Guidance for Educators | Food Safety

This knowledge hub is a one-stop shop for resources needed to introduce learners to all aspects of food safety across the industry throughout their careers.

This section highlights: culture, management responsibility, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).

i. Culture

A strong safety culture is a prerequisite, particularly where the safety of employees and customers is dependent upon it. Food safety culture is still a relatively new concept in the food industry but has been gaining traction as its impact on the success of food safety management systems, procedures and practices has become clearer. It is increasingly cited in reports and papers related to food safety incidents and outbreaks and is also being identified as a significant emerging risk factor in food quality and food fraud.

IFST article on an analysis of critical points that influence organisational safety cultures

IFST webinar- Food safety: Is it in the mind?

IFST article on emergence of a food safety culture: Principles and review of current initiatives to strengthen its impact on food safety performance

IFST article on insight into its evolution and adoption into food safety management systems, solutions and standards

ii. Management responsibility

This includes document control, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), audit scheduling (internal and external), ensuring traceability, tracking and resolving customer complaints, non-conformances and product recall.

iii. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP)

HACCP is a food safety management system that aims to address hazards in food manufacturing systematically rather than exclusively through finished product testing.

A Prerequisite Programme (PRP) is the foundation for HACCP and food safety within a facility to minimise hazards and their associated risks. Without one, there would be more Critical Control Points (CCPs) than possible to effectively manage, which in turn can reduce the efficacy of the entire system. This section considers premises, people, cleaning, equipment, process control, procurement and product information for users.

Considerations include:

i. Premises - site location, layout and design, materials, structure and condition, temperature control, utilities (air, water, energy), warehousing, preventative maintenance, hygienic design, pest control (rodents, birds, insects)

Ministry for Primary Industries (Govt. of New Zealand) good operating practices for building facilities, site layout and design.

  • EHEDG guidelines. Guideline 44 outlines hygienic design principles for food factories. Guideline 47 covers ventilation.[£]

ii. People - training, personnel hygiene/return to work and employee facilities

IFST article on training in food safety culture

IFST Information Statement on HIV aids and the food handler

IFST factsheet on hand hygiene

FSA business guidance on personal hygiene

iii. Cleaning - contract services (cleaning, laundry), waste control, glass and plastic management, cleaning and disinfection, inspection and maintenance, contamination control

IFST and SOFHT Technical fact sheet on cleaning and disinfection

IFST Information Statement on food waste

iv. Equipment - suitability, calibration, preventative maintenance, hygienic design

European Commission Regulation 1935/2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food

v. Process control - measures to prevent the presence, introduction, growth and survival of pathogens, prevent cross-contamination, controlled rework

IFST factsheet on hand hygiene

Campden BRI resources on working shelf life

CFA food safety considerations for developing and producing chilled foods

CFA guidance publications on science, technology, legislation and hygiene

vi. Procurement - supplier control (ingredients, packaging, services and equipment), incoming material/equipment specifications, distribution

IFST Food Science Fact Sheet on Food and Drink packaging

SALSA auditing standard interpretation guide

vii. Product information for users - date coding, labelling

UK Gov on Food labelling and packaging

FSA guidance on Packaging and Labelling

A food hazard is something that could make food unsafe or unfit to eat. It’s important to identify those stages in your business when hazards could be present so they can be removed or reduced to safe levels (FSA, 2017). This section highlights the following types of hazards: allergenic, physical, radiological, chemical, microbiological, and hazard analysis.

i. Allergenic hazards

Identifying, controlling and communicating food allergens has always been a critical issue throughout the food supply chain.

IFST Food Allergens Knowledge Hub. Since the subject of allergens, and the implications for food businesses, has been brought into even sharper focus, IFST has a dedicated knowledge hub for food allergens.

IFST Food Science Fact Sheet on Food Allergy

IFST Information Statement on allergen analysis

FSA short video on Food hypersensitivity

ii. Physical hazards

These may include glass, hair, metal (machinery fragments, swarf, nuts, screws and bolts), plastic fragments, jewellery, filth (including grass, insect and plant fragments), fingernails, building materials (wall plaster, concrete, flakes of paint), packaging (staples, string, polythene, and cardboard), insects, rodent and other droppings, birds and bird fragments, bone, microplastics and nano plastics.

IFST Information Statement on Microplastics

iii. Radiological hazards

IFST Information Statement on food irradiation

iv. Chemical Hazards

These may include:

Chemical residues such as pesticides, veterinary medicines, biocides:

IFST Information Statement on Biocides

Natural contaminants like marine biotoxins (e.g. shellfish toxins), mycotoxins, glycosides, and plant-based toxins (e.g. pyrrolizidine alkaloids). There is a distinction between natural toxins from those inherently present in the plant intended to be eaten vs. those present in cross-contaminating weeds as the risk management controls are different:

IFST Information Statement on Mycotoxins

Environmental contaminants like heavy metals, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):

Process contaminants such as acrylamide, glycidyl esters, monochloropropanediol (MCPD), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), ethyl carbamate, furan, cleaning products and disinfectants, pest-control contaminants, ethylene oxide:

IFST Information Statement on Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

IFST Information Statement on Acrylamide

IFST Information Statement on 3-MCPD

Those from materials of construction e.g methacrylate from flooring compounds (could taint food):

Bacterial toxins - botulinum, staphylococcal, tetrodotoxins, bacillus cereus:

Printing inks, mineral oils, phthalates, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), BPA as a result of packaging migration:

IFST Information Statement on BPA Migration

Food additives:

Contaminants – radionuclides, histamine, brominated flame retardants (no maximum residue limits (MRL) in law:

v. Microbiological hazards

IFST Information Statement on Foodborne campylobacteriosis

IFST Information Statement on E. coli (STEC) Food Poisoning and its Prevention

IFST Information Statement on foodborne viral infections

IFST Handbook on Microbiological Criteria [£]

WHO Factsheet on Listeria


IFST Information Statement Microbiological analysis- key considerations


IFST resource

Recommended reading for a quick overview

[£]  Paid for resource