Food production facilities have a responsibility to safeguard the public by implementing several contamination prevention procedures. If foodborne pathogens are traced back to a food production facility, it will likely result in closures and significant brand damage. To keep consumers healthy and your business thriving, make sure you’re following these contamination methods.
There’s a lot of machinery in food processing facilities, and it works relentlessly. To avoid the physical or microbiological contamination of food, all machinery must be regularly maintained, which involves cleaning, oiling, repairs, and inspections. This extends to food transportation units, which include a network of pipes that must be airtight. If you notice any issues along the pipe infrastructure, you will need to replace the sealing pipe with a durable material.
Your facility should have daily cleaning processes and be operating on a “clean-as-you-go” mentality. However, you need to take this further by having regular deep cleans, which involves reaching those hard-to-clean spots. For example, pulling out machinery, cleaning drains, and disassembling equipment to get inside. Deep cleaning is preventative, meaning it needs to take place at regular intervals.
Finding Control Points
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) defines control points as ‘any point where a physical, chemical or biological factor can be controlled’. Inside your business, you’ll recognize this as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). When a facility is assessing hazards, every control point needs highlighting and measures need to be put in place to avoid contamination. For example, cooling food to certain temperatures, using magnets to find foreign bodies, and running pathogen tests.
Every food production facility is different, which is why a detailed analysis needs to be carried out at each point. If you’re struggling to work out what is and isn’t a control point, refer to this decision tree from the FDA.
When personnel and objects arrive at the facility or move between stations, there’s a high chance that they’re carrying harmful contaminants. Therefore, it’s recommended that each entrance should have a sanitation station, which provides water, soap, PPE, and hand sanitizer. When it comes to wheels and shoes, a timed foamer will do the trick. As well as this, pellets can be applied to the floor to reduce contaminant spreading.
Employees need to learn about the dangers of contamination in the food industry, and they need to receive extensive training on all of the preventative processes put in place. As well as this, it’s important for there to be a strict “no turning up to work sick” policy. Alongside this, despite the Covid-19 pandemic slowing, appropriate signage needs to be in place to advise about the symptoms of the virus.
The impact of food contamination is enormous, both for consumers that could fall ill and your business that will have its name dragged through the mud. Food manufacturers have the mandate to make sure every point in their production process is controlled, and zero contaminants are allowed to enter the facility.