Operating in the food and beverage industry requires businesses to focus heavily on the safety of the food being produced in their facilities.
In recent years, there have been a number of instances of food products distributed and consumed by customers, resulting in expensive recalls and widespread damage to a brand’s reputation (see The Curious Case of the Cinnamon Toast Crunch Box, for example).
And if the source of food safety issues isn’t addressed, they can result in serious health and safety concerns for tens of thousands, if not millions of consumers purchasing the product in a very short period of time.
Therefore, businesses in the food and beverage industry need to ensure they take the necessary precautions to avoid health and safety-related concerns. For example, the handling, preparation, and storage of products must follow specific guidelines and practices outlined by regulatory bodies to reduce the possibility of foodborne illness.
The most effective way of ensuring that customers receive food that follows the necessary health and safety standards is by implementing the necessary practices and technologies across supply chains and food production facilities.
A commonly used tool that manufacturers in the food and beverage industry turn to is a Food Safety Management System (FSMS).
In this post, we’ll discuss how modern manufacturers are implementing FSMS and using next-gen solutions to help streamline production efforts while preventing food hazards and illnesses.
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What is a food safety management system?
Simply put, a Food Safety Management System (FSMS) is a program expressly set up by manufacturers to ensure that operators in the food and beverage industry make products that are safe for human consumption.
Most food management systems work to address all elements of food production from suppliers to distributors, ensuring that every step across a manufacturers’ supply chain is accounted for when it comes to food safety.
While safety management systems might look different across production environments, most follow the principles outlined in ISO 22000.
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An overview of ISO 22000
As we’ve discussed in previous posts, there are a number of regulatory standards that manufacturers across different industries must adhere to in order to demonstrate compliance with various governing bodies.
ISO 22000 is the specific quality management standard that outlines the requirements for food safety management systems (FSMS), ensuring that manufacturers are able to control food safety hazards.
According to the International Organization for Standardization, ISO 22000 aims to:
a) plan, implement, operate, maintain and update an FSMS providing products and services that are safe, in accordance with their intended use;
b) demonstrate compliance with applicable statutory and regulatory food safety requirements;
c) evaluate and assess mutually agreed customer food safety requirements and demonstrate conformity with them;
d) effectively communicate food safety issues to interested parties within the food chain;
e) ensure that the organization conforms to its stated food safety policy;
f) demonstrate conformity to relevant interested parties
g) seek certification or registration of its FSMS by an external organization, or make a self-assessment or self-declaration of conformity to this document.
In conjunction with ISO 22000, manufacturers must also consider the principles outlined by Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and develop processes and procedures based on these principles.
Principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP)
HACCP is a group of complementary principles used to thoroughly analyze possible food-related hazards. After analyzing food safety risks, HACCP also suggests practical methods of mitigating these risks through various controls.
Management of food safety risks begins at the procurement of raw materials stage, through handling, manufacturing and storage, to shipping and end-user consumption. Similar to ISO 22000, HACCP watches over the entire food production and distribution process, identifying risks at every stage, and then nullifying them.
The principles under which HACCP functions include:
Conducting hazard analysis to determine potential food safety risks. For example, the cleanliness of food storage units.
Identifying critical control points (CCP) to determine the points at which action can be taken to mitigate the food safety risks identified during the hazard analysis.
Establishing critical limits to determine the control point parameters within which food must lie to remain safe – for instance, temperature limits, pH, and weight. Regulatory bodies also set standards to follow.
Establishing monitoring procedures to measure the critical limits of each CCP. So, this can be a chart to note down a walk-in freezer’s temperature at regular intervals throughout the day.
Establishing corrective actions to be executed if the CCPs exceed or go below the critical limits. This stage involves creating detailed procedures to handle the food safety risk event.
Establishing verification procedures to determine the effectiveness of the risk mitigation procedures instituted.
Record-keeping and documentation to ensure traceability and accountability. Records must show everything done to avoid, identify and solve food safety issues. They should also list the personnel involved and their various roles.
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Importance of a food safety management system
Ultimately, the need for a food safety management system is to ensure that food products are high quality and safe for human consumption. At the end of the day, a small batch of contaminated food products can cause a widespread outbreak of foodborne health conditions.
Additionally, the safety management system enables food and beverage manufacturers to adhere to specifications and standards set by regulatory bodies. For example, an FSMS allows a company to achieve and maintain stringent safety standards, enabling the business to comply with ISO 22000.
And with ISO 22000 certification, food and beverage companies can assure their customers of safe, high-quality food products. This translates to better business performance because customers trust the brand.
Furthermore, a food safety management system enables a company to continuously improve its production procedures, confident that they’ll pass quality and safety audits.
Using technology to improve food safety management practices
Now that we’ve discussed the importance of standardizing a food safety management system, let’s discuss the role that technology plays in coordinating and streamlining these practices within a production facility.
As we’ve worked with food and beverage manufacturers over the years, we’ve found that there are a number of key areas where a manufacturing platform like Tulip can help improve operations.
The first is digital workflows. Using Tulip, manufacturers are able to guide their operators through line clearance, HACCP procedures, weigh and dispense, and quality inspections with work instructions that can automatically sync recipes, inventor, and labor with existing ERP systems.
The second use case we work with manufacturers to implement is machine monitoring. Using Tulip, businesses are able to track availability, measure OEE, and maximize uptime across lines and machines. Tulip’s equipment monitoring capabilities not only help reduce quality defects as items are being produced, but also help manufacturers increase productivity by identifying the source of inefficiencies and addressing them quicker.
Another core use case we see with food and beverage manufacturers is data collection and traceability. Because our platform connects with scales, machines, and other equipment, manufacturers are able to collect data across every stage of production and create a digital audit trail as products flow through their facility.
If you’re interested in learning how Tulip can help compliment your Food Safety Management System and streamline your production processes, please feel free to reach out to a member of our team today!
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