An insider guide to product based food safety consultancy

Food safety for product based food businesses

food safety for food products

You love making  [insert your favourite food item here] and have decided to make it into a business. Whether it’s sauces, pizzas or chocolate cake there are a lot of things you need to consider before your amazing product makes it onto the shelves for sale. 

I have helped many food entrepreneurs get their products to market by putting together a comprehensive food safety management system with them. Here’s a sneak peak at how I support product based food businesses by make food safety simple.

Planning for food safety

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”

Abraham Lincoln

As Abraham Lincoln states never neglect the planning of getting your food safety right. Firstly some questions to  get you thinking along the right lines: 

  1. How will your product be placed on the market? Will it be a packaged or unpackaged product. This will determine the level of mandatory  labelling  required. 
  2. Will you be selling your product online by distance selling, retail or in a food business?
  3. Are you exporting your product and where?
  4. Does the product need testing in a lab for food pathogens? 

Food Safety Case Study - pasteurising milk for an on farm vending machine

I recently completed a 3rd party consultancy project helping put together a food safety management system for a farm in Gloucestershire who produced milk from their herd and supplied it to a local dairy. They wanted to diversify by pasteurising some of the milk and selling it from a vending machine on the farm, but the farmers didn’t know where to start with food safety.

The first step was to have an in depth meeting with the farmers to find out about their food business and how they planned to produce and sell the pasteurised milk from the vending machine. 

I advised them on how to make the pasteurised milk so it would comply with all the relevant food regulations to ensure their milk would be safe. I also used good manufacturing practice based on industry guides including Guidance notes for on farm pasteurisers and research as pasteurising milk is a specialised process. 

These are the steps we took to make sure they were following the rules, and the business was legal . 

  1. Registered the new process  with the local authority
  2. Researched the approval process as milk is a  product of animal origin. [The business was exempt from approval but was still required to register.]
  3. Researched the Vat Pasteurisation process in terms of how the pasteuriser they had purchased worked.  
  4. Put together a flow diagram of the food production process from the raw milk to the pasteurised milk in the vending machine.
  5. Put together prerequisites and safe operating procedures
  6. Followed the HACCP process including bacterial, chemical, physical and allergen contamination, cross contamination; establishing critical control points including the pasteurisation kill step; monitoring and documentation including temperature logging
  7. Considered a suitable product recall system
  8. Advised to carry out final product  testing of the pasteurised milk inline with legislation
  9. Advised on allergen management 
  10. Advised on labelling requirements  
  11. Recommended training requirements for staff
  12. Assessed the structure of the premises and equipment 
  13. Advised on additional ingredients including syrups for milkshakes.

Outcome of the food safety consultancy project

How to get your head around Food Safety Management Systems]The bespoke food safety management system [see my blog  was delivered including a number of safe operating procedures for the use of the pasteuriser and vending machine. A number of trial runs of the pasteuriser and micro testing were carried out prior to selling the milk from the vending machine for validation . I also put bespoke monitoring documents  together including a batch coding form to log each batch of milk produced. I recommended to carry out regular environmental swab testing and testing of the milk, as well as auditing to verify the system is working. 

And the best news….they received a Level 5 ‘Very good’ Food Hygiene Rating Score from their Local EHO – job done!

If you need help with food safety for your product based food business contact me now for a no obligation chat. 

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