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.
- Retained EU regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- Government Chemist Collection of quarterly reviews provides updates on developments in food and feed law and related scientific and regulatory issues
This section highlights: culture, management responsibility, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
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.
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.
- SALSA auditing standard interpretation guide
- Ministry for Primary Industries (Govt. of NZ) guidance documents on Good Operating Practices for traceability, customer complaints, non-conformances, product recalls etc.
- FSA food safety management procedures and food hygiene regulations (Safe food better business initiative)
- Campden BRI’s comprehensive publication on implementation of food safety management [£]
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9: a guide to key changes.
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.
- FSA MyHACCP tool
- FSA general requirements for prerequisites
- FDA Comprehensive guidance to implementing a HACCP system including the 7 key steps
- FSA Overview on HACCP
- European Commission EU HACCP principles- Guidance document
- WHO/CAC General principles of food hygiene
- Campden BRI’s practical guide to HACCP [£]
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.
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)
- 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
- FSS Guide for personal hygiene (Ch 8). Although the Meat Industry guide has been withdrawn in England, this resource still provides a useful checklist.
- Campden BRI’s white paper on personal hygiene
iii. Cleaning - contract services (cleaning, laundry), waste control, glass and plastic management, cleaning and disinfection, inspection and maintenance, contamination control
- Campden BRI short video guide on cleaning factories
- Campden BRI video on developing a cleaning plan
- Campden BRI blog on reducing food waste while maintaining food safety
iv. Equipment - suitability, calibration, preventative maintenance, hygienic design
- EHEDG Guideline 8: Hygienic design principles
- Food Safety Canada Calibration of equipment in food manufacturing
- Ministry for Primary Industries (Govt. of NZ) refer to Good Operating Practices on equipment
v. Process control - measures to prevent the presence, introduction, growth and survival of pathogens, prevent cross-contamination, controlled rework
- CFA guidance on handling fresh fruit and veg
- Campden BRI White paper on Food reheating- Considerations in NPD
vi. Procurement - supplier control (ingredients, packaging, services and equipment), incoming material/equipment specifications, distribution
- FSA Handling suppliers and contractors
- SALSA guidance on raw material specification. Although these are requirements for a certification scheme – they are also very good guides to generic best practice.
- SALSA guidance on distribution and storage. Although these are requirements for a certification scheme – they are also very good guides to generic best practice.
- HSE Guide to the law and your responsibilities when buying new machinery for use at work
- Campden BRI Guide on risk evaluation and management of raw materials [£]
vii. Product information for users - date coding, 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.
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.
iii. Radiological hazards
- FSA Radioactivity in food in the UK- An introduction
- FSA Safety of Irradiated foods
- CFS Hong Kong Overview on radioactivity with preventive measures at the consumer level
iv. Chemical Hazards
These may include:
Chemical residues such as pesticides, veterinary medicines, biocides:
- FSA Pesticide use in the UK: Overview, guidance, relevant legislation
- WHO overview on pesticides
- HSE Guidance on safe storage of pesticides
- EFSA EU pesticide residue report
- DEFRA Pesticide residues in food: results of monitoring programme (UK)
- HSE Overview on biocides
- Food Packaging Forum Biocides in Food Contact Materials
- HSE Guidance on using biocides
- EUROFINS Fumigants used during storage of food
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:
- CDC Overview of marine toxins in seafood with preventive measures
- WHO overview on mycotoxins
- FSA natural toxins in food plants
Environmental contaminants like heavy metals, dioxins, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs):
- EFSA overview on heavy metal contaminants in food
- IFST Information Statement on Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in food and feed
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:
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:
- Campden BRI overview on types of chemicals that can migrate
- Intertek Different types of migration testing
Contaminants – radionuclides, histamine, brominated flame retardants (no maximum residue limits (MRL) in law:
- FSA Ireland on histamines in food and fish
v. Microbiological hazards
- British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) Management of Listeria in Food Processing
- Campden BRI Practical control of Listeria in food production [£]
- CFA Shelf life of ready-to-eat food in relation to L. monocytogenes - Guidance for food business operators
- Leatherhead Food Research 6 steps to control Listeria in foods
- The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) Campylobacter- Preventing foodborne illness
- FSA E. coli cross-contamination guidance
- CFA Shelf life: Clostridium botulinum
- FSA Overview on Salmonella
- Campden BRI resources on foodborne viruses
General guidance on laboratory analysis of hazards
Recommended reading for a quick overview
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