Our Guide to Food Safety Procedures and the impact of the Corona Virus.

Many Food Manufacturers are asking questions in regards to their Food Safety Procedures and the impact of the Corona Virus.

Questions such as:

How do I operate in this current period

How to keep my ship sailing safely

What changes do I need to make to run my business safely and effectively? 

The government gave the green light to work, what are my next steps? 

 We have rounded up information from various sources and have created a categorized list below.

HACCP in Food SafetyHACCP

  • Review and amend risk assessments for your business to include COVID-19 from entering the building through to end of production.  
  • Use your process flow from your HACCP as a guide, but also include staff arriving, changing, deliveries, contractor visits etc.  
  • Review your procedures to account for any changes you have made after your risk assessment. 

Cleaning

  •  review and increase cleaning frequency (e.g 2-hourly) also add into your clean as you go schedule items which may not be listed but touched ie door handles, strip curtains, keyboards, staff canteens. 
  • If you have had to shut for a while a deep clean before you start production would be recommended. also Including all machinery that have been sat idle.  
  • Are your cleaning chemicals in date and do you have enough?  

Machinery

  •  Its recommended that any idle equipment is to be inspected and tested before use. 
  • Recalibrate or test your metal detectors, temperature probes, scales etc before use. Update any computer systems, date coding and ingredients labelling before you commence production. 
  • Do you need additional verification of your existing controls or validation of any new controls you put in place? 
  • If you make any relevant changes to your HACCP., inform relevant bodies, for example, local food authority or FSA. 

Stock

  • If you have had to close or had reduced productivity- stock check.  
  • Check all raw materials or finished products are within their use by date, not been damaged in any way and if temperature controlled are at the correct temperature for the product, As a result dispose of any unusable product correctly and record according to your HACCP procedures.  
  • Pest activity may have increased due to the lack of human presence so be thorough when checking your stock. 

Suppliers

  •  have your suppliers got your normal raw materials and ingredients available?  
  • Have they changed their suppliers and supplying a different product? If so, request new product specifications from them. If you must use any new suppliers, they also must pass your food safety requirements and be documented. Finished product specification may need altering and your buyers must be made aware of this.  

Food Safety & Corona Virus PPE

  •  have you enough stock of disposable gloves for your staff? Make sure they are changed frequently and are not substituted for hand washing.  
  • Remind staff that gloves can carry COVID 19 the same way as hands do and to wash their hands when changing gloves. If you already provide masks as part of your PPE, keep on doing so. Should your staff choose to wear masks this is up to them but should not be used as a replacement for other precautionary measures. If staff choose to use one for work or travelling into work, they should be worn, handled and stored in a correct manner.  
  • Having a procedure in place for these will reduce a risk to the business’ food hygiene and safety. 

Allergen

  • if you change suppliers or ingredients, you will need to review your allergen management and labelling system if effected in line with your HACCP system. 

Staff

  •  Before staff return to work, have them complete a return to work form. This form will also need updating to include COVID 19.  
  • This could include- Have any family members shown symptoms in the last 14 days, has or is the staff member have any symptoms in the last 14 days. These need to be signed off before staff commencing work.  
  • Ensure all food handlers receive any training on updates you make in line with COVID 19 changes relevant to their department, ie A re-fresher in personal hygiene and PPE, delivery intake, cleaning etc. therefore, Stressing the importance of more frequent handwashing, surfaces are cleaned more regularly. 
  • Staff also need to be made aware that if they start to show symptoms at any point in time, they must report this immediately.  

Social distancing

  • Keep 2m distance when arriving, working and leaving. When carrying out an activity this may not always be possible, but employers and employees must do everything they reasonably can to reduce risk.  
  • Employers need to consider whether the activity needs to continue to allow the business to operate. As a result, If it’s a yes take all actions possible to reduce risk of transmission including:  
  • Further increase frequency of hand washing, sanitizing and surface cleaning 
  • Keep activity time to a minimum 
  • Use screens or barrier to separate people from each other 
  • Use back to back or side to side working rather than face to face when possible 
  • Reduce number of people each person has contact with by using fixed teams or partnering staff up. 
  • To assist in the 2m rule, consider staggering start and finishing times of staff to avoid crowding when they arrive and leave work.

Routine Key Points to implement, monitor and review: 

Wash hands for at least 20 seconds, especially after being in public, sneezing, blowing nose, coughing, touching their face 

Legislation requires you to provide safe food and appropriate hygiene procedures are in place. 

“…face coverings are not a replacement for the other ways of managing risk..” 

Keep a 2m distance 

Keep staff informed and up to date on any changes 

Run changes past supervisors to determine practicality as they are on the work floor, they may also have ideas. 

Below is some useful links to relevant websites where we have sourced our information from

IFST ( Institute of Food Science & Technology have published the guidance for SME food sites restarting. They also have a Covid-19 Knowledge resource available

IFST also offer a downloadable checklist for restarting business

GOV UK offer varied guidance therefore we have selected links to more specific Food Safety Guidance

Social Distancing – Factories- Plants- Warehouses

PPE & Face Masks – Factories- Plants- Warehouses

Communicating with Staff

Adapting Food Manufacturing Operations

BRC Global Standard

BRCGS offer a downloadable Covid- 19 Guideline Booklet

During this challenging period we are offering our remote support service, if we can be of any assistance at all please contact us 01434611568 admin@foodsafetyassist.co.uk

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