Chemical management is a core part of manufacturing food and drink in the UK. They are required for machine operation and maintenance and remain a vital component in hygiene practices.
While food and beverage businesses can’t operate without chemicals, chemical hazards pose a huge threat to UK food and beverage businesses. Failing to prevent chemical contamination can lead to food safety recalls and withdrawals that can harm both your customers and your reputation in equal measure.
Following HACCP principles and Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations (COSHH) regulations require your business to identify chemical hazards during the risk assessment stage and create a customised plan. You can use these tips to get started.
1. Conduct a Chemical Hazard Analysis
As part of your required HACCP plan, you will need to run risk assessments to comply with health and safety regulations. Food manufacturers need to provide extra care for chemical hazards.
Chemical hazards in the food and beverage industry come in many forms, including:
- fungal toxins
- plant toxins
- fish toxins
- biogenic amines
- environmental contaminants
- veterinary residues
- contaminants from food material and packing
- cleaning chemicals
- oils and lubricants
You will measure these through physical and chemical tests and visual observations.
2. Separate External Chemical Hazards
External chemical hazards are associated with chemicals that are used in production but aren’t a product of or in contact with the food products. These often include cleaning and sanitation chemicals, like trolley cleaning products or facility pest control products.
External chemical hazards require a different hazard control process than hazards like fungal toxins or packing contaminants because the key principle is separation.
3. Identify Control Measures to Reduce External Chemical Threats
When dealing with external chemicals, like cleaning chemicals, maintenance chemicals, or pest control chemicals, you must take every precaution to keep them away from both active production areas and ingredient or transport storage facilities. The next step is to find control measures that match your identifiable chemical hazards and the risk they pose.
Some of the control measures chosen will include:
- Wearing the appropriate PPE when handling any chemical
- Ordering chemicals in ready-diluted forms when possible to prevent spills or incorrect mixing
- Affixing clear, accurate labels to appropriate storage containers
- Providing regular chemical hazard training
- Liaising with the chemical manufacturer and following the manufacturer’s instructions
4. Secure the Chemical Storage Area
Using control measures like training, PPE, and working with manufacturers is the first step in chemical safety; however, the chemical storage area must also be secure.
Chemical security begins with choosing the right storage solution. Each chemical and facility may require a different storage solution to achieve their needs. Ultimately, chemical storage must ensure that the chemical is:
- Stored in a segregated facility according to compatibility
- Kept in a temperature-stable environment per the manufacturer’s instructions
- Held in the correct containers to limit fumes and vapours
Security prevents both spontaneous accidents and human error from leading to a major incident. Securing the chemical area means you must choose the correct chemical storage system for your chemical hazard and facility. You may need chemical storage tanks, corrosive cabinets, bunded chemical storage, temperature-controlled stores or walk-in chemical stores.
Additionally, you may need customisable options to limit access and ensure limit the hazards associated with extractions. Some features that food and manufacturers choose include:
- Ensure access remains secure with locks, fences, alarms, and lockable container covers.
- Providing sills and catchment areas
- Using bunded trolleys for chemical transport
The experts at Safety Storage can work with you to ensure you create a customised chemical storage solution that promotes both safety and productivity.
Reach out to the UK’s chemical storage specialists today to discuss your food and beverage company’s unique chemical storage needs.