Getting started with wash-pack facilitiesDOWNLOAD FILE
January 22, 2020 - Author: Landon Tetil, Produce Safety Technician
- The WHY of a wash-pack facility
- The WHAT of a wash-pack facility
- The foundation
- The stuff
- The HOW of a wash-pack facility
The foundation of a Wash- Pack
- Floors and Drainage
- Doorways/ Thresholds/ Ramps
Space: How much do you really need?
If expanding, have you identified untapped market space you can grow into?
Are you cramped in your current setup?
How big can you afford?
Do you want to grow, shrink, or maintain the size of your operation?
Types of floors: Decking
- Sturdy, durable, smooth
- Open surface allowing flow through for drainage
- Cost-effective for an outside wash-pack area
- Not ideal if product is moved with wheels
- Bare wood should be avoided use composite materials instead
- Not ideal for indoor wash-pack
Types of floors: Plywood
- More continuous, smooth option than decking
- Easy to use wheels for moving product
- Helpful in covering up and leveling existing uneven floors
- Use indoors or outdoors
- Less durable when exposed to weather
- Has seams that can require maintenance to keep watertight
- Challenging to clean unless it is sealed
Types of floors: Patio blocks
- Pervious surface that is more solid underfoot than bare ground or gravel
- Good option for an outside wash/pack area that is used seasonally or is undercover.
- Drainage and pooling can be an issue with sunken pavers
- Outside use only
Types of floors: Asphalt or pavement
- Asphalt is a sturdy, waterproof, non-slip, seamless material
- May also already exist as a driveway, etc.
- Installation can be challenging and expensive
- Not ideal indoors
- Coarse-textured surface creates a cleaning challenge, but a fine, smooth surface is possible to achieve
Types of floors: Concrete
- Durable, continuous, smooth surface
- Good for using wheels to move product
- Can be smooth yet not slippery
- Not overly porous for clean ability
- Can be pitched for drainage
- Can be installed indoors
- When unsealed, can absorb moisture and is prone to staining
- Can be expensive
- Once poured it is not easy to modify
Floors and drainage: Outdoors
Outdoor Facilities: drainage is ESSENTIAL
- Crushed gravel several inches deep to allow water to drain down without pooling underfoot
- Landscape fabric over bare ground can be used as long as a gravel filled furrow is in place to catch water coming off the wash line or under other equipment
- Intentional drainage of water from the space can be accomplished by direct drains, trench drain, spot drains or a doorway out of the space
Floors and drainage: Indoors
- Circular floor drains are fine IF they can be cleaned
- Soil and debris can accumulate inside drains and Listeria can survive and multiply in drains
- Grate-type drains that are open for several feet are a good option and can be cleaned easier
- Water and soil can be squeegeed into them
Unloading ramp/ dock
Produce comes out of the field and heads to the wash/pack area.
- Ideally, trucks or carts do not enter the actual facility space.
- An unloading dock set at a height that is ergonomically appropriate will make work more efficient.
- At the other end of the process, the clean and packaged produce can more easily be loaded on a dock where the height of the truck matches the loading dock.
- Pallet jacks, forklift, or hand-truck can simply move a load onto the truck bed.
- Makes the task of cleaning up after washing and packing produce a whole lot easier
- Keeping space between objects and the walls alleviates hiding places for rodents and makes cleaning more efficient
- Walls could be covered with a water resistant paneling, such as fiberglass reinforced panels (RFP). These panels provide a smooth surface that is impermeable to water and easy to wash stuck material off without ruining the surface (unless you use steel wool or something really abrasive)
Make sure there is adequate light for workers to:
- Sort and cull easily
- Wash effectively (making sure debris is off produce
- Correctly read SOPs or labels on sanitizers or cleaners
- End-of-day equipment cleaning
Fixtures should to be positioned to give adequate light for workers and not cast shadows in the wrong places.
Common Wash-Pack Sinks
- Kitchen sinks
- Utility Sinks
- Livestock watering tanks
- Sheep stock tank
- Rubbermaid stock tank
- Repurposed dairy milk bulk tanks
- Maple sap tanks
- Restaurant Sinks
- Double bay
- Triple bay
- With or without drainboards
What to store
DO keep in the wash-pack:
- Clean AND Dirty hand harvesting tools
- Clean AND Dirty harvest containers
- Clean AND Dirty cleaning brushes
- PPO, eye wash station, first aid kit
- Cleaners and sanitizers
- Thermometers, monitoring strips, measuring cups or dosers, etc.
- Records and SOP’s
- Packing supplies
What not to store
DO NOT keep in the wash-pack:
- Non-food grade lubricants
- Field tools
- Personal items
Growers should design a system that will:
- Avoid wash water pooling or gullying that may lead to drainage into surface water
- Provide sufficient grass/sod area to absorb the wash water discharge
- Provide a means for spreading the wash water over grass/sod area.
- Avoid locating the grass/sod spreading area where bedrock or shallow groundwater may be present
- If necessary, provide a retention area (tank or holding pond) to allow large volumes of water generated by washing to be spread later, at a slow enough rate to allow for soil absorption
- Backflow is when water (and anything in it) travels in the “wrong” direction or a direction other than the intended one
- Backflow is typically prevented by:
- Obstructing flow in one direction (using a check valve,foot valve, etc)
- Providing an easier flow path in a different direction that results in lower risk (air gaps, floor sinks, etc.)