Food safety in food production
The World Health Organisation (2022) has pinpointed 4 main areas of food safety which are responsible for the majority of food borne diseases:
- preparing food too far in advance and then keeping it at poor storage temperatures
- inadequate cooking/reheating of food
- cross contamination
- poor personal hygiene
As food safety underpins all food production food manufacturers must make sure they have the systems and processes in place to make sure consumers are not put at risk.
Food can become unsafe at many different stages in it’s production whether produced manually or via automated systems and vulnerable points must be identified and controls put in place to prevent food becoming unsafe.
4 mistakes many food manufacturers make:
1. Poor storage of food
If food is kept at the wrong temperature harmful bacteria may grow and make the food unsafe to eat. Any chilled food must be kept below 8°C during storage with an optimum temperature of 5°C. [Food Safety (Temperature Control) Regulations 1995]
2. Inadequate cooking/reheating of food
If food is not cooked or reheated thoroughly harmful bacteria may not be destroyed making the food unsafe to eat.
The Food Standards Agency have published the following time/temperature combinations to ensure that food is safe to eat :
- 80°C for at least 6 seconds
- 75°C for at least 30 seconds (see Step 5 Cooking in HACCP plan*)
- 70°C for at least 2 minutes
- 65°C for at least 45 minutes
- 58°C for at least 80 minutes
- 55°C for at least 200 minutes
3. Cross Contamination
Raw food materials such as vegetables may become contaminated by using unclean water (CDC 2022). Food can also be contaminated in production via contaminated equipment or poor personal hygiene on manual processing lines; and at distribution points via dirty vehicles or containers.
Poor personal hygiene
Food handlers can spread bacteria onto food at various stages in food processing and must have high standards of personal hygiene and wear clean and suitable protective clothing.
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