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Food Quality and Safety 
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Sanitary Operations

Sanitary Facilities and Controls

Sanitary facilities include water that meets drinking water standards for microbiological activity, and providing proper toilet and hand-washing facilities.


You should consider the following issues and practices when assessing water quality and in applying controls to minimize microbial food-safety hazards:

    1. All water used for almond contact or almond contact surfaces, or used in the facility for employee services must be potable and meet state and federal regulations for drinking water.
    2. If chlorine is added to water as a disinfectant, the concentration of chlorine should be recorded daily.
    3. There must be no cross-connections between potable and non-potable water supplies.
    4. All hoses, taps, and piping systems must be designed to prevent backflow or siphonage of standing water and/or have backflow devices installed.
    5. If water is from a non-municipal source, the almond processor must establish that the water meets microbiological and chemical criteria for potable water.
    6. There should be a certificate of analysis on file for the water if it is from a municipal source.
    7. Equipment designed to assist in maintaining water quality, such as chlorine injectors, filtration systems, and backflow devices, should be routinely inspected to ensure efficient operation.
    8. Monitor practices by using internal audits, record observations and take corrective action when appropriate.
    9. Clean and sanitize water contact surfaces, such as blanchers, as often as necessary to ensure the safety of the almonds.
    10. Change water as necessary to maintain sanitary conditions. Develop water change schedules for all processes that use water.
    11. The water supply must be adequate for peak usage, and hot water supply must be adequate for clean-up requirements.
    12. Plumbing must be adequate to convey water to required locations and to convey sewage and liquid waste from the processing facility.
    13. Sewage disposal must be deposited into an adequate sewage treatment system or another method that eliminates potential for contamination.


    1. Each almond facility must provide employees with adequate, readily-accessible toilet facilities.
    2. Toilet facilities must not have doors that open into areas where food is exposed to airborne contamination, except where alternate means have been taken to protect against contamination, such as double doors or positive airflow systems.
    3. Toilet facilities must have self-closing doors.
    4. Toilet facilities must be kept clean, neat and in good repair. Basins, toilets, urinals, walls, ceilings and floors should be cleaned and sanitized daily or as necessary. There must be adequate waste disposal.
    5. Signs must be posted instructing employees to wash their hands before returning to work.
    6. Toilet facilities must be adequately supplied with toilet paper, warm water, soap, and paper towels or air dryers for drying hands.

Hand washing

    1. Each almond facility must provide adequate and convenient hand-washing facilities furnished with running water at a suitable temperature, soap, sanitary towels or hand dryers.
    2. Restroom fixtures, such as water control valves, should be of a type designed to protect against recontamination of clean, sanitized hands.
    3. Easily understood signs must be posted directing employees to wash and, if appropriate, sanitize their hands before they begin work, before returning to work from a break or any time their hands may have become soiled or contaminated.
    4. Provide and maintain waste receptacles in ways that protect against food contamination.
    5. Hand sanitizers are not a substitute for hand washing.

Download the full GMP manual.

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