Tips to manufacture food safely
Food manufacturing is big business in the UK, where we’re lucky enough to enjoy a wide range of high-quality products, with a reputation for good standards and food that’s safe to eat. But this doesn’t happen without effective processes and the strong regulations that underpin them. Foodborne illnesses in particular can be a very significant health issue, and in order to combat the risks they present, strong controls and good systems need to be in place. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the top tips for ensuring that manufactured food is safe to eat, by thinking about the major principles of food safety as defined by a number of leading food authorities.
Do you know the difference between Food Hygiene and Food Safety? Click here to read our article.
As a food manufacturer, one of your main compliance issues is in ensuring that products you send out to retailers is exactly as described and labelled properly. This cannot happen if steps are not taken to ensure that only what is described goes into the end product. Avoiding cross-contamination is therefore paramount.
- Use colour coding to ensure that only certain utensils, equipment and machinery are used with different food types such as meat, fish, veg etc.
- Do not store items together unless they are fully contained, or they will end up in the final product together without any further changes such as cooking
- Keep excellent records of what food items are in each non-raw product as they’re created, moved and distributed
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All kitchens should be as clean as possible, and the same goes for food manufacturing facilities. Machinery used in manufacturing is often more complex than appliances found commonly in kitchens, which means special care needs to be taken. Cleaning is what ensures that harmful bacteria cannot spread, and also goes a long way to avoiding cross-contamination too.
- Always consult operating manuals to find out how best to clean any of the machinery that you use
- Have good cleaning records in place so that you can ensure all equipment is cleaned regularly and doesn’t get missed
- Use the right product for the task at hand rather than simply relying on multipurpose cleaners and cloths
Cooking is a process that kills harmful bacteria, making many foods safer to eat, as well as being something that makes it more enjoyable. Not all food manufacturing will involve cooking stages, but if it does, then there are some tips here to make sure that the food going out is of the right standard.
- High risk food items such as meat must be cooked to the right temperature in accordance with best practice
- Use thermometers and other tools to make absolutely sure that food is cooked to the right temperature
- Regularly inspect any equipment you use to cook food to make sure that it’s operating as it should
Chilling food is one of the best ways of stopping and slowing the growth of bacteria that can cause either the food to spoil, or become physically harmful to consumers. As a result, proper processes in this regard are essential, both for ingredients and end products.
- Make sure that any items that will be shipping chilled are kept at the correct temperature as soon as possible
- Regularly check the function of your commercial fridges and freezers by using thermometers to ensure that temperature readouts on the machines themselves are correct
- Do not attempt to chill or freeze items that have been at the incorrect temperature for too long, as this will not kill harmful bacteria
Struggling to figure out what food legislation applies to you? Read our article and get clear definitions on key food hygiene regulations.
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Training is essential for ensuring that you or your employees have the right skills and knowledge when it comes to manufacturing food safely. Virtual College is a leader in delivering e-learning courses for those in the food sector, manufacturing included. This includes the Level 2 food hygiene certificate, which is recognised as the standard in food health and safety training. Click here to find out about our manufacturing-tailored course.