What does antimicrobial flooring have to do with the food and beverage industry? If you’re a food production or processing facility, it could mean a great deal. That’s because food contamination outbreaks caused by unsanitary conditions in a food production facility can cause illnesses, resulting in recalls and sometimes fines or penalties as well as major damage to the reputation of the brands involved.
Thankfully, when antimicrobial coatings and other food grade floor coatings are applied to food production facility floors, redundant control is built into the food production process at the earliest possible point.
Antimicrobial Flooring and the Food Safety Modernization Act
Floors sustain the most abuse in a food processing facility so antimicrobial floor coatings and food safety concerns go hand in hand. Day in and day out they are exposed to heavy equipment, chemicals and temperature variations that can cause cracks, fissures and other damage. Concrete may feel hard and impenetrable but by nature, it is porous – like a hard, dry sponge. Concrete floors are full of tiny tunnels that water and other liquids love to run into which can easily cause concrete contamination. Even the best regular cleaning procedures can’t prevent nasty microbes from growing beneath the surface in the dark, hidden passages of the concrete substrate.
What lies beneath the floors and behind the walls of improperly treated, poorly constructed, aging or compromised food production facilities could bring brands to their knees.
Signed into law in 2011, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) intends to prevent food contamination through antimicrobial floor coatings and food safety concerns. It includes Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls (HACCP) that provide a systematic approach to the identification, evaluation and control of food safety hazards. Regulated by the FDA, HACCP helps food production facility management identify critical control points that represent “any step at which biological, chemical or physical factors can be controlled.” Much focus (and rightly so) is put on properly training employees to wash hands, wear proper PPE and perform required facility cleaning tasks daily.
But one area that may be often overlooked and yet which is fundamental to HACCP success is the food production facility flooring. What better critical control point exists than the foundation on which the entire operation rests?
How USDA Approved Epoxy Flooring Helps Prevent Contamination
The floor you’re standing on plays a crucial role in food safety. Floors are walked on all the time; shoes are dirty; water and other substances leak or spill onto the floor and seep into cracks and microscopic holes. There is no earlier point to introduce redundant control and prevention of hazards than at construction or renovation of a food production facility floor.
Comprehensive antimicrobial protection can be achieved with an antimicrobial flooring and wall system that pretreats the concrete with an antimicrobial coating that penetrates up to 6” beneath the coating system and deep within the concrete substrate. Products like Protective Industrial Polymers’ InhibiCrobe Antimicrobial Floor and Wall Systems prevent the growth of microbes and fungi that can cause food borne illness outbreaks.
With a robust antimicrobial flooring and wall system like InhibiCrobe in place, the hazards of a major critical control point are effectively mitigated.
When proper training and safety practices are laid on top of this clean, secure and safe foundation, food production facilities can rest assured that they are truly doing all they can to implement HACCP, comply with FSMA and most importantly, protect employees, consumers and their reputations.
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