What is food safety management?
Food safety management is a set of practices and structures in place to ensure that food produced, processed, and stored in a facility is safe for employees, customers, and the environment. Food safety management is a practice-based approach that, when implemented effectively, can help prevent contamination, reduce pathogens, and minimize the risk of exposure to food-borne illnesses.
Why Food Safety Management Is Important for Food Businesses
What is food safety management?
Food safety management is the process of keeping food safe from contamination and spoilage. It includes all aspects of food production, preparation, and storage. Food safety is a major concern in the food industry due to the potential of injuries, illness, and fatalities if food is not handled properly.
There are different ways to approach food safety management, but generally, it involves creating and maintaining systems and procedures to minimize the risk of contamination or other food safety hazards and maintaining high food standards. This can include everything from employee safety training and education to regular inspections and audits. An effective food safety management system will be tailored to the specific needs of a business in the food industry, taking into account factors like the type of food handled, the size of the operation, etc.
The purpose of food safety management system?
There are various food safety management systems (FSMSs) in existence, but they all share the same goal- to ensure the safety of food products. An FSMS is a set of policies and procedures that are designed to prevent foodborne illnesses and other contamination issues. The system typically includes hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP), which is a risk assessment method that identifies potential haccp hazards and establishes controls to mitigate those risks. Other components of an FSMS can include Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), and product traceability systems. Irrespective of the food safety management system you employ, the end goal of each of them is to ensure the safety of your customers and employees.
Foodborne illness is a serious issue
This article will help you understand why food safety management is so important for your business, and what you need to do in order to maintain a program that will be effective for you
Key elements of food safety management system
The elements of a food safety management system are usually divided into four categories-
Policies and Procedures- These establish the framework within which a food establishment manages food safety. They set out the responsibilities of each staff member, and outline what needs to be done to meet food safety requirements.
Employee Training and Education- Food safety training ensures that all staff has the knowledge and skills required to safely handle food. It also helps them to understand why food safety is important, and how they can contribute to maintaining high food standards.
Monitoring and Auditing- These activities help to identify any potential problems with the way food is being handled so that corrective actions can be taken. Regular monitoring also allows trends to be identified, so that preventative measures can be put in place before problems arise.
Corrective Actions and Critical Control Points- This covers what should be done if something goes wrong, for example, if there is an outbreak of food poisoning linked to a particular product or supplier, corrective actions may involve recalling products from sale or halting production until the problem has been rectified.
Examples of food safety management
There are many different types of food safety management, but the most common examples include-
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)- HACCP is a scientific approach to food safety that identifies potential hazards and sets critical control points throughout the food production process.
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)- GMPs are a set of guidelines that govern how food is manufactured, processed, and stored. They aim to ensure the safety and quality of food products.
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)- SOPs are detailed instructions on how to safely handle, prepare, and store food. They help to prevent contamination and cross-contamination of foods.
Softwares for food safety management system
There are a variety of software programs available to help manage food safety. HACCP Manager is one example of a web-based software program that can be used to develop and track Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) Plans and meet food safety regulations. Additionally, Food Safety NetServices offers an online self-assessment tool called the Food Safety Scorecard, which can be used to measure a company's food safety practices against FDA and USDA guidelines. Zip Checklist is another software that could help meet the objectives of food safety programs. Zipchecklist Features include maintaining standard operating procedures through easy-to-use checklists and templates. Others such as FoodDocs, Jolt, ProdSmart, TraceGains, and ComplianceMate are management systems widely used by top players in the food industry to cultivate a food safety culture.
Foodborne illnesses are on the rise and it’s important to know what you need to do to protect your business
We’ve outlined the steps you can take to protect your food business
Five steps of food safety management system
There are five key steps in any food safety management system- identification and assessment of risks; selection, implementation, and maintenance of control measures; monitoring to check that control measures are effective; review to make sure the system is working as it should; and continual improvement.
In order to identify potential risks, businesses need to consider all stages of their operations from ingredient and raw material procurement right through to manufacture, storage, distribution, transport, display, and sale. Once identified, risks can be assessed in terms of their likelihood and consequences.
Based on this risk assessment process, businesses should then decide on the most appropriate safety management measures to put in place. These might include changes to processes or procedures, or the introduction of new technology or equipment. It is important that critical control measures selected are fit for the purpose and are proportionate to the risks involved.
Monitoring systems need to be put in place so that businesses can put corrective actions in place and check that their controls are working effectively. Regular reviews should also be carried out to ensure that the food safety management system as a whole is still able to respond effectively to any changes or challenges in business operations or surroundings. Finally, businesses should always look for ways in which they can improve their systems further.
Let's discuss each of these points in greater detail below.
1. Identify needs, scope, and objectives
The first step is to identify and assess the risks and hazards associated with the food. This includes looking at factors such as how the food is produced, what ingredients are used, and how it will be stored and prepared. Identifying possible hazards is key to ensuring the success of your food safety management system. To be thorough, make sure to conduct a thorough hazard analysis against haccp principles. Once you have identified potential hazards and risks, ask what of these can be solved by an efficient food safety management system and prioritize accordingly.
2. Establish a food safety policy
One of the most important steps that a restaurant can take to ensure food is safely handled and prepared is to establish a clear and concise food safety policy. This policy should lay out the procedures that employees need to follow in order to ensure that all the food that is served to customers is safe for consumption. For example, all food handlers should be thoroughly trained in safety measures such as food safety refrigerator temperature etc. The policy should align with safety management systems and include procedures for dealing with potential foodborne illnesses, such as keeping potentially contaminated foods separate from other foods and properly disposing of any food that may be contaminated. By having a clear food safety policy in place, restaurants can help ensure the health safety of their customers.
3. Develop a hazard control plan
After identifying the risks in your work environment, you need to develop a plan to control these hazards. Hazards extend beyond food protection and can be of various kinds, such as biological hazard or chemical hazard etc. The latter too helps with providing safer food to customers. This step involves establishing what needs to be done to eliminate or minimize the risk of harm and how this will be achieved.
There are a number of ways to control hazards to ensure food safety, including-
Eliminating the hazard altogether;
Substituting the hazard with a less harmful one;
Isolating the hazard from people (e.g. using barriers or enclosures);
Changing the way people work with the hazard (e.g. using different methods, processes, or materials); and
providing information, training, and supervision so that people know how to safely work with the hazard.
4. Follow prerequisite programs
Establishing food standards and terms conditions of food preparation and handling are key to ensuring a healthy food safety culture in your organization. Food training programs should be a requisite for anyone and everyone who wishes to work at your food establishment. Along with providing a guide to food safety and ensuring that the staff has a sound understanding of its importance, prerequisite programs also help establish corrective actions to address deviations, and document them so the next time a similar incident occurs, the staff has past experience to rely on.
5. Measure the effectiveness of the food safety system
There are two main ways to measure the effectiveness of a food safety system. First is input-based measures, which track various inputs into the food safety system, such as resources devoted to inspections or training of food handlers. These measures provide some indication of the effort being expended on food safety, but they do not necessarily tell us whether that effort is resulting in safer food.
Output-based measures, which is the second way to measure the effectiveness of a food safety system, assess the actual outcomes of the food safety system, such as the number of outbreaks or cases of illness attributable to specific foods. These types of measures are more comprehensive about whether the system is actually protecting consumers, but they can be more difficult and expensive to collect.
Either way, it is crucial to establish effective management systems that can help you manage food safety.
Foodborne illnesses can be costly, and can lead to lost revenue
Implementing a food safety management program can help you identify potential hazards, manage risks, and prevent the spread of foodborne illness