We all share a common goal: to safeguard the health of all Canadians by ensuring the highest standards of food safety.
The food safety industry is facing several challenges ranging from shifting regulations to raising awareness of contaminations in the supply chain. Producers, industry experts, consumers, and academicians must work together to share knowledge about the food safety industry.
Educational events such as the 3M Food Safety Symposium help facilitate a conversation among peers that encourages collaboration, best practice sharing, and innovation.
Here’s what we learned at this year’s symposium:
Develop a modern, risk-based food safety management system.
The backbone of an effective risk-based food safety management system is a three-pronged approach comprised of validation, monitoring, and verification. Validation takes place pre-production including a scientific process that proves the control measure can control the hazard to an acceptable level. Real-time monitoring verifies the functions of the different critical steps including, but not limited to activities such as, temperature during pasteurization, ATP before and after sanitation, and pH during fermentation. The verification step takes place preceding validation and monitoring to ensure the monitoring data is within its limits and is measured correctly. If this does not occur, corrective actions must be established, and the process will need to be adjusted and/or recapitulated.
The key objectives of a risk-based food safety management system are comprised of four factors:
- Prevent the contamination from raw materials.
- Ensure adequate inactivation during processing.
- Prevent cross-contamination between different environments.
- Prevent growth during shelf-life.
Identifying these risks, managing them, and communicating them to your team and other stakeholders are the ways in which you can achieve a risk-based food safety management system in your production process.
The impact of biofilms on food safety.
Biofilms are composed of bacteria, yeast, mold, viruses, and microscopic algae, and all of them pose serious health hazards. Foodborne diseases may be present on your facility’s equipment or other areas of production, creating the potential for your products to be put at risk.
Solutions like BioDestroy, a biofilm disinfectant from Sani-Marc, can help manage these issues in your organisation. For instance, BioDestroy kills the bacteria inside a biofilm and disintegrates the biofilm structure itself. Used alongside Sani-Marc’s BioDetect, a biofilm detecting spray, the combination can help prevent surfaces from biofilm contamination. Regular use of these solutions helps promote a proactive approach to countering these microorganisms.
An integrated approach is essential in an environmental monitoring plan.
Previously, food safety was driven by end-product testing. However, this type of testing could not identify low levels of contaminations when the final product was tested.
Controlling raw materials and ensuring a good testing process is just the beginning of an effective environmental monitoring plan. A strong environmental monitoring plan that goes beyond identifying allergens, pathogens, indicator organisms, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can help ensure the product your facility produces is safe. Here’s what you should look out for:
- Identify hazards: When developing a food safety program, it is important to keep in mind potential pathogens, allergens, spoilage and quality indicators. As well, remember other potential hazards such as the risk to your company’s brand image in the event of a recall.
- Where/When/How: It is important to understand the risk (probability times severity) of your test sites. Having confidence in your zoning, testing frequency, and tools being used are the foundation of an effective environmental monitoring plan. Understanding which product should be used in which part of your operations is equally important.
- Use your data: Do not underestimate the power that can be generated by utilizing the data you are collecting every day. This data can help identify trends, point towards areas for cost savings, justify the need for increased costs, or verify the effectiveness of your environmental monitoring program.
At 3M, we have experts who can help you develop an integrated environmental monitoring plan and offer solutions to the problems you’re facing in your production processes.
To learn more, contact an expert at 3M using the form below.