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Inspectle Food Safety Inspection Software

Food Safety for Manufacturers

Food safety for manufacturers

Food safety in manufacturing means verifying that the food produced is safe, nutritious, and enjoyable. It involves following specific practices and rules defined by industry certifications to prevent foodborne illnesses and to guarantee product quality. 

As a Quality Manager in a food manufacturing facility, you need to know and apply these safety measures to keep consumers safe, keep your standards high, and comply with regulations consistently every day, week, and month.

After all, your facility is part of a larger value chain. From the farm to the table, every step in the food chain involves specific safety and hygiene measures to ensure the health and well-being of consumers. Lapses or oversights can lead to severe health risks, including food poisoning and other foodborne diseases.

Why food safety matters

Food safety applies to all stages of food production in your facilities, from raw materials to finished products.Food can become unsafe through many means, such as cross-contamination, improper production or storage, and foreign bodies or harmful microorganisms. Therefore, understanding and implementing food safety measures is a 'must' for preventing foodborne illnesses and ensuring the health and safety of consumers.

Food Safety Standards and Certificates

Various local, national, and international bodies, such as the FDA in the United States or the EFSA in the European Union, set food safety regulations to ensure food products are safe for consumption. These regulations cover many areas:

  • food handling

  • food processing

  • food storage

  • food packaging

  • food distribution

Compliance with these regulations is mandatory for all food businesses. Non-compliance can result in penalties, including fines and closure of the company. Regulatory authorities carry out regular inspections to ensure adherence to these standards. 

Here are two examples of well-known and widely used certifications in the US and the EU food industries.

AIB in the United States

AIB food safety standard for visual inspections

Did you know that according to the FDA, foodborne illnesses affect 1 in 6 Americans yearly?

AIB International's Consolidated Standards for Inspection are well-known standards in the US food industry to combat that issue. These standards help food manufacturing facilities meet regulatory requirements and maintain food safety. Here's a breakdown of what AIB standards focus on:

  1. Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs). GMPs ensure that products are made and controlled consistently to high-quality standards. This includes proper cleaning of equipment, safe handling of raw materials, and maintaining hygienic conditions in the facility.

  2. Food Safety Programs

    1. HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points): Identifies and controls potential hazards in the food production process.

    2. HARPC (Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls): Similar to HACCP, it includes preventive measures for identified risks.

  3. Food Defense. This involves setting up measures to protect the facility from intentional contamination. It includes securing the premises, monitoring access points, and training staff to recognize and respond to threats.

Usage of AIB Standards

Facilities following AIB standards have significantly reduced contamination incidents, helping protect consumers and avoid costly recalls. That's why AIB standards are applied across different segments of the food industry, including:

  • Grain Handling: Establishing that grains are stored and processed safely and hygienically.

  • Food Contact Packaging: Making sure packaging materials do not contaminate food.

  • Food Distribution Centers: Maintaining food safety during storage and distribution.

Plus, many, many others. 

Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) in the EU

Global food safety initiative standard for food safety

The Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) brings together food safety experts from retail, manufacturing, and food service companies worldwide. It sets food safety standards benchmarks to confirm they meet high safety and quality requirements.

GFSI's main goal is to create a unified standard for food safety management systems. This helps improve food safety throughout the entire supply chain. By following GFSI-recognized standards, food companies can better manage risks and certify their products are safe for consumers.

In the EU, GFSI recognizes several standards.

BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standards)

  • What It Covers: BRCGS sets standards for food safety, quality, and operations. Food manufacturers use it worldwide, not just in the UK.

  • Impact: BRCGS certification can lead to a 34% reduction in food safety incidents and improve overall product quality​​.

IFS (International Featured Standards)

  • What It Covers: IFS is used by quality managers to audit food manufacturers and suppliers, focusing on food safety and the quality of processes and products.

  • Impact: Facilities certified with IFS see a 25% decrease in food safety non-conformities​​.

FSSC 22000 (Food Safety System Certification)

  • What It Covers: This standard integrates ISO 22000 with additional food safety requirements. It is recognized by GFSI and can be used by all food manufacturers.

  • Impact: Adopting FSSC 22000 can help companies reduce food recall rates by up to 45% and ensure better regulatory compliance​​.

Some Aspects of Food Safety Regulations

Facility Location and Design

  • Facilities should be away from pollution and pest-prone areas.

  • Buildings should use durable, easy-to-clean materials to avoid contamination.

Machinery and Equipment

  • Machinery should prevent food residue build-up and be easy to clean.

  • Equipment must meet standards like those from the NSF to ensure hygienic food handling.

  • Regular maintenance of machinery is essential to prevent contamination and ensure smooth operation.

Pest Control

  • Effective pest control programs are necessary to keep pests from contaminating food.

  • Regular monitoring and immediate action if pests are detected are critical.

  • Common pests in food processing include rodents, insects, and stored product pests.

Cleaning and Hygiene

  • Implement comprehensive cleaning and disinfection programs.

  • Regular cleaning of food preparation areas, utensils, and machinery is crucial.

  • Proper cleaning protocols help prevent foodborne illnesses and pest infestations.

Waste Management

  • Proper waste management practices prevent waste build-up that attracts pests.

  • Use appropriate containers and secure waste storage areas.

  • Regular waste removal is necessary to maintain hygiene standards.

Personal Hygiene

  • Staff should follow strict personal hygiene practices to prevent contamination.

  • Facilities must provide adequate handwashing stations and protective clothing.

  • Training in personal hygiene practices is essential for all employees handling food.

Environmental Hygiene

  • Control the use of chemicals in sanitation and pest control to prevent environmental contamination.

  • Ensure chemicals are stored and used safely within the facility.

Handling, Storage, and Transport

  • Maintain proper conditions during food handling, storage, and transport.

  • Control temperature, humidity, and hygiene of storage and transport equipment.

  • Follow guidelines for the sanitary transportation of food to prevent contamination.

Staff Training

  • Educate staff on food safety practices and regulations.

  • Train all food handlers in hygiene and safety standards relevant to their roles.

Food safety helps you succeed

For food businesses, maintaining food safety and hygiene is not just a legal obligation but also a factor in their success. Consumers trust businesses that prioritize food safety and hygiene, and they are likely to become loyal customers.

On the other hand, a foodborne illness outbreak can devastate a food business. It can lead to loss of customers, legal action, and damage to the business's reputation. Therefore, investing in food safety and hygiene is not just a matter of public health but also an intelligent business decision.

Improve Your Food Safety Practices with Inspectle Food

Understanding food safety is just the first step. Take your food production plant's hygiene inspections to the next level with Inspectle Food. We designed our platform to save your quality and production teams time with automatically generated reports and a user-friendly interface. 

Say goodbye to needless paperwork and slow communication. 

With Inspectle Food, you can easily track and assign non-conformities, receive automatic notifications, and benefit from intelligent automation tools that lead to a 70% time saving and up to 4x faster resolution of food hygiene issues. 

Trusted by industry leaders and fully compatible with GFSI standards, Inspectle Food is the solution for flexible, efficient food safety management. Book a demo today and see the difference for yourself!

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