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Tip of the Week: Applying Food Safety Best Practices to Your Plant
Tip of the Week: Applying Food Safety Best Practices to Your Plant

Today on the blog, we're sharing four simple strategies for taking food safety practices from basic to premier and giving you actionable steps to make it happen!

1. How have food safety practices evolved since the last IBIE in 2016?

Since 2016, almost all key FSMA regulation compliance dates have been reached including Intentional Adulteration for large plants effective as of July 26, 2019.  Another practice that our experts at AIB International have seen since the last IBIE, is facilities going back to basics and shoring up their prerequisite programs. Additionally, food brands are continuing to improve their training programs to ensure all personnel are qualified for their specific roles and responsibilities as it relates to the food safety plan.

2. What food safety concerns should be top of mind for bakeries in 2019? What can bakeries do to mitigate these risks?

The FDA is still focusing on allergens and allergen controls. Recalls for undeclared allergens are still occurring frequently. Bakeries should review their preventive controls established for allergen hazards. Most controls currently being analyzed are label reviews to ensure allergens are declared on the label and that the right label is on the right product. Other controls usually revolve around changeover cleaning when producing a product that has an allergen immediately followed by a non-allergen containing product. When changeover cleaning is complete, another set of controls must be analyzed to produce a product that does not include that allergen. Effective cleaning and/or sanitation is required to prevent allergen cross-contact. Reviewing and verifying these controls will assist in ensuring the hazard is truly controlled.

3. What benchmarks can bakers use to ensure their operation is on a path to success?

The best benchmarks for food safety and quality success are inspections and audits. A good physical inspection or GMP inspection conducted by qualified internal staff can verify that the programs and food safety plan are working. Alternatively, an internal review can assist in finding potential gaps and allow a facility to implement corrective actions to get back on track. Results of a third part audit can also provide good benchmarks for where a facility is currently stands. 

4. What food safety and sanitation equipment features should bakers keep in mind while browsing the show floor at this year’s IBIE?

They should consider questions like:

  • How difficult will this piece of equipment be to clean in between uses and at the end of a run?
  • Could allergens, if used, be difficult to remove? (e.g., hard to reach surfaces, pinch points where product could build up, cloth belts, and ineffective sanitary design).
  • Are non-food contact surfaces of the equipment easy to disassemble and clean?
  • Are motors mounted outside of product zones or equipped with catch pans to capture oil leaks?
  • Are lubricated bearings sealed to prevent excesses of lubrication from impacting product zones?
  • Are moving parts easily maintained in proper alignment to prevent metal to metal wear concerns?

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