The food industry is one of the most heavily regulated, inspected, and audited industries in the world. Compliance with international food safety standards and regulations is a never-ending responsibility.
In his article for Provisioner Online, Painters USA VP Paul Cook discusses recent maintenance projects the company performed at two Midwest food processing plants. His examples demonstrate the balancing act that facility managers need to manage, which we’ll discuss here in more detail. A link to Paul’s original article is included at the end.
Projects referenced in the Provisioner article
Project: Repair of cracked concrete floors followed by food-safe epoxy coating and sealing.
Client: Midwest food processing plant
Project: Inspection, cleaning, and sealing work at its Illinois facility involving a number of columns, support beams, posts and blender legs.
Client: Creative Contract Packaging (Hormel Foods)
Food safety standards and regulations
Two of the most important priorities and needs across the entire spectrum of the food industry are:
- Food safety and hygiene standards and regulations, which includes inspections from agencies like the FDA and USDA, along with third party audits and SQF (Safe Quality Food) certification requirements.
- Balancing facility maintenance with production schedules, which can run around-the-clock in some cases.
Food industry facility managers know that their plants could be visited by FDA or USDA inspectors and third-party auditors any time. Violations and failures to meet requirements could lead to disruptions, fines, and other headaches.
It’s also important for food processing facilities to follow the rigorous SQF (Safe Quality Food) program for food safety and quality, in order to meet industry, customer, and regulatory requirements within the food supply chain. SQF certification enables small and medium food industry companies to earn and keep the trust of national / global brands and large corporations.
Maintenance scheduling constraints
Food and beverage processing facilities have limited downtime and scheduled maintenance time. It means every commercial contractor like Painters USA that is part of a project must work efficiently and safely and commit resources during weekends, overnight, and even holidays.
- Evenings, weekends, holidays: Creative Contract Packaging’s manager of plant engineering appreciated the plan set forth by the Painters USA project manager for the job, which included working the Saturday after Christmas.
- Scheduled downtime: At the other food processing plant, Painters USA coordinated its work with an equipment shutdown over three days, while also giving electricians time and space to service the plant’s equipment.
We pride ourselves on being flexible in terms of when we do our work and coordinating our crews with other trades and the client’s workforce if necessary.
Maintenance in food processing facilities
According to Paul,
When facility managers are vigilant about maintenance, they improve safety, more easily pass SQF audits, and maximize production by reducing unplanned downtime or accidents.
With large crews working out of multiple Painters USA offices in Illinois and Texas, we have the resources to get our work done quickly and efficiently. We offer maintenance programs that align with facility management schedules and needs.
Finally, since customer satisfaction is our ultimate priority, we’re happy to report a stamp of approval from Creative Contract Packaging’s plant engineer:
Painters USA helped us maintain our high standards.
Painters USA specializes in antimicrobial floor services, relining safety aisleways, rust control, painting of cold storage facilities, preparation for food safety inspections, and protection of wet processing areas. We are skilled at a wide variety of abrasive blasting techniques, including EPA- and USDA-approved dry-ice blasting processes.
About Provisioner Online
Provisioner Online is the website for the National Provisioner and Independent Processor. National Provisioner has been reporting on the meat and poultry industry for 130 years. Independent Processor is the official magazine of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP), the largest meat trade organization in the country.