Upholding excellent standards of health and safety during food and drink manufacturing is vital. Measures must be put into place to protect workers from hazards while creating or handling the goods, while the environment must also be kept hygienic for the products to be sellable. Regardless of the specific product being manufactured, businesses are subjected to the same health and safety regulations under the government.
Here is a selection of the requirements expected from businesses regarding health and safety in food and drink manufacturing.
Cleaning of Premises
Thoroughly cleaning your business premises is the first step to adequate health and safety measures during food and drink manufacturing. Workstations should be cleaned, disinfected and sanitised between every task, but particularly when raw food has been handled. In butcher shops or meat processing factories, this step is particularly important to avoid causing E. coli food poisoning to consumers.
Food grade plastic stacking bins are a brilliant way to keep your worktops organised and to separate raw and cooked ingredients to avoid cross-contamination. They’re easy to clean, come in a variety of different colours (allowing for easy distinguishing of contents), and are practically shaped so they can be stacked and save space. An organised workspace is less likely to cause a tripping hazard to your employees, and they’ll perform more efficiently too.
Machinery can be applied during every step of the food and drink manufacturing process. Whether the machine is preparing potatoes by washing and separating them, or packaging up crisps for distribution, all processes must be monitored closely. The more automated pieces of machinery are involved in the manufacturing of foods and drinks, the more steps there are where contamination could occur to clean ingredients.
For example, vacuum packing is a machined process that can lengthen the shelf life of chilled goods like raw steak. If not carried out correctly, however, there could be a leak in the packaging which causes the meat to spoil before it is labelled to. Vacuum packed goods must also be kept under 3 degrees Celsius to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria, in the absence of oxygen. Expired or contaminated meat could cause serious injury to consumers, so the vacuum packing process must be carried out correctly.
Handling Ingredients with Care
Particularly during the spread of the virus, handling ingredients with care while manufacturing food and drink is paramount. Suitable personal protection equipment should be readily available to all employees to protect them from the spread of illness and to therefore protect ingredients from harmful bacteria. Perspex screens can divide the space between different steps of food prep and minimise the transmission of airborne bacteria. Disposable gloves that are regularly switched will protect your ingredients from the bacteria on your employees’ bare hands.
Ensure that ingredients are kept at optimal temperature whenever possible. Chilled ingredients should be kept in conditions under 5 degrees celsius ideally, but 8 degrees celsius and below by law. Chilled food should only be taken out of these conditions for up to 4 hours, after which it should be discarded or put back into the fridge. Failure to handle ingredients in the right temperature means that dangerous bacteria can develop and cause food poisoning. Incorrectly stored products may also visibly spoil, and your employees will have to spend time sorting the mess and sanitising the surrounding area.
Upholding excellent health and safety standards while producing goods to be consumed is vital. Employees and consumers are protected by law, and you’ll save a great deal of time implementing good hygiene practises before you potentially face an accident.
For further advice on suitable storage solutions for the health and safety of your manufacturing business, please contact us at Onit Direct.