Good Manufacturing Practices do not stop at the end of the production line. It is important to continue to protect the product as it is stored and transported. Keep in mind that there are three states of processed peanuts or peanut products, shelled but still raw peanuts, roasted peanuts, or peanuts contained in a finished product such as a candy bar. We will start with warehouse storage practices:
Common warehouse practices include:
- An 18-inch clearance should be provided around the perimeter of the storage area so that workers can perform routine inspections and scheduled pest control.
- The warehouse should be sealed to keep out pests. All outside door seals should be in good repair, with no daylight visible from the inside. Walls and floors should be inspected for cracks and repaired on a regular basis. Methods for controlling storage pests should also be considered.
- Logistics policy should include procedures to schedule shipping the oldest stock of inventory out first. The newest inventory stays until the oldest is shipped out to stores or directly to consumers.
- Pallets should be regularly inspected (and repaired) to prevent nails or split boards from damaging product containers.
- Product should be stacked so that it does not touch walls or column supports.
- Food must be stored in a way that prevents allergen cross-contact; biological, chemical, and physical contamination; and deterioration of the food and container.
- Bait stations utilizing EPA registered rodenticide bait should be placed around the exterior perimeter of the building at 50-foot intervals. All rodenticides should be in block or liquid form.
- Detailed maps showing locations of every trap and bait station should be maintained. Records should be kept about pests that are caught to help decide when to increase efforts to control pests in any sector of the storage facility.
- Any incoming shipments showing signs of active insect activity should be rejected or fumigated before allowing them into the storage facility.
- Trained personnel should treat cracks and crevices with approved insecticides on a regular schedule. Be sure to document pesticide usage.
- All lighting fixtures suspended over any stored product or along transportation lanes to and from the general storage areas should have safety shields to protect light bulbs from shattering or to catch broken glass if a bulb breaks. All glass or brittle plastic suspended over stored product should be protected or fixed in a way to prevent contamination.
- Birds should be restricted from loading areas and any nests should be removed. Bird droppings should be cleaned up immediately.
Peanuts should not be stored in the same room with other items that have pronounced odors. Even faint odors can be absorbed by peanuts and produce off flavors. The best practice is to designate specific storage space for peanut isolation.
Peanuts should not be stored in the same space with other food products to prevent the potential for food allergy cross contamination or the perception of contamination.
Raw peanuts should only be stored in cold and dry storage warehouses. The temperature for stored shelled peanuts should be targeted for 55°F (13°C) or less and the humidity 65% R.H. Any ambient storage should not occur for more than a few days at temperatures above 60° F. (16°).