Food Safety and the Food and Beverage Industry
Updated: May 17
The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law in 2011, after it was revealed that a staggering number of Americans, 48 million to be exact, become ill every year due to contaminated food.
The contaminated food has also contributed to a $75 billion loss to the food and beverage industry. Although it may not be as large a portion of the industry, this still has an effect on how food and beverage epoxy flooring is installed and maintained.
This law is the first significant food safety regulation that has been passed in the last 70 years in the United States. The law included a statute that gives the FDA authority to recall food products and requires frequent inspections at food and beverage facilities. Prior to the passing of this law, the FDA only had authority to ask, but not demand, that foods be recalled.
As a result, there is now specific FDA approved epoxy flooring that must be installed in certain facilities, in order to adhere to their regulations.
These inspections apply to the manufacturing process, procedures, equipment, and infrastructure – including epoxy resin flooring and wall systems.
Additional Regulations, as it Relates to Epoxy Flooring
In addition to the FSMA, state and local authorities have their own schedules and changing regulations, such as the banning of new installation of quarry tile, because it's mortar joints are a natural incubator for bacteria and other contaminants.
Even if polished, chipped and cracked concrete floors intensify this hazard. This is because concrete acts like a sponge and absorbs moisture deep into its pores where bacteria can propagate.
For food and beverage facilities, the only solution to keeping a hygienic plant is to install a seamless flooring system. Depending on the conditions of the plant area, urethane cement, epoxy, or antibacterial epoxy flooring may be appropriate.
What Will Inspectors Check For, Pertaining to Epoxy Flooring?
First, inspectors will be making sure your floor cannot harbor bacteria.
Resinous floors have a topcoat that fills in the pores and imperfections, which makes it impervious to moisture. For additional protection, antimicrobial additives can be added in case the topcoat is scratched.
These antimicrobial additives can be natural silver ion-based that are mixed into the resin before it is installed. However, merely adding an antimicrobial additive to the resin does not necessarily mean that it is effective, and in some cases they are not independently tested.
That is why it is important to get antimicrobial flooring systems directly from the manufacturer instead of using “field manufactured” antimicrobial flooring systems.
This coating system prevents microbe growth through the final cured floor coating, not just the antimicrobial additive component.
Additional Antimicrobial Flooring Systems
Effective antimicrobial flooring systems can also be a colloidal product that is sprayed onto the concrete substrate. This product both densifies and gives the floor antimicrobial properties.
This type of pretreatment also helps keep the concrete from absorbing chemicals and contamination with the added benefit of making replacement of the floor simpler because there is no need to extract contamination or to sterilize the concrete.
Even with a seamless, antimicrobial flooring system, sanitizing operations will still need to regularly occur to eliminate production byproducts and contaminants.
To do this, a radial cove base should be installed to create a seamless transition from the wall to the floor. This prevents standing liquids, contaminants, and pathogens from being able to hide in corners and streamlines the cleaning process.
The Importance Of Adequate Sloping
Another crucial element of passing inspection is having adequate sloping to trench drains. This helps to eliminate standing water, which will absolutely catch the eye of an inspector, and can lead to a plant shutdown or a Listeria outbreak.
It’s imperative that a resinous flooring expert correctly slopes or pitches the floor to about a 1-2% grade. If the floor is under pitched you will end up with standing water, and if it is over pitched you will have solids runoff.
Every floor drain should be equipped with a deep seal trap, and a check valve should be installed to prevent sewage from backing up and flooding the floor. Drains without a deep seal trap must be regularly washed down.
Cleaning The Trench Drains
One of the most overlooked sanitation procedures is cleaning the trench drains. It is also one of the leading causes of bacteria spreading throughout a facility.
Having a seamless, resinous floor is imperative for addressing potential hazards that could affect food safety.
A food and beverage facility floor is a crucial part of the environment of the production unit, and it may include significant amounts of pathogenic microorganisms.
The best way to pass an inspection is to have an experienced resinous flooring expert install a floor that is impervious to moisture, sloped to drains, durable enough to withstand hard cleaning procedures, and seamless from wall to floor.
Contact us today you need help with the installation of your epoxy flooring system!