How To Meet Food Grade Warehouse Safety & Sanitation Standards

Here at Johnson Equipment Company, we understand that safety and sanitation are both of the utmost concern to our partners managing food grade facilities.

Your facilities must meet the standards of FDA and USDA inspections and requirements – but more importantly your concern is providing quality, sanitary products to your respective customers and distributors while protecting your employees and assets.

In order to meet your needs, and the demands of regulatory agencies, Johnson Equipment is proud to offer a full spectrum of products in compliance with the standards of the FDA, USDA, and AIB. Our goal is to partner with you to meet and exceed these standards – by improving the food safety of your products while protecting your employees and company property.

Recent Changes in Food Grade Warehouse Standards

In 2011, the FDA rolled out the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in order to prevent contamination and protect the safety of employees. This act requires all food and beverage manufacturing, processing, or storage facilities to register with the FDA, and undergo inspection. These facility inspections recur at five-year intervals. The 2017 FDA Food Code specifically lists the requirements to pass these inspections.


  • FDA 6-202 .15 – OUTER OPENINGS, PROTECTED:  Outer openings of a food establishment shall be protected against the entry of insects and rodents by:
    • Filling or closing holes and other gaps along floors, walls, and ceilings; closed, tight-fitting windows; solid, self-closing, tight fitting doors.
  • If the windows and doors of a food establishment are kept open for ventilation or other purposes, the openings shall be protected against the entry of insects and rodents by:
    • 16 mesh to 25.4mm (16 mesh to 1 inch) screens; Properly designed and installed air curtains to control flying insects.

The above provision of the FDA code requires facility managers to ensure that all gaps and openings that would allow outside contamination into the building must be covered, and all “white light” eliminated. This is especially crucial around your dock positions and door openings – areas with gaps between the leveler and the top edge of the pit, and door positions opened for trailer unloading. In order to eliminate these gaps at the dock and door position, Johnson Equipment Company offers a line of solutions inside and outside dock position in accordance with FDA Food Code 6-202.15.

Improve Food Grade Warehouse Safety & Sanitation Outside of Your Facility

When a truck is present in the loading dock position, gaps around the trailer are exposed when the dock door is opened. The Rite-Hite Eclipse® Dock Shelter is the solution to this problem – fitted with durable GapMaster hooks which wrap around swing-open trailer doors, and seal hinge gaps. Additionally, the unique head curtain of the Eclipse Dock Shelter applies over 100 pounds of pressure across the full width of the trailer top – ensuring that gaps above and on either side of the trailer are sealed. Existing dock seals and shelters may be equipped with the Rite-Hite Raingard® RG-3000 Header Seal, mounted over to the top of the header. This seal applies the additional force of 100 pounds to the top of the trailer, and eliminates wet, slippery conditions at the dock position, mitigating the entry of foreign contaminants. The Rainguard® RG-3000 is specifically designed to withstand harsh environmental conditions, and extend the lifetime of your dock seals or shelters.

When the dock leveler is raised into the bed of a trailer for loading, a new gap is created underneath the leveler – allowing debris and contamination to enter the pit area. Rite-Hite’s PitMaster® is an efficient option Johnson Equipment provides in order to seal the gaps that the dock leveler pit presents. The PitMaster® V Seal seals off these gaps in the same way in vertical leveler applications. In addition, open gaps at dock leveler corners also allow unwanted elements to enter and expensive energy to escape – a problem solved with the application of PitMaster® Lip Corner Seals. Paired with the Eclipse shelter, the PitMaster seals complete a total seal around the trailer – eliminating the “white light” gaps.

Improve Food Grade Warehouse Safety & Sanitation Inside of Your Facility

As the FDA Food Code 6-202.15 states, exposed gaps in the floor and in the walls must be covered or sealed as well – and this includes the gap between the top edge of the pit and the dock leveler.

Around the dock door and leveler, there may still be small gaps on the inside of your facility which allow foreign material to enter. Gaps under the dock door can be eliminated through the combination of the Gap-Sealr™ and the Wedg-It™ from Rite-Hite. The Gap-Sealr™, mounted to the bottom of the door, seals uneven surfaces below the door, while the addition of the Wedg-It™ fills the gap between the leveler, the dock pit wall, and the bottom edge of the sectional door. The Rite-Seal™ brush seal completes the seal around the doors side and bottom edges – mounted near the tracks of the door in order to seal door gaps when a trailer is not present. These solutions provide the answer to the FDA requirements of sealing or covering wall gaps or openings.

Johnson Equipment also provides the application of products engineered to seal gaps in the deck of the dock leveler. The Lanyard Cup Seal, attached to the chain of the leveler, stops air penetration through the leveler. Gaps around the perimeter of the leveler edge are eliminated with the application of the Leveler Weather Seal.

Finally, the Rear Hinge Seal covers the gap at the back of the leveler plate above the leveler hinge. This complete line of products protects your facility from foreign contamination, provides energy savings through climate control, and fully meets all standards of FDA Food Code standard 6-202.15.

In addition to sealing and covering all gaps in and around the walls and floors of your facility, the AIB (American Institute of Baking) recommends further measures in order to maintain cleanliness, and eliminate pests. The Sanitary Design chapter within their literature on Food Safety and Sanitation recommends maintaining an 18-inch perimeter between the wall and any stored product or raw material. This is to allow for proper inspection, cleaning, and maintenance of pest monitoring and control devices on the perimeter of your facility.

“Food safety standards recommend providing an 18-inch perimeter between the wall and any stored product or raw material to allow for inspections, cleaning, and maintenance of pest monitoring devices…. Maintaining floor perimeters is an important element for any food plant’s product safety program.”

These perimeters help protect your product and add an extra layer of protection to your facility.

Our goal is to partner with you in going above & beyond and meeting and exceeding industry standards. For more information on the above solutions, contact your local Johnson Equipment Representative. We look forward to partnering with you in creating a clean, safe, and efficient workplace environment.