Food safety in the baking industry has come a long way, especially with AIB International’s kill-step calculators for validating preventive controls for bread, buns, cookies, muffins and more. Those calculators have been a game changer when it comes to complying with Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) rules. However, many bakeries are taking it a step further today when it comes to regulatory compliance while anticipating future FSMA requirements.
In many newly designed facilities, many bakeries clearly separate raw materials from ready-to-eat (R.-T.-E.) products being sent to packaging. Often, walls provide the natural barrier between product makeup and the oven or fryer. However, employee practices also must be considered, said Joe Stout, founder and president of Commercial Food Sanitation. Shoe and boot sanitizers or sanitizing stations may be needed when staffers move between the raw and R.-T.-E. sides. Transport equipment, forklifts and carts also will need to be evaluated.
“Having dedicated vehicles for each area is certainly the best option, but if this is not possible, then a cleaning and verification program can be implemented,” wrote Mr. Stout, a Baking & Snack contributing editor, in a recent column.
Taking time to explain to employees the reasons for the new practices is certainly a significant part of the project. Presenting those changes in a classroom might be an initial step, but observing their practices and coaching them on the floor are equally, if not more, important. Food safety practices have improved, but bakers and snack makers must be ever diligent to ensure such efforts improve and protect consumers in the long run. That’s a New Year’s resolution everyone should embrace.