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Food Hygiene Inspection

Food Hygiene Inspection

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Today food hygiene is an important issue the general public both expects and demands that the food they purchase is free from harmful contaminants and dangerous bacteria

Consequently many regulatory standards and systems have been put into place to ensure the safety of our nation's food supply

Food hygiene inspections are performed throughout the food chain to ensure that food is grown, harvested, packed, stored and shipped in a manner to ensure that our foods stay safe from the farm field all the way to the final retail sale

as an important part of the food chain it's critical for you as farmers and Packers to ensure that your product is grown and packed as safely as possible, there are food safety audits specifically designed for this part of the food chain, there are different audits that are widely used and accepted in the United States as well as around the world, these audits are provided by both private contractors and state and federal agencies, additionally your bars may require a farm or Packer to receive specific audits to meet the standards of their particular food safety program

So as a grower and Packer you must have a food safety plan of action which includes documentation that your plan is actually being carried out

One way to achieve this is by developing a food safety Quality Manual. Each quality manual should be designed and implemented in a way that it addresses all the questions required by a third party food safety audit

This guide will give you some basic guidelines on how to design a food safety quality manual that will lead you through a successful food safety audit. Not all audits had the same required policies so your quality manuals should cover the required policies of each specific audit

Specific documents will need to be on hand during audits to address whatever questions that specific audit covers; examples may include documents covering water quality test results, shipping and receiving invoices, chemical labels and training

Verification daily reports should be on hand for the verification and required activities such as washing, sanitizing, pH test, bathroom cleaning, field activities and chemical applications. There are several important areas of focus for field operations and field packing; these can include documentation of training on the health and hygiene of the workers, field sanitation units, soil quality test, water quality test, the presence of domestic animals, wild animals and livestock, chemical applications and the actual field harvest

Lets go over each of these health and hygiene policies which should be established by the facility and use to train all personnel regarding all proper personal health and hygiene practices

This could include policies covering hand-washing, sickness, blood and bodily fluids, first-aid and the disposal of contaminated product, toilet facilities must be readily available for all workers. If there are no toilet facilities available, a field sanitation unit must be provided. The number of such units and the condition and placement of these units must comply with all applicable state and federal regulations

Soap, potable water and paper towels must be on hand for proper personal hygienic practices; signs instructing employees of these hygienic practices should be placed on each field sanitation unit. Field sanitation units must be clean and restocked with soap, water and paper towels daily

The suitability of the soil needs to be examined a previous land use risk assessment must be performed on all fields. If previous land use indicates a possibility of contamination, what preventative measures have been taken to mitigate the known risk? Has the soil been tested for contaminants and is the land use appropriate considering the test results

Has the crop production area been subjected to flooding? If so have the area's been tested for potential biohazards. Water quality tests are important; identify all sources of irrigation water used.  Does the water come from ponds, streams, wells, municipal supplies or some other sources?

A water quality assessment should be performed to determine if its quality is appropriate for irrigation and chemical application. All water sources must be protected from potential contamination and should be tested on, at least, an annual basis

Our domestic animals are livestock present and or near the growing fields. Crop production areas should not be located near or adjacent to any animal production facilities unless proper barriers exist and prevent all livestock entry

All crop production areas should be monitored for the presence of signs of wild or domesticated animals in the case that animals are gaining access to a growing area, actions need to be taken to reduce or stop access to the area

Chemical applications must be monitored and documented.  All crop applications should be documented and used according to the label. All applications should be performed by personnel that are trained and licensed by the proper state authorities and finally, policies should be documented that cover the actual field harvest

There should be documentation to show that all employees have been properly trained on food safety and the proper handling of the product that employees have been instructed not to pick up any product that has fallen on the ground. During mechanical harvesting, measures are taken to inspect the product for and remove foreign objects such as glass, metal, rocks or other dangerous items

All harvesting containers and hauling vehicles that contact the product should be cleaned and sanitized on a scheduled basis

Harvesting containers should not be used for carrying or storing anything other than product

All hand-harvesting equipment such as knives, pruners and shears should be kept clean and disinfected on a scheduled basis. Only new or sanitized containers should be used for packing the product. Damage containers should be properly repaired or disposed of; filled packing material should be properly stored and protected from possible contamination

Packing containers should not contact the ground during harvest.  The harvested product being moved from the field to storage should be covered during the transport

Products moving from the field should be uniquely identified to enable traceability; potable water must be available to all employees

There are several additional areas of focus for packing facilities; these include personal, health and hygiene, general facility, housekeeping, product handling practices, water quality, refrigeration, transportation, pest control an
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