Manufacturing Checklist Offers Insight into Food Ready Sites

Feb 21, 2019 | News, Newsletter

Joe Needham.
JobsOhio.

 

 

When is comes to choosing a building or site, food manufacturers have unique needs.  That means finding a suitable location can often be a challenge.

If you have a client looking for a suitable food site, here is a checklist containing site and building attributes you need to consider.  Fortunately, Ohio has sites across the state that meet the needs of food and beverage companies making products used around the world.

Site Attributes:

  • Water access: Many food manufacturers need access to a large supply of water. They use a lot of water during food production and discharge a lot of wastewater afterward.
  • Water treatment: Some facilities discharge large amounts of fats and oils. They need onsite water treatment capabilities or a nearby public wastewater treatment facility.
  • Energy: Food companies use a tremendous amount of energy, especially for cooking and freezing food products.
  • Buffer zones: Separation from nearby residential and manufacturing areas minimizes noise, odor and safety issues.
  • Acreage: Food companies typically need 30 to 100 acres.
  • Utilities: The availability of water, sewer, gas and electric power are critical for food manufacturers.
  • Environmental condition: A Phase 1 environmental site assessment will help a company determine a site’s history and whether prior uses of the property have impacted the soil or groundwater.
  • Truck access: Build roads that can handle 80,000-pound loads on a daily basis within five miles of four-lane or interstate highways. Rail access is a bonus.

 

Existing Building Attributes:

  • Knowledge of prior use is critical. Sites previously used by food companies are best. Sites used for heavy manufacturing or with chemicals are usually not appropriate.
  • Building design. The Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA’s Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system have several requirements. Walls, for example, must be covered in a non-porous, continuous material. Ceilings must be impermeable (not fiber drop-down) and cannot have skylights or exposed horizontal beams.
  • Floor drains. Most food plants have two production shifts and one sanitation shift daily. So, floor drains attached to wastewater treatment systems need to be in place or installed.
  • Fire protection. The site must have access to a large quantity of high-pressure water as this is critical for safety.
  • Refrigerated and/or freezer space. These can be retrofitted or new, but both must have solid concrete floors with little to no cracks.
  • Multiple truck docks. Locations at both ends of the building put raw materials and finished products closer to production equipment.
  • Separate non-production areas. Offices, locker rooms, a cafeteria, and sanitation stations should be separate from the manufacturing space.
  • Lots of square feet. Most food plants require 50,000 to 100,000 square feet with room to expand. Ohio has numerous operational food plants in the 400,000 to 750,000 square foot range. Thanks to Ohio’s food and agribusiness assets, smaller companies have grown to this size.

If you have any questions regarding the Ohio’s food industry, contact me via email at needham@jobsohio.com.

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