Food safety management systems (FSMSs) are systematic methods of controlling the risk of food safety hazards in food businesses, helping ensure food safety and that the food produced is safe for consumption. All businesses must have an FSMS that is based on the HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point).
This HACCP is a type of international method to make sure food stays safe. It involves identifying food hazards then determining how to eliminate or control them. The final step of a HACCP is to confirm its effectiveness and maintain the plan via documentation.
Your FSMS should include the HACCP principles as well as prerequisite programs, interactive communication, and system management.
How It Helps Food Businesses
To start, having a food safety management system is a legal requirement, so having one helps ensure that you are compliant with the law and will not be subject to fines or having to close.
Your FSMS will also help you maintain regulatory compliance with ISO standards since you will actively control risks and hazards.
Having a food safety management system in place makes it much more likely that you will identify physical, chemical, or biological hazards in a timely manner, reducing their effects and the risks associated with them.
Additionally, a food safety management system dramatically reduces the risk of foodborne illness. If a foodborne illness occurred, it would lead to losing sales and customers, negative exposure in the media, and the loss of your business reputation, in addition to legal fees and lawsuits, and higher insurance premiums. Foodborne illnesses can also require staff to miss work and require you to retrain the staff.
The most important part of a food safety management system is that it will minimize the risks associated with your business. Following safety practices will reduce the risk of contamination, and you will have already established procedures to follow if something does occur, making it easier to resolve the food safety issue.
Remember that your business needs a food safety management system to help protect it. Businesses without a Food Safety Management System are unlikely to be long-lasting, as they will be more susceptible to food safety risks and unprepared to deal with issues that arise.
So, how does a food business develop a food safety management system? Make sure to incorporate a few key principles to increase your chances of success.
Include regular audits in your management system, as this will help ensure that your employees follow the practices that you documented. After all, the anti-contamination measures you put in place are useless unless they are followed. The audits should occur regularly and consistently. These audits should confirm that your team is following your HACCP strategy.
Include Employee Training
Your food safety management system should also include employee support and training to ensure that employees know how to follow the appropriate safety measures.
During the employee training, encourage employees to follow the standards by highlighting the risks associated with contamination and why food safety is important. Otherwise, employees may not put the proper level of effort into the plan or may take shortcuts.
Use Monitoring Systems
You should also consider incorporating a critical control point (CCP) monitoring system, with both digital and automated systems available. These systems can automatically ensure that your CCPs remain within the control limits. The systems can immediately notify you if there is a deviation, giving you the chance to respond quickly and reduce the contamination risk.
Your food business should also make use of software to help with recordkeeping and your FSMS. An example would be logs of the temperature checks and other CCPs. In many cases, the automated monitoring system you use will be able to store the data for you.
Maintain the Equipment
Food contamination can occur if your equipment is not in proper condition, so you should make sure that you not only select the right equipment for your food business but also maintain it properly. One example of this would be choosing stainless steel, which is an industry-standard for preventing contamination.
- Food businesses should not overlook the importance of food safety management systems.
- Food Safety Management Systems ensure food safety and prevent foodborne illness and related costs and problems, such as loss of reputation, loss of sales and customers, retraining employees, and lawsuits.
- Your Food Safety Management System should incorporate HACCP which identifies food hazards, eliminates them, and monitors your progress.
- Food Safety Management Systems should include regular audits, monitoring equipment, employee training, and equipment maintenance.