Food Safety: Aspects to Consider in Operations

food scientists in a food factory
  • The food and beverage industry is profitable and projected to reach $10.4 trillion by 2023.
  • Healthy eating and sustainable living increase demand for environmentally-conscious products.
  • Maintaining a clean and sanitized environment is crucial to prevent contamination and illnesses.
  • Proper temperature and humidity control, safety protocols, and a HACCP management system are essential to ensure food safety.

When considering starting a business in the food and beverage industry, it’s essential to consider the venture’s profitability. Fortunately, the industry has consistently shown growth and success in recent years.

According to a report by Statista, the global revenue of the food and beverage industry is projected to reach $18.1 trillion by 2023. Additionally, the industry has a projected CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 5.1% from 2018 to 2023. This indicates a strong and steady upward trend in profitability.

Moreover, the growing interest in healthy eating and sustainable living has opened up new business opportunities in this industry. A survey conducted by Nielsen found that 75% of Americans are willing to pay more for sustainable and environmentally-friendly products. This highlights the potential for profitability through environmentally-conscious products and practices.

However, manufacturing or producing food requires more than a profitable business model. It also requires the utmost attention to food safety. Here are the aspects to consider for food safety in operations:

Sanitation Process

Maintaining a sanitized workplace

Maintaining a clean and sanitized environment is one of the most crucial aspects of food safety. This is especially important when working with ingredients that can quickly become contaminated by harmful bacteria or other pathogens. The CDC estimates that approximately 48 million people die yearly from consuming contaminated food in the United States alone.

To ensure a safe and clean environment, it’s essential to follow these four steps:

Establish a Cleaning Schedule

Establish a cleaning schedule and ensure all employees are trained to properly clean and sanitize equipment and surfaces to maintain a clean workspace. This means using appropriate cleaning agents and methods to remove any potential contamination from surfaces such as countertops, cutting boards, utensils, and equipment.

Personal Hygiene and Protective Clothing

To prevent contamination, workers should always wear protective clothing such as gloves, hairnets, hats, and face masks. Proper handwashing techniques should also be taught and enforced to reduce the risk of harmful bacteria being transferred from one surface to another.

Food Storage and Handling

roper food storage and handling practices are essential to prevent contamination. This includes keeping perishable foods at a safe and consistent temperature, separating raw meats from other foods, and using only clean and sanitized containers and utensils.

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections should be conducted to ensure that all equipment and surfaces are clean and free from contamination. This means using test kits and other methods to verify that surfaces are sanitized and free from harmful bacteria or pathogens.

Temperature and Humidity Control

Controlling temperature for food manufacturing

Temperature and humidity control are essential factors to consider when handling food. Maintaining proper temperature and humidity levels can help prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, which can cause foodborne illnesses. In addition, controlling these factors can also ensure that food remains fresh, maintains its quality, and does not spoil prematurely.

Temperature control is vital when handling perishable food such as meats, dairy products, and ready-to-eat foods. These foods must be stored at the appropriate temperature to prevent bacterial growth. The FDA recommends storing perishables at or below 40°F to slow bacterial growth.

Humidity is also a crucial factor to consider in food handling, particularly in storage and preparation areas. High humidity can create an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to thrive, while low humidity can cause food to dry out and lose quality. Controlling humidity levels in food storage areas such as refrigerators and freezers can help maintain the freshness of perishables and extend their shelf life.

To ensure proper temperature and humidity control, food establishment operators must invest in the appropriate equipment, such as refrigerators, freezers, and humidifiers or dehumidifiers. Additionally, they should carefully monitor temperature and humidity levels with continuous monitoring devices. Wireless temperature sensors are also available to check temperature and humidity, allowing operators to monitor their facility remotely.

Safety Protocols

In addition to maintaining a clean and sanitized environment, safety protocols ensure food is produced safely. These protocols involve establishing standards and procedures that every employee must follow to make food free from harmful pathogens and contaminants.

One of the most critical safety protocols is proper training. All employees should receive thorough training in food safety, including proper sanitation techniques, personal hygiene, and the safe handling and storage of food. This ensures that everyone in the facility knows the potential hazards and how to prevent them.

Another essential safety protocol is hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP). HACCP is a food safety management system that identifies and addresses potential hazards throughout food production. This involves thoroughly analyzing the entire production process, from receiving raw materials to packaging the finished product. By identifying potential risks and implementing controls to prevent them, HACCP helps ensure that the food produced is safe for consumption.

Final Thoughts

The food and beverage industry offers plenty of opportunities for profitability. However, it’s essential to consider aspects such as sanitation, personal hygiene, and storage and handling procedures to ensure the food produced is safe and free from contamination or other risks. By following these guidelines and establishing strict safety protocols, operators can help keep their business running smoothly while keeping customers safe.

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