Does your business process food? Then it needs to develop a good FSMA food safety plan.
The Food Safety Modernization Act aims at raising the standards of food safety regulations through adopting a preventive approach.
Food safety management doesn’t only protect the food you handle, but it also insulates your business from incidents and regulatory issues.
Read this article to learn about the 5 key steps necessary to develop a food safety plan.
1. Hazard Analysis
The first step in ensuring FSMA compliance is identifying food safety hazards. Any physical, chemical or biological property that could make food unsafe is considered a hazard.
You must analyze your food production processes to determine whether a hazard is present at any point. Any such hazard must then be documented.
Your next task is to find out the likelihood of these hazards happening. Investigate the measures that are already in place to prevent them. Have there been any prior customer complaints pertaining to them?
2. Preventive Measures
The next step in the implementation of an FSMA food safety plan is to address the hazards identified in your analysis.
If you’ve found any significant risk, it’s time to put preventive measures in place. You must also document hazards that haven’t been deemed significant.
This means you should put in writing the steps you took in determining which hazards need preventive measures and which don’t.
3. Monitoring Procedures
According to the FDA, monitoring procedures are there to ensure that preventive measures are correctly implemented.
For example, if your business needs to heat up food to kill pathogens, monitoring procedures would involve ensuring that the required temperatures are reached at critical points.
You should also document the monitoring procedures for future reference.
4. Corrective Action
If you identify an issue with a preventive measure during the monitoring procedures, you should take corrective action to fix that issue.
Corrective actions aim at reducing or eliminating the likelihood of the problem happening.
Lastly, verification procedures are there to establish that preventive measures are effective and consistent.
These procedures must include scientific evidence that a preventive measure can indeed prevent a hazard. To get this scientific evidence, you can use measurement tools such as thermometers.
Environmental monitoring and product testing can also be valid forms of verification depending on what a preventive measure entails. For instance, a preventive measure can include containing an environmental pathogen.
As you can expect, you should document any verification activities you implement. Documentation, in general, allows you to prove any measures your company took in developing and carrying out a food safety plan.
An Effective FSMA Food Safety Plan
Developing an effective FSMA food safety plan is essential for two main reasons.
On the one hand, it protects your customers against food hazards. On the other hand, it protects your business against any legal repercussions.
An effective food safety plan is all about analyzing potential risks and taking measures to prevent them from happening. Monitoring and verification procedures should ensure that the plan is carried out properly.
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