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Food Safety and Hazards

Identify all potential food safety hazards that may be expected to occur in the food facility.

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Processing food needs a high degree of hygiene to avoid poisoning and contamination. Manufacturers are obligated to maintain safe control measures to ensure products are fit for human consumption. Safety controls must be followed to prevent product contamination (Soon et al., 2020). The following are the main food safety hazards at processing facilities;

Biological Hazards

These are microorganisms that cause contamination during and after processing. Parasites infest raw food, removing them before processing is necessary to prevent infections. Like any other hazards, spores-forming bacteria, cause food-borne diseases to victims (Jamal et al., 2019). Examples of these bacteria include Bocilus cercus, Clostridium perfringens, and Clostridium botulinum. The non-spore-forming Brucella abortis is very harmful on entering the human body. Viruses resist considerably high temperatures, foods must be well cooked to prevent infections.

Chemical Hazards

A chemical agent that causes injury or medical complications to human life when consumed. The hazards are classified as naturally occurring, formulated, or unintentionally found in food products. Naturally occurring chemicals are created when two elements combine to form a toxic substance. The chemically formulated hazards can be food preservatives. Unintended toxics find their way into food due to staff negligence. Certain foods contain proteins that cause allergies in certain individuals, e.g., eggs, fish, etc.

Physical Hazards

These are foreign bodies found in food products caused by not following food safety procedures. Anything hard objects found in food is a physical hazard since it causes illness or medical problems to consumers. These may include objects like broken glasses, metal particles, wood chippings, etc.

Allergens

Naturally occurring proteins in some food contain substances that cause allergies to people with high sensitivity. It is not known why certain individuals produce immunoglobulin E that reacts with proteins, causing an abnormal immune response. Sensitive people react to protein allergens through body swelling, itching, abdominal pains, and vomiting. The foods that contain these proteins include milk, eggs, fish, etc.

Identify solutions for controlling these hazards. Include daily records that demonstrate regular measurement and observation for each of the controls

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The following methods are used to prevent food hazards named above.

Washing Hands

Human activities form the largest agents of contamination in food facilities. Dirty hands handling food attaches objects, chemicals, and disease-causing microorganisms. Washing hands is vital but, when overlooked, may breach the safety control procedures. Hand washing equipment must be installed and soaps placed strategically at the facility. Waste control policies can also help prevent contamination by keeping food away from wastes.

Drainage Systems

Wastewater and other fluids are challenges in food processing because water is used at almost all production levels. Having proper drainage prevents breading of microorganisms that cause diseases, thus combating human food contamination. Some viruses and bacteria cause air-borne diseases without the need for agents to facilitate contamination. Listeria M viruses are known to cause disease outbreaks, and preventive control measures must prevent its spread. Disinfectants sprayed in drains will destroy the microorganisms which cause food contamination.

Chemical Storage

Chemical contamination often occurs by storing chemicals in short proximity with food substances. Through capillary or absorption, food may absorb fumes in the air when stored near toxic substances. A food safety policy must be in place to ensure chemicals are segregated in storage areas to prevent contamination. The mistake has been realized that food processors store chemicals near or together with food. H1 chemicals are stored separately in safe cabinets to facilitate proper food safety control measures.

Biofilms

Some places or surfaces are not reachable for cleaning that form sticky films that nature microorganism breeding at food facilities. An environmental audit must be done at certain intervals to determine the course of action to be taken. Since the areas are not accessible, hot steams should be applied to kill any germs available. The antiseptic chemicals may also be applied as a measure to prevent and eliminate the microorganisms.

Safety Daily Records

Below are some of the daily records to help monitor and evaluate food safety controls.

Table 1. Food Delivery Checks.

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Deliveries must be checked promptly and details recorded. Chilled and Frozen foods must be stored below +8ºC and below -18ºC respectively.

Delivery Date Supplier Invoice/ Delivery No Temp. on Delivery Date Code Check √/ⅹ Condition Food/pack √/ⅹ Comments Signed
4/3/2021 Minori AOU2 +5ºC 4/3/2021 Good
4/3/2021 Yoyi Ind AOU7 +7ºC 4/3/2021 Good
4/3/2021 Cool Hse AOU3 -14ºC 4/3/2021 Good

Table 2. Food Storage Temperature Checks.

High-risk perishable and Frozen Foods are stored below +8ºC and below -18ºC respectively.

Chill Temperature Freezer Temperature Signed
1 2 3 4 5 6 1 2 3 4 5
Mon
Tue
Wed
Thur
Fri
Sat
Sun

Table 3. Cleaning Checks – Daily.

Area / Equipment Mon Tue Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun
Is sanitizer available? yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Clean cloths yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Floor yes yes yes yes No yes yes
Refrigerators/Freezer yes yes yes yes yes yes yes
Worksurface clean Clean Clean Clean Clean Clean clean
Internal bins Dirty clean clean clean clean clean Dirty
Sinks & Basins clean Clean Clean Clean Clean Clean clean

Food Safety Plan and Recordkeeping – Preventive Controls

The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) provides that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) devices regulations for Hazard Analysis and Risk Preventive Control (HARPC) requirements in food manufacturing plants (Nyarugwe et al., 2020). All facilities must register with FDA to facilitate food safety hazard control. An FDA-trained person is recommended in developing and overseeing food safety plan preparation. Under this plan, the following items are covered;

Hazard Analysis

The food safety plan should document hazard analysis to identify and assess both known and unknown hazards for every product processed and packed at the facility. All biological, chemical, radiological and physical hazards must be identified at the premises and determine their likelihood of occurrences.

Preventive Control

The food safety plan must have a written preventive control document to minimize or prevent identified hazards and ensure product misbranding or alteration are not practiced. Preventive control monitors allergen, sanitation controls to make sure standards and requirements are maintained. Preventive controls procedure monitoring must be well spelled out and the frequencies at which they occur in a specified period.

Corrective Action Procedures

The food safety plan should have a written corrective action procedure if preventive procedures are improperly implemented. The procedures must ensure correction of problems and make sure uncertified products don’t reach the market. Some firms adulterate or misbrand bad food products in fear of losses. The procedures must evaluate all controls to ensure all requirements are met to produce a product.

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Verification Procedures

The food safety plan should document verification procedures for validating preventive controls and ensure consistent implementation to minimize hazards. Qualified persons must verify food safety plans before implemented for evaluation of scientific and technical materials available.

Recordkeeping Requirements

The facility manager must maintain proper records on procedures and controls for appropriate food safety plan implementation discussed. The following must be recorded for future references.

  1. Keep records of preventive control monitoring documents
  2. Records of the supplier programs
  3. Keep records of corrective action documents
  4. Keep records of verification
  5. Record all documents of training qualified staff

Provide for the regular review of the program by the food business to ensure its adequacy

The food safety plan review must be conducted at certain specified intervals to ensure consistency, and procedural control evaluation and FDA guidelines followed. For effectiveness and assurance, the FSMS should conduct reviews frequently.

The Review Process

The FSMS reviews the process by carrying out evaluations, documenting discussion topics and decisions made, and who is assigned duty to complete every task. Possible changes in the food safety policies, objectives, and goals must be documented for continued improvement and compliance (Panghal et al., 2018). The following are covered in the review, among others.

  • Corrective and preventive action status
  • Training requirements
  • Management Review implementation requirements follow-up
  • Recommendations on Management improvement
  • Review violations of notices

Provide procedures for corrective action when a hazard is found to not be under control

Correction actions are measures taken when extreme food safety hazards occur in the manufacturing, packaging, and transportation of food products. Critical limits must be established to set the minimum or maximum of a certain food hazard at every Critical Control point (CCP). For example, a 2/4 hour rule must be used to determine the maximum time food can be stored at danger zone temperatures (5oC ­60oC) before discarded. There are two types of corrective actions.

The immediate corrective action will fix a problem at hand or deviate from extreme limits, thus prevent losses and damages. Below are some of the immediate corrective measures taken at a point of critical limit.

  1. Discard any foods that show signs of spoiling.
  2. Reject food deliveries that may show marks of damage or bite marks.
  3. Refrigerating perishable food in cold storage at or below 5oC.
  4. Dispose of all foods that are stored in danger zone temperatures for more than 4 hours.
  5. Employees with symptoms of food-borne-related diseases should be home for medication.

Preventive, corrective actions prevent a food hazard from reoccurring in the future. The following are the actions taken at the point critical limits.

  1. Ensuring broken, cracked equipment and utensils are repaired or replaced to avoid contamination.
  2. Food preparation surfaces with cracks should be replaced immediately ( e.g., chopping boards and countertops).
  3. All staff must be trained on Food safety hazards that may occur at the facility.

Finally, corrective actions must be recorded and communicated to the relevant persons. For example, what critical limit exceeded what CCP and why, how, and what action was taken to prevent future reoccurrence of the same.

If the food safety supervisor is absent, the following should be done;

  1. Hire more than one supervisor.

The absentia of the food supervisor opens a loophole for breaches in food safety procedures. It is recommended to have more than one supervisor to relieve one another. It creates a proactive food safety strategy to manage employee shifts and emergencies.

  1. Share information

Food safety supervisors should share relevant information to all staff on control procedures, easy-to-follow guides, organizing kitchen spaces, displaying signposts and posters at strategic points.

  1. Act quickly

Where a food safety supervisor absents, a new supervisor must be engaged to take charge of business immediately. This will avoid breaches in food safety procedures along the processing lines.

References

Jamal, M., Bukhari, S. M., Andleeb, S., Ali, M., Raza, S., Nawaz, M. A & Shah, S. S. (2019). Bacteriophages: An overview of the control strategies against multiple bacterial infections in different fields. Journal of Basic Microbiology, 59(2), 123-133.

Nyarugwe, S. P., Linnemann, A. R., & Luning, P. A. (2020). Prevailing food safety culture in companies operating in a transition economy. Does product riskiness matter? Food Control, 107.

Soon, J. M., Brazier, A. K., & Wallace, C. A. (2020). Determining common contributory factors in food safety incidents–A review of global outbreaks and recalls 2008–2018. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 97, 76-87.

Panghal, A., Chhikara, N., Sindhu, N., & Jaglan, S. (2018). Role of food safety management systems in safe food production: A review. Journal of Food Safety, 38(4).

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