Food safety and quality are the primary aspects of food production, processing, and consumption. Decent quality and safety protocol are necessary to prevent the entire food chain from the farmers who grow it to the consumers from compromise. If food safety lapses, this can lead to the contamination of food and people would be exposed to severe health risks.
Food quality has to do more with the taste color, texture and nutritional value of the food we eat, and it takes professionals to come up with a standard for the food quality. Some manufacturers use panels or people such as tea tasters to monitor food quality. Over the recent years, new technological advancements allow for better enhancement of food quality.
The following are some of the approaches to safety and quality in food processing.
Facility Location And Design
To ensure food safety and quality, design and location of a food processing facility need to be taken into account. The facilities should have a firm plan, and the materials used for the internal structure should be durable, easy to clean and maintain and prevent a buildup of dirt. Also, the facility should be worker-friendly, this means that it should be safe for the staff work. Location is crucial since you want to be located near clean water to clean the firm, windy areas might not be suitable for a food manufacturer since wind brings a lot of dust in the facility.
Pest control plays a crucial role in food safety. Cockroaches and flies are among the troublesome insects which can help spread disease and eventually lead to the development of food-borne illnesses. Stored product insects are also destructive as they can damage and contaminate food during transport and storage. Other pests that cause damage are rodents such as rats, and these can destroy the building fixtures and machinery as well as spreading deadly diseases.
The best way to take care of the pest problem is to Investing in a pest control monitoring and detection system. This system will help prevent pests from entering a food processing facility, and assist in the compliance of food safety guidelines.
An appropriate waste removal and storage procedure should be provided, and this is purposefully to ensure that proper food safety practices are followed. Waste management is a crucial factor in food processing since any contact to of waste to the food could lead to contamination or significant callbacks. The waste disposal should be managed following set regulations to prevent accumulation, the risk of contamination and the attraction of pests.
Machinery And Production Line Design
A facility’s production line should have a layout that allows easy maintenance and cleaning of machinery and surrounds. The plan should also be able to prevent contamination of the food products and ingredients during the production process.
The food processing machines should have a design that complies with food safety regulations. The regulations are aimed to avoid poor designs. Sometimes poor designs can lead to food materials building up in hidden places which are difficult to clean making rot and contamination inevitable. There are set standards for machinery design so that each machine performs at a high standard of hygiene.
There are principles which assist when coming up with a design for processing machinery. These principles are used to address the issue of poor design and come up with one that meets all standards, and they are as follows:
- Cleanable to a microbiological level.
- Made of compatible materials.
- Accessible for inspection, maintenance, cleaning, and sanitation.
- No product or liquid collection.
- Hollow areas hermetically sealed.
- No niches.
- Sanitary operational performance.
- Hygienic design of maintenance enclosures.
- Hygienic compatibility with other plant systems.
- Validate cleaning and sanitizing protocols.
Institute proper cleaning and disinfecting programs. A cleaning schedule will help ensure food safety complies. Also to prevent foodborne illnesses from breaking out, the correct hygiene standards should be met.
Microorganisms can cause food poisoning in the processing facility and the best way to avoid this is through the use of disinfectants. The food preparation areas should be properly disinfected, also utensils and machinery used within food processing cycle should be adequately cleaned as well. Microbes will not contaminate food products created if surfaces are always clean.
Keeping track with the correct cleaning schedule will also reduce the risk as well as preventing pests from coming into the facility and getting into contact with food.
To ensure the production of safe foods and that everything runs smoothly and correctly, a proactive maintenance measure for premises and food processing machinery should be established. Some researchers claim that failure to ensure equipment is properly maintained under the correct sanitary conditions has caused some foodborne illnesses outbreaks. Machines performances can be affected by pests such as rats and mice which gnaw at the power cables. They also contaminate components which have direct contact with the food products. This is why maintenance is crucial for the normal functioning of a food processing facility.
Food safety requirements can be met by installing the correct facilities for staff to ensure proper personal hygiene is met. This will help reduce the spread of bacteria since they can quickly be spread through biological and physical contamination.
To reduce the risk of contamination staff should ensure they follow effective hand washing techniques, try to minimize direct hand contact with raw food. They should also ensure that they use gloves safely and dispose of them properly.
Staff should be educated on how to follow food safety practices, and this will help reduce the risk of food contamination in the processing zone. Regulations dictate that food handlers are supervised and trained in food handling practices suitable in their fields.
Food safety and quality is a global concern that affects the world’s population. Ensuring safety and quality will lead to reduced food wastage, hunger and starvation in the world as well as providing quality foods to everyone’s tables.
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