Typically, there are two types of receiving activities that you will see at a food manufacturing plant: bulk receiving and receipt of ingredients via tractor trailer. Additionally, bulk receiving can be broken down into two types: liquid and dry. When evaluating receiving practices, consider FDA’s new sanitary transport guidelines as they pertain to your program. Is a current wash certificate or prior-load verification evaluated as part of the receiving program? Are hatch seals inspected and verified against the receiving documentation? Is a filter placed on top of any hatches that are opened to vent the trailer as part of the inspection process? Are hoses, caps, and gaskets on unloading lines being inspected? Were the receiving lines locked to prevent tampering prior to unloading? Is there an opportunity to look inside the trailer before loading or after unloading to see if the interior of the trailer is sound, clean, and free of foreign material? Are there clean filters on blowers, and is the unloading equipment clean and free of insects for foreign material? Do you have adequate protection or procedures defined for unloading activities occurring in inclement weather? Are hoses being maintained off the ground or floor during unloading? Are they capped to protect the interior product-contact surface when not in use?
Foreign material control devices are also associated with the receiving process. When observing receiving, evaluate in-line magnets, strainers or sifters, and tailings, if possible, to determine if the devices are clean and in good condition. While strainers, magnets, and tailings should be readily accessible for review, inspection of the sifter may need to be scheduled during down time to allow disassembly and inspection.
The vessels into which the materials are received also should be included in this evaluation. If there is a tank or silo, you will need to be able to climb to the top to inspect the interior. On top of bulk flour and sugar silos, there will be hatches for access and inspection and, possibly, bag or filter houses that contain the breather bags or filters for the silos.
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