When it comes to food processing, there are several variables that must be considered for ensuring consumer food safety. Foodborne disease outbreaks such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter can be prevented by following the appropriate food safety standards and laws.
Food processors can successfully assure food safety in many ways. Here are ten key areas to concentrate on to guarantee that food safety is implemented in your company.
1. Location and design of the facility
When it comes to guaranteeing food safety, the design and location of a food processing plant must be considered. To decrease the danger of contamination, avoid areas that are known to be insect “hot spots” as well as areas that are prone to pollution. The materials used to construct buildings’ internal structures should be long-lasting, dirt-resistant, easy to clean and maintain, and safe for employees.
2. Pest control: pests that pose a food safety issue
In terms of food safety, pest management is crucial. For example, cockroaches and flies can transmit food-borne illnesses by contaminating food at any point throughout the production process. Rodents may carry illnesses and cause damage to structures, fixtures, and machinery. In addition, during shipping and storage, stored product insects can harm and contaminate food.
Investing in pest control monitoring and detection may assist keep pests out of a food processing plant, assuring food safety. Also, many types of butterfly valves can be used to seal the food processing equipment.
3. Hygiene in the environment
For cleanliness and pest control, food processing plants rely on the use of potentially hazardous chemicals. As a result, special care must be taken to limit the possibility of unintentional environmental contamination throughout the food processing process. Food safety procedures must be followed to guarantee that chemicals stored and utilized in food processing facilities do not contaminate food products at any point throughout the manufacturing process.
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There is a need to establish proactive maintenance methods for facilities and food processing machines to guarantee that they function smoothly and efficiently and produce safe food. According to an article in Food Safety Magazine, many food-borne disease outbreaks can be traced back to a failure to keep equipment in inadequate hygienic conditions.
They give the example of a botulism epidemic in the early 1980s caused by poorly functioning can reformer machines. Rats and mice, for example, may wreak havoc on computers by nibbling at power lines and contaminating components that come into direct touch with the products.
5. Proper handling, storage, and transportation
Food safety must be implemented throughout handling, storage, and transportation of both incoming supplies and items going out to consumers, in addition to food manufacturing and preparation. During these stages, various elements must be addressed to guarantee those food items are not contaminated. For example, temperature and humidity, vehicle cleanliness, containers and packing, and even cyber security must be considered during different phases of the food supply chain.
For all areas of the food business, the FDA provides advice on sanitary transportation of food. In addition, it covers a wide range of measures that may be used to prevent food safety issues during transport.
6. Separate some sorts of food
Separate raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs from other items in your shopping basket, and if possible, keep raw meat, poultry, and shellfish in plastic bags. When checking out, keep raw meat, poultry, and fish in separate bags from other items. At home, store raw meat, poultry, and seafood in airtight containers or leak-proof plastic bags. Place them in the freezer if you don’t intend to use them within a few days. Refrigerate eggs in their original cartons in the main compartment rather than the door.
7. The proper way to wash your hands is as follows
Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and behind your nails for at least 20 seconds using regular soap and water (no antibacterial soap). Is it necessary to set a timer? It’s a good idea to hum “Happy Birthday” twice from start to finish. Hands should be rinsed and dried with a clean cloth. Wash your hands often, especially during these critical periods when germs are most likely to spread.
8. Design of machinery and manufacturing lines
To comply with food safety requirements, the design of food processing machinery must also be considered. Poor design can lead to the accumulation of food particles in difficult-to-clean concealed areas. To guarantee that all food handling and processing is done to a high degree of hygiene, there are requirements for machinery design, such as the NSF equipment design standard. The NSF standard was utilized by the American Meat Institute’s Equipment Design Task Force to create ten guidelines to consider when building food processing machinery.
Set up cleaning in gate-valves and disinfection routines to guarantee that proper hygiene requirements are followed and that the danger of a foodborne illness outbreak is minimized. Removing the bacteria that cause food poisoning involves thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing food preparation spaces and machines and utensils used during the food processing cycle. By removing possible food sources and insect breeding sites, following proper cleaning procedures reduces the danger of pests such as rats, flies, and cockroaches in food preparation and processing facilities.
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10. Temperature and Food Storage
The temperature has an impact on food-producing facilities. Allowing food to become too heated will enable germs to develop, making it hazardous to eat. Food kept at temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit for a lengthy period is also susceptible to bacterial and microbial development. Keep an eye on the temperature at which your food is kept. Food that needs to stay hot must be maintained at 140 degrees or above, while food that needs to stay cold must be kept below 41 degrees.
Food safety is ultimately concerned with the stage of consumption, where the presence and severity of food-borne hazards are of primary concern. However, given that food safety concerns can arise at any point along the food chain, strict control measures must be followed at all times. As a result, food safety is a shared duty among all stakeholders in the food chain.