler system in place
- Signage must clearly warn of hazards
Awareness and responsibilities
All personnel shall be aware of their role and responsibility in protecting food grains from contamination or deterioration. Those handling strong chemicals or potentially hazardous substances shall be trained in safe handling procedures and techniques.
- Suitable trainings shall be given to all personnel to enable them to have the required knowledge and skills in GHP and GMP for specific tasks along with personal hygiene requirements commensurate with their work activities
- The person in charge of receiving the grain (wheat grader), should be well trained to do so, knowledgeable and dependable in order to do his specified task. The wheat grader should have the authority to reject wheat if it does not conform to the minimum requirements or re-classify it into another class if necessary.
- Managers and supervisors of food processes shall have the necessary knowledge to be able to judge potential risks and take necessary action to remedy deficiencies
Instruction and supervision
- Periodic assessments of the effectiveness of training, instructions programmes as well as routine supervision and checks should be made to ensure that food hygiene and food safety procedures are being implemented correctly and effectively by all personnel.
- Warehouse management shall provide and maintain documented standard operating procedure for FSMS systems compliance and its supervision at site through records /checklists on routine basis to control any possible hazards throughout supply chain.
- Management is responsible to arrange training for all food handlers regarding the hygienic handling of food as well as personal hygiene (good hygiene practices).
AUDIT, DOCUMENTATION & RECORDS
Self-evaluation and review
Warehouse must have a self-evaluation process to review the effectiveness of the implemented food safety system at periodic intervals though internal and external audits.
Documentation and records
Appropriate documentation and records of processing, production and distributions shall be maintained in a legible manner, retained in good condition for a period of one year or the shelf-life of the product, whichever is more.