Food & beverage businesses in the UK have a long list of regulations and laws that they need to comply with in order to legally trade their produce around the world.
And these standards and stipulations cover every aspect of every site involved in the food industry. The growing, processing, production, transportation and sale of every item, from humble crisps to extravagant caviar and every fruit, yoghurt, pie, steak and fizzy drink in between all need to adhere to the legislative requirements or risk a long list of serious problems!
Laying Down the Law and the Floor
To ensure that every element of a food facility complies with the strict rules surrounding the industry, it is vitally important to put in place a rigorous food safety management system – and the one that’s on everybody’s lips is HACCP.
HACCP (or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) is a preventive risk assessment tool that takes a careful look at food safety hazards and provides guidelines to guarantee that the facility, its equipment, staff and working processes never constitute a health or hygiene hazard.
HACCP compliance is a recurring theme throughout domestic, European and international regulations, for example:
- The Food Safety & Hygiene (England) Regulations 2013 reiterates Article 5 (1) of Regulation 852/2004 of the European Parliament – “food business operators [must] put in place, implement and maintain a permanent procedure or procedures based on the HACCP principles”. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all enforce similar legislation.
- FSA enforcement officers will check during routine inspections that a business has an appropriate HACCP-based food safety management system in place. This is a key part of its Foodborne Disease Strategy, which aims to secure major improvements in public protection and health through better risk-based regulatory systems.
- Actually, the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), British Retail Consortium (BRC), Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC22000), International Featured Standard for Food (IFS), EU Regulation 1169/201 l and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) all stipulate HACCP compliance!
Getting the floor area right is a critical part of an effective HACCP food safety management plan, as otherwise it can present a variety of challenging health and safety concerns.
To ensure a food-safe floor the HACCP guidelines state that the finish should have the following characteristics:
- A seamless surface that won’t provide germs and dirt with hard to clean hiding places but that helps the staff to quickly wash away unwanted substances.
- The durability to withstand the onsite operating conditions for an extended period of time, including the chemicals, foot traffic, oils, intensive cleaning, ingredients, temperatures, impacts and point loading that it will inevitably be exposed to.
- Adequate drainage must be in place so that excess liquid and contaminants can be quickly washed out of the production and processing areas. Ideally this should be stainless steel drainage incorporated into a floor that has been laid to a fall.
How Do You Know A Floor is HACCP Compliant?
So, a flooring supplier might tell you that their solution meets all of the above criteria – but how can you be sure? Fortunately, the organisation HACCP International operates a globally recognised product certification scheme that evaluates materials, equipment and services used within the food industry.
Certification follows the assessment of objective evidence to prove that a manufacturer has identified potential food safety hazards arising from the materials or equipment and has implemented appropriate controls.
If a floor has the HACCP International stamp, then you can rest assured that it has been rigorously evaluated for its suitability for use within food processing, production and packaging facilities operating at the world’s highest hygiene standards.
A good example of a HAACP International certified flooring range is Flowcrete UK’s collection of Flowfresh coatings, which have been designed to go above and beyond all food industry hygiene requirements. Click this sentence to find out everything you need to know about Flowfresh.