Hazards in the food industry

June 28, 2022 2 min read

There area number of potential hazards that can be found in the food processing industry. These hazards can come from a variety of sources, including contaminants in the food itself, uncleanor faultyequipment, and poor  food hygiene practices.

One of the most important things that businesses can do to ensure food safety is to implement an efficient plan in accordance with the HACCP principles. This will make clear the steps required to reduce risks in the food processing facility.

Identifying food hygiene hazards

Where there isa number of processes and operations being carried out, it is important these are assessed regularly to identify the hazards and risks. Food businesses should carry out a food safety risk assessment at least annually. This will help to identify what needs to be done to control the hazards and protect public health.

There are four main steps in conducting a food safety risk assessments

1) Identify the hazards

2) Assess the risks

3) Control the risks

4) Review the risks

There area number of ways toidentify hazards in the food processing industry. One way is to look at the type of food being processed.

Raw meat and poultry can contain harmful bacteria that can cause food poisoning. These bacteria can be transferred to other foods thatcome into contact with them, such as ready-to-eat foods. If working with both types of products, this would be considered one hazard to contendwith.

Another way to identify hazards is to look at the methods used to process food. For example, canning food can create arisk of botulism if the food is not processed correctly

Once you have identified the hazards, you need to assess the risks. This means considering how likely it is that the hazard will occur and what the consequences would be if it did.

For example, if raw chicken was not cooked properly, there is a high risk that peoplewould contract food poisoning(this is campylobacter). However, if cooked, ready-to-eat, chicken was not stored at the correct temperature, there is a lower risk of food poisoning occurring, but the consequences could still be serious.

Mitigating the risks

After you have assessed the risks, you need to put controls in place to reduce them. This will require some planning. Dealing with each hazard individually and reviewing each of your processes separately will ensure all risks will be reduced or managed.

To prevent ahygienerisk from occurring, having stringent cleaning and disinfection processes in place will ensure food is not contaminated and safety regulations are adhered to.

As an example,you could carry out regular disinfection methods,as a way to reduce the risk of microbial contamination. While it must be carried out, it is also vital that each process used to reduce or mitigate a risk is documented properly,for example microbial swabs takenpost disinfectionand recorded asproof for externalauditorsandinspectors, that the cleaning regime is effective.

For companies looking for cleaning solutions, equipment, and support,  get in touch  with the team at SOS Hygiene. We are able to provide a number of services, including  ozonedisinfection,  odour control,  cleaning chemicals,and  cleaning equipment from leading brands such as Vikan and DEMA.