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Elements of a safety plan

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FOOD processing companies these days understand well that they need to provide safe food.

Government regulators and maybe more importantly, the customers, demand it.

In order to ensure the safety of their products they need quality assurance systems which will monitor product through all steps of the production process.

Traditionally, says 3M Microbiology business development manager Phil Curry, the central focus was on testing of the product itself, as the ultimate check of efficacy.

“Increasingly, however, modern process engineering principles tell us that if you can control the quality of the input materials and the operation of the process, then the quality of the output product can be assured – and at a lower total cost to the manufacturer,” Phil told FOOD.

“In other words, engineer quality into the product, rather than measure and reject the non-conforming product later.”

Use of HACCP methodology, says Phil, is a proven way to develop such a system.

“Environmental monitoring is a key element, and thus becomes a central component of food processors’ safety management programs,” he said.

“By controlling the possible sources of contamination in the factory environment you can dramatically reduce the frequency of contamination of product.”

Pest control

Food production facilities in general, says Rentokil general manager David Peterson, are ideal feeding and harbourage sites for pests such as rodents, cockroaches, stored product insects, ants and more.

“The biggest risk is what these pests can do to raw product, the production process and the finished product,” David said.

“Controlling these pests will often require the use of pesticides and/or rodenticides which in itself produces another high risk. It is vital that the pest control service provider demonstrate the ability to deliver this service safely, by way of effective and proactive reporting systems, training and technical support.

“Some of the common mistakes you should try to avoid in choosing this provider is in selecting a pest control service that focuses on reactive treatments with minimal reporting and little, or no technical support, rather than a proactive program where the pest control service provider and customer work together to deal with current issues, and use detail reporting and trend analysis to plan future actions.”

High speed doors

Food and beverage manufactures are increasingly looking to improve their processes and quality of product, according to Les Davies of Albany Door Systems .

“To eliminate any contamination from within the manufacturing area the door has to be examined as a possible contamination source. This has placed emphasis on examining closely the materials that are used to make high speed doors,” he told FOOD.

“We are seeing more stainless steel used in the door construction where other materials may corrode or dissolve.”

The construction of covers and profiles, says Les, are manufactured to eliminate dust catching areas such as sloped tops on control boxes and top roll covers not allowing the dust to settle.

“Door blade fabrics, with a smooth surface, that reduce the possibility of any contamination sticking to them. These should also be rugged enough to be impervious to heat, cold, humidity and moisture bur still offer reliability and a long life.”

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