Six Tips for Complying with Food Safety Requirements

Feb. 10, 2014
Automation can improve compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Automation can improve compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act. These tips can help you improve execution and operational practices:

1. Ideal system. Design and install food safety systems that are locked down to prevent human bypass and that navigate through garbage-in, garbage-out temptations while remaining extremely user-friendly.

2. Use FDA/3A-certified devices. For process instrumentation that must come into contact with the food products, definitely look for an FDA/3A certification when selecting appropriate devices for CIP and SIP (sterilize in place) applications.

3. Look to operators. Safety in the processed food industry depends on the operator’s proficiency in the operation and maintenance of the equipment. Well-written procedural documentation, whether it’s a single-point lesson or a repeatable maintenance procedure, is an invaluable teaching aid in achieving the optimum speed, output and efficiency from any piece of equipment. A well-informed and well-trained operator and maintenance tech is an integral part of food safety in processing equipment.

4. Verification critical. The CCP in HACCP is critical. Establish standard operating procedures and at least a double control system that can verify any products before they leave the production line. You will need enough inventory to keep the products in a safe place and wait for all testing to be confirmed before selling the product.

5. Track from origin through distribution. The FSMA requires that any contamination be prevented. This means following a product from the origin of raw materials to product distribution. The most convenient method, apart of training, communication and following GMP, is to use sensors in the different stages: in origin, loading and transportation of raw materials. Manufacturing processes require the most continuous analysis possible. You need to establish processes to track products through distribution as well.

6. Real-time test results. To improve execution accuracy, implement real-time input for food safety test results and on-floor checklists, all of which should be stored in a central database that is accessible to quality assurance, production management and supervisory personnel.

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