Copious Records Support the Food Safety Plan

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By FoodReady

Start with the Written Food Safety Plan

As a member of the Expert Services team for FoodReady, I recently completed a project writing a food safety plan in cooperation with a company owner. My perspective is always that the company I am working with remotely is doing the right things for food safety, and I am here to get plans written down and to put in place documentation of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) or preventive controls. I believe the company to be innocent of any food safety shortcomings, until proven “guilty”, i.e. the identification of a gap in food safety. Since this company was complex, members of the Expert Services team logged on for a real-time walk through the facility as seen remotely on our computer screens. I found this step of working with the company to be very helpful. The food safety plan was written, edited, and revised until we had a final product. The company is doing a respectable job of recording the specifics of a kill step. In the past, that may have satisfied requirements for HACCP supported by GMPs, but the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act requires so much more.


Supply Chain Preventive Controls

There are two areas this company needs to expand, and your company may be in the same boat. One is the supplier approval program to prove the safety of foods and ingredients where the supplier is controlling the hazards. These supply chain preventive controls for which control is proven by verification, and verification generates copious logs and records. The inspector will ask to see your Standard Operating Procedure for supplier approval, Certificates of Analysis (COA) for every delivery of an ingredient or food with a supply chain preventive control, verification of the COA, an audit or inspection of the supplier, and any other records which build the case of food safety.


Environmental Monitoring Program

The second area is the environmental monitoring program for control of Listeria in ready-to-eat (RTE) products. All facilities manufacturing RTE products have documentation of sanitation preventive control. The cleaning and sanitizing program is designed to obliterate biofilms and microbial niches and kill pathogens on equipment and in the manufacturing environment. Validation is not required by the Preventive Controls for Human Food rule, but a validation study is highly encouraged. How do you know cleaning and sanitizing are working, if not validated? Verification of the sanitation preventive controls requires swabbing for indicator organisms and Listeria itself. The goal of the environmental monitoring program is to detect Listeria. Some companies have full-time employee dedicated to monitoring and recordkeeping to stay on top of the environmental monitoring program. The inspector will ask how many swabs are tested weekly and from which sites, where were the positives, and what was the corrective action. A robust program is expected to find Listeria. The key is to take appropriate corrective action and follow up to verify the problem was eradicated.

Templates for Standard Operating Procedures, logs, and records are available in the FoodReady Library. If you are new to FoodReady, take inventory of all the resources. If you have been working with FoodReady already, take a minute to see what is new that can support you in your job. As always, we are real humans here to support you in food safety. Reach out at any time; the folks at FoodReady are here to help!