Pro Tip: AIB identifies three detrimental conditions that may negatively affect your food products.

Don’t overlook ceilings and overheads when it comes to food safety. Here are three issues to consider when inspecting these areas of your food plant:

Condensation occurs when moisture from the air collects on a colder surface. Factors that affect this are a sudden change in weather that influence the temperature and humidity inside the facility or an inherently high moisture facility environment. Condensation can carry pathogens and mold spores into your product. Places to look in your facility for this condition include roof drain pipes, refrigeration pipes, metal support beams and pipes that are located in steam areas such as proofers. Insulation and/or air flow can be used to prevent condensation from forming.

Roof leaks are another common finding. Even if the leak is not directly dripping into the product zone, the water washing in from the roof carries pathogens that seed the environment. In all cases, roof leaks must be promptly corrected.

The third type of common overhead conditions are loose materials such as flaking paint, flaking rust or torn insulation located on overhead structures. These conditions offer foreign material hazards to any product zone located under the loose materials. If you see a flake of paint, a piece of insulation or rust flakes on equipment or other surfaces, remember to look up to identify and contain the source until repairs can be made.

It is important to remember that conditions in a food plant can vary from day to day. Make sure to include an overhead look during pre-startup inspections and during monthly self-inspections. This will help ensure that you are controlling the integrity of your overhead product zones.

Peg Ray is a senior manager at AIB International.