Where to Start with Food Safety
It really boils down to what needs to happen to make sure a safe product is made the vast majority of the time. It is hard to plan for everything that could go wrong, but it is important to consider all relevant reasonable risks. You know you can produce a safe food product because your team has done it through the Formulation stage. Now it is time to consider how to ensure that same safety when transitioning to industrial ingredients and a large plant-scale operation.
HACCP or Preventative Controls?
Start with a general conversation in your team about what will be your main hazards or food safety concerns. Then work through the Preventative Controls Hazard Analysis form. As you work through the form, research hazards to determine which are likely enough to be considered.
- Use the Food Safety Preventative Controls Alliance Preventative Controls for Human Food manual as a reference. Chapter 8 and Appendix 3 will be especially helpful.
- To streamline the process, focus on biological pathogens, chemical allergens, and physical metal fragments. It is acceptable to include additional hazards but is not required for this hazard analysis.
- Assume there are strong prerequisite programs in place and your product is the only product made in the plant.
- The most common preventative controls are a heating step and metal detection right before or after packaging, but it is important to consider your process, product hazards, and associated risks.
- If your product does not have a heat step, careful consideration will be needed to ensure no pathogens are present in the finished product. Food safety experts really like kill steps and will ask more questions if your process does not include one. Relying on supplier guarantees for pathogen-free ingredients is acceptable – just make sure that is a feasible plan for your ingredients.
- After completing the hazard analysis, add the Preventative Controls to your product’s flow diagram.
- Have faculty review your hazard analysis.