Importance of Food Safety Management

Saint Yi Htet#1
#

Wyeth Nutritionals Singapore
1

1, Tuas South Ave 4, Singapore 637609
masaint@gmail.com

Abstract— It is crucial to assure food locally produced or imported is safe for the public consumption. At the same time, food safety standards are also important to minimize trade barriers between the countries. The level of regulation implemented in each country varies depending on the culture, climate, geographical location, past experience on food safety issues and food safety awareness of the consumers and the food manufacturers. As the globalization has widened the network of food supply chain and the consumers has acquired more knowledge on food safety, many countries are driven to raise the food safety standards. This paper highlights the importance of food safety management and explains some examples of step-bystep adaptation to higher food safety standards by the combined effort of Regulatory Bodies, Academia such as Universities and Institutions and the Food Manufacturing Industry. Keywords— Food Safety Management; ISO 9000, ISO 22000, HACCP, Food Hygiene s

I. INTRODUCTION Food Safety is an issue for both domestic consumption and trade. Domestically, failure in food safety management could cause loss of workforce, increase public health expenditure and even lead to loss of lives in serious cases. Ineffective food safety management system could also lead to loss of opportunity for export. Some countries use food safety regulations to ensure the food produced or imported into the country is safe for consumption while other could also use food safety as a tool for trade barrier. To strike a balance between public safety and using food safety measure as a trade barrier, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was established by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Codex set the standards which are accepted the in many countries. 1 II. DIFFERENCES IN FOOD SAFETY REGULATION Countries have different food safety risks and experience of food safety issues based on the geographic or climatic conditions, cultural difference and food production practices. Such perceptions are reflected in the specifications set for the import. A holistic Food Safety Management System shall perform regulating and enforcement for domestic food producers. Sustainability of a food safety management system partly depends on the selection of scope and standards which are suitable for the current status of the consumers, the local food manufacturers, the target export country and the target food products for export.

III. COSTS AND BENEFITS OF FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT A full-fledge Food Safety Regulation is costly. It is costly for the authority. Identifying the scope of food safety issues to be covered under the regulation, developing standards, training officers for inspection and certification and implementing enforcement need time and skills. It is also costly for the food producers. They are also likely to have additional costs to improve the process for higher quality and product safety, to get the certification and to maintain the standards set by the authority. There may be costs of rejects in cases of failure to meet the standard. Such additional costs for regulation in the food industry may be distributed to the public i.e. increased price for a product of the same quality. However, these additional costs shall be weighed against the benefits for implementing stringent food safety standards. Most important benefit from implementing a sustainable and effective Food Safety Management System is the ability to provide safe food for the public which could result in reduced public health expenditure for the food safety related cases. Such cases include diarrhea due to microbiologically contaminated cooked food and cancer caused by mold present in dried food. It could even save lives of infants and children when serious cases such as melamine in infant formula happen. The outcome of an effective Food safety Management System also include better brand image, increased sales for the food producers and opportunity for export. IV. REGULATING FOOD SAFETY FOR PUBLIC HEALTH Countries are implementing food safety management by legislating Food Safety or Food Hygiene one step after another. For example, Malaysia has implemented Code of Practice 1974 which encouraged Food Safety practices. And under Food Act 1983, partial legislation of food hygiene was started. Any premises preparing or selling food which fails to comply with sanitary and hygienic requirements could be closed down by the authority. Now Malaysia Ministry of Health is in the process of implementing Food Hygiene Regulations 2009 aiming to provide an infrastructure to control the hygiene and safety of food sold in the country. Food Hygiene Regulations 2009 includes requirements for - Registration of food premises - Conduct and maintenance of food premises - Food handler

Special requirements in handling, preparing, packing, serving, storing and selling of specific food - Carriage of food. 2 The above example demonstrates the gradual expansion of Food Legislation from Code of Practice to Regulation. Similarly, Singapore has also gone through Food Legislation journey step by step. The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) was established in 2000. One of the objectives was to ensure a resilient supply of safe food. The Sale of Food Act 2002 defines and prohibits selling “unsafe” food, and it also requires the food businesses to be licensed. Food Regulations 2006 stipulates expanded range of food safety issues covering food safety and specification standards, food additives, chemical residues, labeling and advertising. Food Safety legislations facilitate, strengthen and harmonize the enforcement activities in food premises. Such mandatory Food Safety regulations not only are capable of providing safe food for the public, but also build a strong food safety culture in the country. It will gradually raise the standard of food manufacturing industry in the country and shall serve as the stepping stone in reaching out the international market food safety standards. V.

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in the food supply chain, which is also known as “farm to fork” approach. The manufacturer of the finished product can ask its raw food suppliers for the market-recognized certificates such as ISO 9000 or HACCP. Or the buyer can ask to prove the suppliers’ food safety management system is safe and sound. At the same time, finished product manufacturer can ask the retailers to prove the handling and storage conditions at their outlets. This is to ensure that the food safety standards are maintained as they were produced at the factory. Such requirements for food safety are included in the contracts. The “farm to fork” concept is also a driving force for higher food safety standards in the competitive markets. While Malaysia is encouraging the food producers to voluntarily adopt GMP, Singapore includes Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), Cleaning and Sanitation Program, Pest Control Program, Waste Management, Transportation of Finished Products and Maintenance Program as part of licensing requirement for operating food processing establishment. HACCP is a Food Safety Management System for a food manufacturing plant to analyze possible contaminations (physical, chemical and microbial) from the raw materials as well as at every step of the process; and then plan to take preventive measures. It dictates corrective actions to maintain the controls measures at each Critical Control Point in case of failure. It is not a stand alone program, but built on the strong foundations blocks – Infrastructure and Maintenance, Building Services, Personal Hygiene, Standard Operation Procedures, Current Good Manufacturing Practices, Training and Recall Programs. Principles of implementing HACCP are 1. Conduct a hazard analysis a. Flow Diagram b. Hazard identification 2. Determine the Critical Control Points (CCPs) 3. Establish the critical limits a. Measurable parameter 4. Establish a system to monitor control of the CCP 5. Establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from an established control limit 6. Establish procedures for verification to conform that the HACCP system is working effectively 7. Establish documentation concerning all procedures and record appropriate to these principles and their application

MARKET AS A DRIVING FORCE FOR FOOD SAFETY

Consumers in many developed countries are aware of food safety standards and thus the markets become driving force for the higher standards. To meet the increasingly stringent standards demanded by the importers, many countries in Asia are also increasingly establishing quality regulations for food. 3 For instance, Ministry of Health, Malaysia is also encouraging food manufacturers to get certified for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) under Malaysian Certification Scheme for GMP. This scheme is voluntary certification based on the inspection at the factory. With this scheme, Malaysia Ministry of Health provides formal recognition of food producers that have effectively implemented and maintained all requirements. The scheme also enables local food industry to be competitive at the international trade. 4 The elements which were covered for the certification are - Premises, environment and facilities - Hygiene and sanitation facilities - Equipment - Operational Control - End product verification - Sanitation and maintenance - Workers - Transportation and distribution - Traceability and product information - Internal inspection and audit - Training In the food manufacturing Industry, the concept of food safety is shifting towards protecting food safety at any points

The basic concepts of HACCP include preventing potential contaminations from farm to fork. In the second generation of HACCP, the risk calculation starts from the tolerable limit of the product at the point of consumption, then process shall be designed to handle the calculated risk reduction. For example, if the acceptable level of total aerobic plate count in pasteurized milk is 10,000 cfu/gm, the process shall be designed to reduce the microbial load to acceptable level or the raw milk shall not contain higher microbial load than the process can handle. VI. DEMONSTRATION OF A CRITICAL CONTROL POINT (CCP) A. Flow Diagram and Analysis HACCP team has to prepare a flow diagram of the step. Figure 1: Pasteurization of milk Raw Milk

In case of temperature drops to 82 ºC or lower, milk in the system must be diverted into the circulation loop and heated until the temperature reaches back to normal at 85ºC. Depending on the problem and the time taken for rectification, the product in the circulation loop may need to be discarded.

Milk Storage Tank CCP 1: HTST HTST/ Pasteurizer @ 85ºC Pasteurized Milk

F. Establish procedures for verification to conform that the HACCP system is working effectively and establish documentation concerning all procedures and record appropriate to these principles and their application To fulfill these principles, the Food Safety Team needs to implement an internal audit program which will audit the department(s) for GMP, GDP and documentations recorded for HACCP. To be able to facilitate this simple operation and monitoring, the following area the required tasks: - - Train the operator and keep training records - - Calibrate the instruments and keep calibration records - - Temperature/ Flow Rate records - - Periodical challenge of the diverter valve to ensure that the milk will be diverted into the circulation loop in case temperature drops to 82ºC or lower; and keep record of the challenge Being a preventive Food Safety Management System which is tailored to the particular product and the process, HACCP is highly effective in preventing contaminations. Implementing HACCP as food safety management system in a manufacturing plant is desirable because it is preventing contamination for the whole food chain. It prevents potential food safety hazards from the raw materials through the process to the point of consumption. It has higher tendency to hold accountability of food safety in the hand of producer in stead of leaving the quality to either the raw materials suppliers or the finished product retailers along the food chain.

B. Determine Critical Control Point(s) HACCP team identified HTST as Critical Control Point because if the milk is not properly pasteurized at that step, the product safety will be affected. C. Establish Critical Limit(s) Milk must be pasteurized at 85 ºC for 15 seconds; the control limits at CCP 1 are temperature 82 ~ 85ºC & flow rate of 1200 lit/sec (in order to ensure the holding time is 15 sec). Food Safety Team has to justify why the operation parameters (i.e. 85 ºC for 15 seconds) are chosen. D. Establish a system to monitor control of CCP Monitoring has to be done to record Temperature and flow rate from the control panel; every 15 min Temperature and flow rate from the field; every hour E. Establish the corrective action to be taken when monitoring indicates a deviation from an established control limit

However, the obvious disadvantage of HACCP is high cost. It starts with the building design to provide the right environment at least for the critical steps of a process. Maintaining a good environment could mean having the air filtered with HEPA filters and treated with UV, getting the right Relative Humidity and temperature. Monitoring CCPs also need continuous effort of Good Manufacturing and Good Documentation Practices. It is costly not only to the food producers, but to the regulatory too. The authority will need to train strong auditors/inspectors to be able to thoroughly audit process and the practices at each food production facility. VII. ROLE OF ACEDAMIA AND INDUSTRY Like the role of Food Safety Authority is essential, collaboration of Academia and Food Industry is important too. Universities and Research Centers provide strong technical

supports like risk calculation and developing risk management tools, scientific justification for specifications and standards, developing new test methods to detect newly-evolved contaminants such as melamine in infant formula. Combined effort of universities and the industry shall results development of new products, new equipment and new processes. There are many international voluntary organizations working on food safety standards, food safety management systems and supporting technologies. Most of the members in such voluntary organizations are from universities and institutions. These groups organize international conferences with the support of local Food Safety Authority and the industry. These international seminars are the venue for sharing standards, technologies and information from one part of the world to the other. VIII. CONCLUSION Regulating Food Safety shall be formulated from the international norms and standards, the culture, climate and past experience on food safety issues. Although directly imposing regulation on food safety in stead of developing the industry and the public gradually is possible, step-by-step approach starting from Code of Practice to Regulation seems to be sustainable. Leadership of Food Safety Authority, collaboration of Universities and the Industry itself is paramount to build an effective Food Safety Management System. Implementing voluntary schemes for Good Manufacturing, Hygiene and Documentation Practices helps the food manufacturing industry to be able to step up their capability to meet the international Food Safety standards. In addition, gradual improvement on Food Safety Management will also raise public awareness on Food Safety and eventually the market could become a driver for the standards.

REFERENCES [1] Codex Alimentarius Web site, Available: http://www.codexalimentarius.net/web/faq_gen.jsp#G11 [2] Mr. Nik Shabnam Bt. Nik Mohd. Salleh, Deputy Director of Standard Section, Food Safety & Quality Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia, “Food Hygiene Regulation 2009”; Malaysian Institute of Food Technology Seminar & Workshop – All you need to know on GMP; The Science and Practice of GMP. [3] Mike McMullen, Standard for World Food Trade, Asia Food Journal, June 2009 [4] Ms Samimah Bt Hj Abd Rahman, Principal Assistant Director, Food Safety and Quality Division, Ministry of Health, Malaysia, “Malaysian Certification Scheme for Good Manufacturing Practices”; Malaysia at Malaysian Institute of Food Technology Seminar & Workshop – All you need to know on GMP; The Science and Practice of GMP [5] Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point Principles and Application Guidelines; Available: U.S. Food And Drug Administration Website http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodSafety/HazardAnalysisCriticalC ontrolPointsHACCP/HACCPPrinciplesApplicationGuidelines/ default.htm#execsum Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore Web pages; Available: http://www.ava.gov.sg/ a. Legislation under Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) b. Food Traders and Establishments, Licensing of Other Food Processing Establishments [6] Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore Web pages; available: http://www.ava.gov.sg [7] Legislation under Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA) [8] Food Traders and Establishments, Licensing of Other Food Processing Establishments [9] Symposium on Current & Innovative Approaches to Microbiological Food Safety Management, Singapore 2007 [10] International Symposium on Revolution in Food Safety Management, Indonesia 2008