Store-bought food, be it pre-packaged or prepared in-store, has become such a feature of modern life that it’s unlikely we give too much thought to whether said food items are safe to consume. Have you ever taken a moment to think about the many stages within the production process that any packaged or processed food item has undergone before you purchase it?
The recent listeria hysteria and rodent rage that have poured through local news channels have shed a much-needed spotlight on the importance of hygiene and food safety. The point of production in food industries is a place for early contamination and mishandling of products.
The potential impact of poor hygiene can be severely detrimental to a business’ success in the food industry; the risks include compromised health and safety, damage to brand reputation, costs of possible legal actions, closure or financial penalties due to failure to comply with HACCP food safety regulations, increased absenteeism, or further contamination to staff and customers if sick employees attend work.
Our years of experience in the hygiene industry mean that we know just how important good hygiene is in this environment, and our first recommendation to food manufacturing companies is always to strongly encourage them to adopt and follow the HACCP model (hazard analysis and critical control points). The production of food for the end consumer usually involves many steps and people, and this presents multiple opportunities for cross-contamination.
HACCP is a model that ensures that the end product for consumer consumption is safe to eat. It introduces procedures that aim to limit the risks associated with food production. Foodborne illnesses can be severe, as seen with the listeria outbreak, and more often than not is a result of either poor hygiene during food preparation processes or unclean machinery. It is important to ensure that bacteria prevented from growing at every point during the food preparation process.
It is essential to assess hazards at every point of production, identifying the exact points at which food safety may be compromised. Additionally, manufacturers must ensure that everyone involved in the production process maintains as high a hygiene standard as possible, furthermore ensuring that all production machinery is cleaned thoroughly and regularly, as production line surfaces can easily become home to pathogenic strains of E.coli or other bacteria that cause Gastroenteritis. Germs remain on surfaces such as production lines for up to 48 hours. To help with this Initia l Hygiene offers a range of services, tailored to your needs, that helps businesses comply with the Food Safety Act.
Control, Monitor and Evaluate Hygiene Standards
Having assessed all of the potential hazards it is important to have a methodical means of monitoring hygiene and food safety throughout the food production facility. This can be done by recording and documenting daily health and safety procedures. This allows for accountability and traceability should any problems arise, consequently this further aids in the evaluation process. After which any corrective measures should be established. This means quickly disposing of potentially contaminated food items or withdrawing products from stores.
We advise that everyone in the food production and manufacturing sector go through food safety and hygiene awareness training so that individuals can confidently and effectively implement HACCP throughout a food production site. Hygiene services from professionals in the hygiene industry should be sought to further mitigate the spread of bacteria and disease.