Food manufacturing and processing facilities are required to comply with several regulations including ensuring food-grade flooring.
What exactly is food-grade flooring? What makes a floor 'food-grade'? What should you be looking out for to make sure your floor will pass an audit?
According to Food Standards Australia [Standard 3.2.3 - Food Premises and Equipment: Division 3 - 10. Floors]:
- Floors must be designed and constructed in a way that is appropriate for the activities conducted on the food premises.
- Subject to subclause (3), floors must:
- be able to be effectively cleaned;
- be unable to absorb grease, food particles or water;
- be laid so there is no ponding of water; and
- to the extent that is practicable, be unable to provide harbourage for pests.
Flooring also needs to be safe.
Food-grade flooring should:
Be able to be effectively cleaned
The slip resistance level of the flooring should be determined based on the factory’s use [as per point (1)]. This is because heavy non-slip media on a floor can damage cleaning equipment and trap food particles; therefore, the slip resistance should be enough to prevent falls in the factory. The correct level is dependent on the factory’s use
Be unable to absorb grease, food particles or water
While most resin coatings are impervious to these spills, one thing you should ensure during the laying of your floor is that the concrete substrate is absolutely dry and clean. Resin flooring laid over very wet or greasy concrete will not last for long.
Be laid so there is no ponding of water
Your flooring installer should carefully measure the falls to any drainage so they are consistent, and ensure that water flows to the drain, rather than staying on the floor and causing a slip hazard.
To the extent that is practicable, be unable to provide harbourage for pests
Consider solutions such as joint sealing, coving, and sealing around drains – this is very important as incorrect sealing can trap water and, therefore, bacteria.
Flooring issues are a headache, but learning about compliance standards can help you understand the issues better.
Allied Finishes is a flooring and drainage company specialising in solutions for the food industry.