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RULE §229.218Plant and Grounds

(a) Grounds. The grounds about a food plant under the control of the operator must be kept in a condition that will protect against the contamination of food. The methods for adequate maintenance of grounds must include:

  (1) properly storing equipment, removing litter and waste, and cutting weeds or grass within the immediate vicinity of the plant that may constitute an attractant, breeding place, or harborage for pests;

  (2) maintaining roads, yards, and parking lots so that they do not constitute a source of contamination in areas where food is exposed;

  (3) adequately draining areas that may contribute contamination to food by seepage, foot-borne filth, or providing a breeding place for pests;

  (4) operating systems for waste treatment and disposal in an adequate manner so that they do not constitute a source of contamination in areas where food is exposed; and

  (5) if the plant grounds are bordered by grounds not under the operator's control and not maintained in the manner described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of this subsection, care must be exercised in the plant by inspection, extermination, or other means to exclude pests, dirt, and filth that may be a source of food contamination.

(b) Plant construction and design. The plant must be suitable in size, construction, and design to facilitate maintenance and sanitary operations for food-production purposes (i.e. manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding). The plant must:

  (1) provide adequate space for such placement of equipment and storage of materials as is necessary for maintenance, sanitary operations, and the production of safe food;

  (2) permit the taking of adequate precautions to reduce the potential for allergen cross-contact and for contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials with microorganisms, chemicals, filth, or other extraneous material. The potential for allergen cross-contact and for contamination may be reduced by adequate food safety controls and operating practices or effective design, including the separation of operations in which allergen cross contact and contamination are likely to occur, by one of the following means: location, time, partition, air flow systems, dust control systems, enclosed systems, or other effective means;

  (3) permit the taking of adequate precautions to protect food in installed outdoor bulk fermentation vessels by any effective means, including:

    (A) using protective coverings;

    (B) controlling areas over and around the vessels to eliminate harborages for pests;

    (C) checking on a regular basis for pests and pest infestation; and

    (D) skimming the fermentation vessels, as necessary;

  (4) be constructed in such a manner that floors, walls, and ceilings may be adequately cleaned and kept clean and kept in good repair; that drip or condensate from fixtures, ducts and pipes does not contaminate food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials; and that aisles or working spaces are provided between equipment and walls and are adequately unobstructed and of adequate width to permit employees to perform their duties and to protect against contaminating food or food-contact surfaces with clothing or personal contact;

  (5) provide adequate lighting in:

    (A) hand-washing areas, dressing and locker rooms, and toilet rooms of at least 10 foot candles (greater than or equal to 108 lux);

    (B) all areas where food is held and where equipment or utensils are cleaned of at least 20 foot candles (greater than or equal to 220 lux); and

    (C) all areas where food is examined, manufactured, processed, or packed of at least 50 foot candles (greater than or equal to 540 lux).

  (6) provide shatter-resistant light bulbs, fixtures, skylights, or other glass suspended over exposed food in any step of preparation or otherwise protect against food contamination in case of glass breakage;

  (7) provide adequate ventilation or control equipment to minimize dust, odors and vapors (including steam and noxious fumes) in areas where they may cause allergen cross-contact or contaminate food; and locate and operate fans and other air-blowing equipment in a manner that minimizes the potential for allergen cross contact and for contaminating food, food-packaging materials, and food-contact surfaces; and

  (8) provide, where necessary, adequate screening or other protection against pests.

Source Note: The provisions of this §229.218 adopted to be effective August 2, 2017, 42 TexReg 3789

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