We understand that making food safe within food businesses is challenging. This knowledge hub provides the help and guidance you need by identifying good practices that can be easily implemented and understood with minimal training.
- FSA Food and feed law guide
- Retained EU regulation 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs
- FSA guidance on pertinent legislation in light of Brexit
- Government Chemist Collection of quarterly reviews provides updates on developments in food and feed law and related scientific and regulatory issues
- RSC Briefing note on Food Additives
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. This section highlights: culture, management responsibility, and Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
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.
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 the implementation of food safety management [£]
- Global Food Safety Resource (GFSR) on Food Safety Audits
- SALSA auditing standard interpretation guide
- BSI audits and standards [£]
- BRC Global Standard for Food Safety Issue 9: a guide to key changes
- BSI Publicly Available Specification (PAS)
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.
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)
FSS guide on preventive maintenance. Although the Meat Industry guide has been withdrawn in England, this resource still provides a useful checklist.
- Government of Wales guidance on choosing a premises
- Food Safety Magazine: Hygienic design of Food Manufacturing Premises
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) Pest control measures. (ref page 25)
- EHEDG guideline 8 on hygienic 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
- 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 video on developing a cleaning plan
- Campden BRI blog on reducing food waste while maintaining food safety
- EHEDG guidelines [£] Guidelines 45, 52 and 55 outline cleaning, disinfection and validation in food manufacturing factories
- Campden BRI Cleaning & Disinfection Guideline [£]
iv. Equipment - suitability, calibration, preventative maintenance, hygienic design
- European Commission Regulation 1935/2004 on materials and articles intended to come into contact with food
- Food Safety Canada Calibration of equipment in food manufacturing
- Ministry for Primary Industries (Govt. of NZ) refer Good Operating Practices on equipment
- HSE Legal requirements for hygienic design of food machinery
- EHEDG Guideline 32: Materials of construction for equipment in contact with food [£]
v. Process control - measures to prevent the presence, introduction, growth and survival of pathogens, prevent cross-contamination, controlled rework
- Campden BRI White paper on Food reheating- Considerations in NPD
- CCF Food safety guide for the cold chain [£]
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
The identification, control and communication regarding food allergens have 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.
- FSA short video on Food hypersensitivity
- Campden BRI video on cleaning in factories for allergen control
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.
- Nestle Preventing physical hazards best supplier practice
- PMG engineering Advanced detection of physical hazards
- Vikan Control of plastic foreign bodies from cleaning tools and utensils
iii. Radiological hazards
iv. Chemical Hazards
These may include:
Chemical residues such as pesticides, veterinary medicines, and biocides:
- FSA Chemical safety - Business Guidance
- FSA Pesticide use in the UK: Overview, guidance, relevant legislation
- HSE Guidance on safe storage of pesticides
- HSE Overview on biocides
- HSE Guidance on using biocides
- EUROFINS Fumigants used during storage of food
Natural contaminants like marine biotoxins (e.g. shellfish toxins), mycotoxins, glycosides, 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
- FSA Codes of practice, relevant legislation pertaining to mycotoxins
- FSA Business guidance on fish and shellfish
- FSA natural toxins in food plants
- FSA Ireland EU legislations on mycotoxins, analysis, permitted levels etc.
- FAO (CAC) Code of practice database on contaminants
Environmental contaminants like heavy metals, dioxins, 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:
- Leatherhead Food Research White paper on acrylamide mitigation in food
- GFSI Minimising traces of cleaning and sanitation chemicals in food (Part 1)
- GFSI Minimising traces of cleaning and sanitation chemicals in food (Part 2)
- EHEDG Guidelines [£] Refer to guideline 23 on food grade lubricants and 32 for materials of construction for equipment in contact with food.
Those from materials of construction e.g. methacrylate from flooring compounds (could taint food):
- EHEDG Guidelines [£] Refer to guideline 32 for materials of construction for equipment in contact with 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
- Food Contact Mindfulness
Contaminants – radionuclides, histamine, brominated flame retardants (no maximum residue limits (MRL) in law:
- FSA Ireland on histamines in food and fish
v. Microbiological Hazards
- WHO Factsheet on Listeria
- 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 food-borne illness
- FSA E. coli cross-contamination guidance
- CFA Shelf life: Clostridium botulinum
- FSA Overview on Salmonella
- Campden BRI resources on food-borne viruses
- Relevance of generic E coli to food safety
- Best Practice in the Preparation of Beetroot and Onion for Minimally Processed Ready to Eat (RTE) Applications
- Protocol for Spot Buying of Produce to be used as Ready to Eat
- Protocol for Produce Washing
General guidance on laboratory analysis of hazards
Recommended reading for a quick overview
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