Pro Tip: To avoid food safety issues bakers should review their food defense plan for insider threats, supplier compliance and storage practices.
As we near the holidays, consumers will soon be craving their favorite seasonal baked goods. Your operation may be tasked with helping meet that demand, which may have you running at increased capacity. Per the US Food & Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), if significant changes like those allowing for enhanced production occur in your operation, your food defense plan should be reviewed and updated.
As you increase production, you may need to hire temporary or contract labor, or full-time employees may be taking on new responsibilities through the season. Unfortunately, each of them can be considered insider threats and will need to be accounted for in your plan as potential vulnerabilities.
Additionally, if employees take on new responsibilities within the food defense plan, they will need to be trained to ensure they are qualified for those identified tasks.
Your operation may also have changed procedures to receive additional ingredients or may be working with secondary or emergency suppliers that are not familiar with your processes. New potential vulnerabilities could result, so a physical evaluation and document review of receiving procedures is required for all ingredients, raw materials and packaging. This will help ensure those products remain unadulterated.
Finally, because you may have to store additional ingredients or inventory until the product is needed at retail, consider conducting a physical evaluation and document review of your storage practices. You may need to limit access to storage areas to authorized personnel only or adjust your program based on these temporary procedures.
These and other measures will help ensure that all hazards/vulnerabilities remain under control, while highlighting whether production changes may prompt concerns. These steps will also ensure that food defense is not compromised during enhanced production runs.
That will result in a happy holiday season for you, your production team and your bottom line.
Earl Arnold is the manager of food defense/FSMA, operations and quality assurance at AIB International.