How to Implement Food Safety: A Manufacturer’s Guide
Published March 26th, 2020
Food Safety in Manufacturing
Maintaining the safety of food is crucial not only to the success of a food manufacturing business but also to the health of consumers. It entails a concerted effort and commitment to following food safety processes by all those involved in food production to keep food safe, prevent costly product recalls, and stay aligned with industry standards.
Collaboration within the organization and preparation at every step of production—from receiving the raw materials to the delivery of the finished product—can help in the effective implementation of food safety processes in the organization.
This article provides tips on how to effectively implement food safety processes in food manufacturing and best practice software that can help streamline food safety processes.
1. Identify Objectives & Scope
- It is a challenge to incorporate food safety processes in food manufacturing that is why it is important to be laser-focused and know what the business intends to achieve.
- Is the drive for food safety implementation due to:
- a response to food safety incident or PR/ brand damage that occurred
- product recall
- preparation for an upcoming inspection from the regulator (i.e. FDA inspection)
- achieve certification to win new business (FSSC 22000, BRC)
- defend against vulnerabilities or threats to food safety by introducing food safety methods (VACCP, TACCP)
- need to create a food safety framework applicable to the business (HACCP, ISO 22000)
2. Assemble a team responsible for a food safety plan
- Diversity is key. Food safety is a complex operational exercise and requires expertise across various teams and functions to be effective. Include expertise from safety, management, production, logistics, quality, and other key teams that will contribute to the formation of feasible food safety processes.
- The formed team should understand where the organization currently stands when it comes to food safety and come up with a gameplan. The team can gather data through risk assessments to help determine how the organization should implement food safety.
3. Involve employees
- Cascade the directive and explain to the employees the company’s objective for implementing these processes (regulatory compliance, aim for certification, etc) and how can the employees contribute to help make food safety work.
- Encourage employee feedback, particularly from those working in the production area since their experience will be invaluable for the effective implementation of food safety.
- Provide food safety training during employee onboarding, give refresher training courses, and conduct training evaluation for employees to gauge how much was learned and to keep them updated on changes regarding food safety.
- Keeping employees informed, setting timelines and expectations, and preparing them by providing trainings will empower employees and help streamline the implementation of food safety processes.
4. Monitor impact and review implementation
- Conduct regular audits to record how food safety is being practiced and include measurable observations. This will encourage compliance and reinforce commitment to the processes and standards being implemented.
- Detailed notes and photos taken by internal auditors can help determine the impact of implementing food safety processes. Observing trends over time can help gauge how effective the processes are.
- Record keeping is a required facet of HACCP, one of the most common food safety framework. Find out tips on how to implement effective record keeping in food safety.
5. Aim for continuous improvement and certification, if necessary
- New hazards and threats to food safety are kept at bay by being vigilant through monitoring and continuously improving food production processes.
- Getting certified for food safety is advantageous because the institutions aligned with the food industry prefer partnerships with businesses that have existing food industry standards certification.
- Conducting internal audits and recognizing non-compliance with food safety standards will gauge eligibility for third-party certification. Here are some sample internal audit checklists to help determine if your food safety processes align with existing industry standards:
iAuditor, the world’s most powerful inspection app, can help streamline and effectively implement food safety processes in food manufacturing. With iAuditor, you can:
- Proactively capture issues – Use the iAuditor mobile app when conducting food safety monitoring anytime and record any food hazards. Include photos of the hazards for a more informative audit report.
- Instantly assign tasks – Found a food safety hazard? Use iAuditor on your mobile device to assign corrective action to the authorized person. Receive real-time updates on the status of tasks assigned.
- Stay on schedule – Be reminded when monitoring is due with the scheduling feature. Know when assigned tasks are completed within the given window.
- Automate record keeping – Organized paperless records are secure in the cloud and can be accessed and shared using your mobile device or desktop.
- Analyze trends – Use iAuditor’s analytics to observe how food safety processes are performing across departments and sites.
- Create customizable checklists – iAuditor templates can be edited to fit your business needs and can be shared with your team.