In the food industry, ensuring that the food, drinks and other food-related products that we manufacture, cook and sell are safe for consumption is of paramount importance. However, with so much involved, and so much at stake, this can be rather tricky. As such, food safety management systems have become an essential tool for businesses to maintain a high level of food safety and hygiene.
In this blog, Guardian Support explores the basics of food safety management systems, what they are, how they work, and why they are crucial for any food-related business. Whether you are a food industry professional or just getting started in foodstuffs, keep reading to gain a comprehensive understanding of FSMS.
FSMS stands for, you guessed it, food safety management system. FSMS is a systematic approach to managing food safety hazards and hygiene in a food-related business. From restaurants to bonbon manufacturers, food safety managements systems provide a framework that outlines policies, procedures, and processes designed to identify, prevent, and control food safety hazards throughout the entire food supply chain, from production to consumption.
The aim of food safety is to ensure that products are safe for consumption and meet food safety regulations. This includes measures to prevent contamination from biological, chemical, and physical hazards, as well as measures to monitor and control these hazards throughout the food production and distribution process.
What Do Food Safety Management Systems Involve?
A comprehensive and effective system should include the following:
- Hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) if manufacturing or cooking products
- Good manufacturing practices (GMP)
- Sanitation procedures including pest control
- Employee training programs
- Equipment maintenance schedule and inspections
- Allergen information
These components work together to ensure that all aspects of the food production process are managed and controlled to prevent food safety hazards.
A FSMS is generally legally required for food-related businesses, and is considered an industry best practice. To be considered trustworthy, high-quality and legally compliant, managing food safety is crucial.
What is HACCP?
HACCP stands for Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points. It forms the foundation of any FSMS, and has been since its development in the 1960s by a team of researchers from NASA.
HACCP is designed to identify potential hazards at each stage of the food production process, from raw material acquisition to production, distribution, and consumption. It is made up of seven principles that must be followed in order to ensure that the food produced is safe for consumption. These principles are:
- Conduct a hazard analysis
- Determine critical control points (CCPs)
- Establish critical limits
- Implement monitoring procedures
- Establish corrective actions
- Implement verification procedures
- Establish record-keeping and documentation procedures
Importance of Food Safety Systems
The importance of food safety is clear. As food is one of the most important outside elements that enter our bodies, food safety systems are vital. They help to prevent foodborne illnesses and protect public health.
When food safety systems are not in place, the risk of contamination and the spread of pathogens increases, leading to serious health consequences for consumers. In addition to this, these systems ensure consistency, so that consumers can come to expect a certain standard, and the food will meet it. This can help businesses to build and maintain their reputation.
Lastly, food safety systems can improve operational efficiency and reduce waste by providing a framework for identifying and addressing potential hazards throughout the supply chain. This can lead to cost savings and increased profitability for businesses.
How Guardian Support can Help With Food Safety Management
As a food safety consultancy, Guardian Support can provide valuable support and expertise to businesses looking to develop or improve their food safety management systems.
Here are some of the ways in which we can help:
- Conducting a food safety audit: We can conduct a comprehensive audit of your business’s food safety practices to identify areas for improvement and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.
- Developing a food safety management system: We can provide you with a bespoke FSMS that suits your business needs perfectly.
- Providing food hygiene training: We offer two RoSPA approved online food hygiene and safety courses designed to educate employees on food safety best practices, HACCP, GMP, and other key components of an FSMS.
To find out more about how we can support your food-related business, call us on 0845 874 4072.