Food Safety and Environmental Services
Food Processing and Food Handling Basics (Page 3)
Raw Material Receiving
All elements and operations involved with receiving and storage of ingredients, packaging material, and other incoming materials must be evaluated and monitored to prevent potential contamination of the food product manufactured. Incoming materials must be received into an area which is separated from processing areas. Only safe, approved (21 CFR) food-grade direct and indirect additives and ingredients shall be used. Packaging materials used must be safe and approved (21 CFR).
Temperature and Humidity Controls Where appropriate and applicable, the temperature and humidity of storage rooms for raw materials, ingredients, packaging materials, and food should be maintained and monitored.
Foods returned from retail outlets must be clearly identified and stored in a designated area for appropriate disposition. Storage conditions need be such that the safety of the returned food is not compromised.
Detergents, sanitizers, or other chemicals must be properly labeled, stored and used in a manner to prevent contamination of food, packaging materials, and food contact surfaces. Chemicals must be stored in a dry, well-ventilated area which is separate from food handling areas.
General Cleanliness and Housekeeping
All food-processing and handling rooms and other rooms must be maintained in a clean, sanitary manner. A major source of plant contamination is from custodial personnel and equipment. All custodial brushes and equipment must be in good repair as well as being clean and sanitary.
Equipment Construction And Maintenance
General Sanitary Design
The overall requirement for design of equipment for food-processing and -handling operations is that it be cleanable and maintained in such a manner as to prevent contamination. Food-contact surface equipment standards - of varying thoroughness - have been developed for segments of the food industry. Some of these standards are listed here: 3-A Sanitary Standards. These standards, primarily for the milk and milk product industry, are highly detailed and specific. If a 3-A standard exists for a specific type of equipment, it is required in Grade A pasteurized milk plants under state and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulatory programs and in manufacturing grade product plants under U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)/Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) grading and inspection service. Baking Industry Sanitary Standards (BISSC). These standards are voluntary for the baking industry. U. S. Dept. of Agriculture. USDA has equipment construction standards for the meat and poultry under the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), and other food industries under their AMS grading and inspection. National Sanitation Foundation International (NSF). The NSF seal is affixed to food service equipment which indicates that the equipment meets these very general standards.
It does little good to have equipment which is designed to be cleanable, but which is installed in such a manner or location as to preclude its cleanability. Adequate space must be provided within and around equipment, and equipment must be accessible for cleaning, sanitizing, maintenance, and inspection.
Equipment Calibration and Maintenance
A sanitary operations facility has a preventive maintenance program which monitors equipment maintenance procedures. Such a program specifies necessary servicing intervals, replacement parts, etc.
Protocols and calibration methods must be established for all equipment that could impact on food safety. These include:
- pH meters,
- water activity meters,
- refrigeration controls,
- recording thermometers,
- hygrometers, and other equipment.
Cleaning and Sanitizing Equipment
Thoroughly evaluate the effectiveness of cleaning and sanitizing programs. Consult a reputable cleaning and sanitizing supplier and follow recommended procedures for cleaning and sanitizing both food-product contact and non-product contact surfaces in specific operations.
An adequate pest control program is necessary for sanitary operation of a food-processing or -handling facility. Effectiveness of the pest control program should be verified on a regular frequency.
An important part of food sanitation program is having a working product-recall system in place. The recall program establishes procedures to be implemented in the event of a product recall. Written recall procedures should be established and tested for validity.