Food safety is one of the most critical concerns in Public Health. In this article, we will tell you who is responsible for training employees about food safety. Hence, food safety must be seen as a number one priority in all post-harvest food industries (whether on a large or small scale) and farms. All employees handling foods should be properly trained on best practices in food safety. The management of a food processing company is responsible for training new employees on Food Safety. However, the training task is specifically designated for Food professionals in the company. The management of the food processing companies can also outsource professionals from related agencies for additional training. This training helps to prevent hazards associated with food-borne illnesses. It also gets the new employees accustomed to the company’s food safety goals according to global standards.
Who is Responsible for Training Employees about Food Safety?
The training of new employees about Food Safety rests with the production managers, sanitation supervisors, line supervisors, and/or the Quality Assurance Team. Accredited Food Safety bodies such as IFT (Institute of Food Technologists), bristol.gov.uk, etc., are external training outlets.
How to Train Food Handlers about Food Safety?
- Get the trainees acquainted with processing areas, equipment, and ingredients.
- Make use of visuals such as video clips, flowcharts, health customized calendars, etc.
- Make them understand key terms such as cross-contamination, HACCP, GMP, SOP, sanitation, Quality Management encapsulating Quality Control and Quality Assurance, etc.
- Teach them the various cleaning and cooking practices in simple terms.
- Assess them regularly and ensure they are accountable. Request for feedback when necessary.
- Make the training routine and occasional for good commitment and retention.
- Ensure both planned and unexpected inspections.
Food Hazards are anything capable of causing harm such as food-borne illnesses and food poisoning in food products to the consumer.
They can be classified into the following:
- Physical Hazards: These include contaminated or harmful packaging materials, jewelry, animal dungs, improper agricultural practices, glass materials, etc.
- Chemical Hazards: Chemical hazards related to food are water, pesticides, insecticides, weed control chemicals, machine oils, additives, metals, etc.
- Biological Hazards: These include pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Contaminated water is also a biological hazard.
- Allergens: These arise from food products containing unintended ingredients called allergens. Examples of such allergens include gluten, soybeans, lactose, etc. Food processors should boldly indicate the presence of these ingredients on the labels. New employees must also be made to understand this fact. Allergens can also arise from cross-contamination asides from the allergen ingredients cited above.
What is Food Safety? Why is it Important?
Food safety is important for proper handling and processing of food under a hygienic environment for wholesome and safe food consumption. Training food handlers on Food Safety is also very significant in implementing the practice. To prevent certain illnesses caused by foods and/or food packaging materials, food processors must be holistically committed to practicing good hygienic practices and training all employees on Food Safety. Food Safety is the confidence that the food provided or available is safe, wholesome, and beneficial for human consumption and not causing environmental hazards when disposed of properly.
How is Food Safety Ensured During and After Food Processing?
- Food handlers must ensure the right personal hygiene.
- All equipment and utensils used for food processing should be sterile.
- Use potable water.
- All work areas or production lines should comply with standard safety principles.
- Storage rooms and equipment should be ventilated or aerated.
- All raw food items must be confirmed safe, free from pathogens and extraneous materials.
- Store raw, cooked/processed, and ready-to-eat food separately.
- Ensure packaging items are sterile and appropriate for each food item.
Places Where Food Safety is Critical
The significance of Food Safety is not limited to food manufacturers or processors. Anyone who directly or indirectly handles food should be critical about food safety.
The scope of Food safety is “farm to fork”.
Areas of concern include:
- Grocery store
- Restaurant/Canteen/Food Café
- In-door or out-door kitchens
- Food industries
- Various means for transport and distribution applicable to food
- Storage facilities such as refrigerators/freezers, silos, barn, food stores, vacuum packages, etc.
HACCP: A Critical Food Safety Practice
HACCP is a professional term known as Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point. It is crucial for food processing companies to adopt an active HACCP plan and ensure the execution of the plan to the letter in all stages of processing until the final distribution. This fact would enable the employees to inculcate Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and intentionally work towards providing consumers with safe and wholesome food products. Tested and approved methods for preventing and controlling potential food hazards must be spelled clear in the HACCP plans. Also, sanitation techniques should be properly detailed in the sanitation procedures.
Food-Borne Illnesses and Poisoning
Food-borne Illnesses arise from taking food contaminated by micro-organisms, while food poisoning is caused by ingesting toxins of the micro-organisms (e.g., Aflatoxins in peanuts). Common micro-organisms of great concern in food processing industries include Salmonella, E-coli, Clostridium botulinum, etc. Illnesses caused include nausea, typhoid fever, cramps, and death in extreme cases.
Food Safety Control: Why is it important to Train New Employees about Food Safety?
It is expected that all food processing industries and/or some specific staff be certified with updated Food safety programs.
Examples of such certifications are ISO groups, HACCP, IASP, etc.
All new employees should undergo thorough training schemes on these food safety practices. This would enable consistency, safety, hygiene, and conformance to required standards. It would also promote and maintain the dignity of their brands.
Food processors should have and strictly follow well-articulated food safety curricular. These curricula must contain Safety Standard Operating Procedures (SAP), HACCP plans, GMP procedures, and other related studies.
Training on Food Safety and its Importance
Under this discourse, you would have had a succinct summation about who is responsible for training new employees about Food Safety and why it is crucial. Only related professionals with the required skills and accredited food organizations can be saddled with the responsibilities of Food Safety training. Food safety is crucial to prevent and control food hazards, food-borne illnesses, and food poisoning. Therefore, it is important to train new employees to achieve the desired goal of the company of safety, following global health standards.