Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

As processes are safe and won’t cause

As years go by, consumers are increasing their awareness in
food hygiene and are becoming more conscious as to what they buy to ensure they
are delivering the best products at home, for the safety of themselves and
their families. This might be due to the increase of foodborne illnesses,
starting from food poisoning to cancer in certain body parts. Therefore because
of this, it is the food industry’s responsibility to provide genuine and safe
food products to their client.

Food business operators are obligated to ensure their food
products are at the best state possible on a hygienic level especially. They
must be aware that materials and products which are being used and their
processes are safe and won’t cause any harm what so ever for the consumer.

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In the facility there must be:

1.     Basic
Sanitation Measures

2.     Cleanliness
and Hygiene

3.     Pest
Control

4.     Personnel
Hygiene

The facility should be located and constructed in ways which
are suitable and will help to have more control over the place if any accidents
occur. The facility should be designed in a way to reduce the risk from:

1.     Environmental
and Industrial Pollution

2.     Flooding

3.     Pest
Infestation

4.     Waste
Accumulation

Any food processing factory should be designed to prevent
physical, chemical and biological contamination from stored and processed foods
even during food production.

The surfaces of walls, partitions and also the doors should
be made of particular and complimenting materials which are easy to keep clean
and maintain. The floors should also be made from tiles which are easy to
clean. The drainage systems within the facility must be designed in a way to
prevent contamination including that from pests. This area contains a lot of
harmful bacteria and pathogens, so it should also be easy to clean and maintain
to avoid food and food products from being in danger.

Packaging is one of the main factors that help to prevent
food from getting contaminated. Poor packaging may be vulnerable to bacteria,
contamination and cross-contamination. Certain packaging materials can cause
harm to the products and may lead to chemical contamination. Packaging prevents
products from being in contact with exposed products and foods. The wrapping
and packaging materials are to be stored somewhere safe where they are not at
risk of getting contaminated. Pest control should also be present within the
storage area since certain materials can serve as shelter and nesting materials
for certain pests. Raw materials must be separated from processed materials.  Wrapping or packaging materials which are
being used should be suitable for contact with food to make sure no harm is
being made. When using re-usable packaging, the person in charge should make
sure they have been cleaned properly, and if necessary, disinfected. Only
packaging which can be cleaned and disinfected should be re-used. It is ideal
that when dealing with meat, it should be stored in separate rooms, or else if
they are being stored in the same room, there must be a permanent barrier in
between so as to prevent air-borne cross-contamination.

The equipment, utensils, work surfaces and others which are
in contact with food should be made of food-safe materials. They should be
cleaned and even disinfected after being used a few times consecutively, so as
to ensure hygiene, safety, contamination and avoid bacteria as much as
possible.

The factory is supposed to include areas which are
particularly made for the cleaning of utensils and equipment. The cleaning area
should be supplied with a reasonable amount of potable water. When using a
dishwasher, one should always make sure that the water’s temperature is higher
than 77°C in order to kill any
harmful bacteria.

Employee’s health and hygiene control begins at home, this
means the employee should take care of his own hygiene by maintaining a clean
body, clean hair and clean clothes. When in contact with food, they must be
wearing their uniform which consists of an apron, long-sleeved smocks, outer
garments, hairnets and beard covers. The uniform is only removed when leaving
the building, going to the restroom or going to the break room.

The employer should provide employees with washing facilities
that come with both hot and cold water, including soap and hygienic drying
equipment or materials to keep themselves clean before entering in the factory
and being in contact with food. There should also be changing facilities for
the staff to change into the uniform which is only worn within the premises,
for hygienic practices. The employees should also have an appropriate canteen
for eating and drinking during their breaks, which these areas should also be
kept clean. The food handlers must know the importance of basic food protection
principles and unless they understand and follow them, they might
unintentionally contaminate food, food packaging, water and other workers.

Guide to washing hands properly:

1.     Wet your
hands with warm or cold water, choose whatever is comfortable for you. Turn off
the tap and apply soap.

2.     Lather your
hands by rubbing them vigorously together with soap. Make sure to get between
your fingers, the back of your hands and under your fingernails.

3.     Scrub your
hands together for at least 20 seconds.

4.     Rinse well
with clean running water.

5.     Dry your
hands making sure you are using a clean towel, a new paper towel or by air
drying them.

The ventilation and air conditioning system should be
suitable and adequate for the facility. They must prevent condensation, odours,
humidity, dust and contamination. They must be easy to keep clean and look
after.

The facility should be provided with an adequate amount of
potable water to be used for food processing and cleaning. The company should
make sure that non-potable water should have a separate system than that of the
potable so as to prevent contamination.

Both outside the building and inside should be looked after
and kept clean to avoid any contamination biologically, chemically and
physically from raw materials, ingredients, processing and storage areas and
vehicles. The grounds and areas surrounding them should be kept in good
conditions, free of any plants and waste materials.

The way the products are stored is very important to help
maintain a safe environment with prevention of contamination-which is the
principal of food safety. Raw materials, ingredients, packaging materials and
finished products must be stored separately in a sanitary environment at the
appropriate temperature. It is very important to use the cleaning and
disinfection products reasonably and according to regulations – following the
instructions given by the manufacturer. These should be stored safely and
should not be in contact with raw products, food or packaging.

Pest Control is one of the most vital necessities in the food
industry. Pests are constantly looking for sources of food and shelter, which
is why they must be well taken care of to avoid them from being in contact with
food, going against the hygiene principals. They must be looked after by
installing pest management programmes. These must be supervised by the
concerned person regularly. Monitoring, reporting and documentations should be
done upon every inspection.

Contamination does not only come from being in contact with
other foods. This can also be caused when being in contact with in-coming
materials, packaging and containers which is why these must be inspected and
cleaned properly before used. Food containers should be pest proof. Cleaning up
spills or any dirt made quickly is considered as good practice. Inspections on
windows, drains, piping etc. should be done regularly so as to not allow pests
from entering through.

Waste management is essential. Waste contains a lot of
bacteria which is why it should be taken care of responsibly to prevent
contamination, infection and pollution in the environment. Waste containers
should be pest resistant and constructed from suitable materials.

Those who are anywhere near the food processing area,
including other staff, visitors and food handlers, must not be suffering from a
disease, carrying any foodborne illness or undergoing a medical diagnosis.

Any cuts and skin abrasions should be protected and covered
by wearing suitable dressing, for example a cut on a finger should be covered
by wearing gloves during food processing.

It is important that the food handlers follow these steps
regularly since they can carry pathogens internally and externally. The workers
can be reminded to follow good practices by pictures of signs which remind them
to for instance wash their hands, wear appropriate clothing, cover hair and beard,
etc. The management should also be a good example to the employees and practice
good hygiene manners. Employers should continually emphasise the importance of
hygiene. If need be, employees can be trained and supervised to make sure they
are making their best and being corrected when necessary.

The personnel should include a high level of personal
hygiene. This includes:

·       
Hand Hygiene – Workers must wash their hands before
entering the food processing area, after being in contact with raw food or contaminated
materials, after using the toilet, after coughing or sneezing, after touching
scalp or mouth and after handling rubbish.

·       
Fingernails must not have any nail polish or false
nails and must be kept clean.

·       
They must control personal habits that could lead to
contaminating food for instance; sneezing, coughing.

·       
Any extra jewellery must be removed before entering
the food handling area – only a wedding ring and one small stud earring in each
ear are permitted.

·       
Eating and drinking acts should not happen in the food
handling area, but in designated places.

·       
Clothes worn by the workers must be clean, in good
repair and should only be worn within the factory. The food handler must ensure
that neither he nor what he’s wearing will contaminate the food or any surfaces
which might be in contact with food. Hair and beard must be covered so as to
avoid hairs from falling in products.

Food handlers must be aware to prevent being unnecessarily in
contact with ready-to-eat food.

The temperature, humidity and atmosphere within the factory,
especially food processing and food storage areas should be maintained at
suitable levels so as to prevent food spoilage. Fridges and freezers should be
regularly monitored and should be kept at a temperature of 2-4°C especially for eggs and dairy
products.

Vehicles which will be in contact with food and food
packaging, must be in a good and hygienic state for food safety matters. They
should be inspected before loading with any food to make sure they are clean
and no mould or pests are in the vehicle.

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