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Good Manufacturing Practices

Development – To define detail, scope and purpose.

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Training participants will gain a basic understanding of Good Manufacturing Practices and their applications within food safety and quality systems. Basic knowledge competency will be verified through successful completion of the accompanying Good Manufacturing Practices assessment activity. Basic skill competency can be verified through the Good Manufacturing Practices competency checklist available as a resource for this training activity. 

Key Definitions For Good Manufacturing Practices
- Codex Alimentarius: The Codex Alimentarius, Latin for food code or food book, is a collection of internationally recognized standards, codes of practice, guidelines and other recommendations relating to foods, food production and food safety.
- Good Hygiene Practices or GHP: Practices adopted to ensure appropriate levels of personal, environmental and food hygiene are maintained.
- Good Laboratory Practices or GLP: Practices adopted to ensure appropriate levels of control are achieved within a laboratory environment.
- Good Manufacturing Practices or GMP: Practices adopted to ensure appropriate levels of control is achieved within a food business environment.
- Good Transport Practices or GTP: Practices adopted to ensure appropriate levels of control is achieved within a food transport environment.
- Good Warehousing Practices or GWP: Practices adopted to ensure appropriate levels of control are achieved within a food warehouse environment.
- Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point or HACCP: HACCP is a food safety methodology that relies on the identification of Critical Control Points in all stages of food business processes.
- Hermetically Sealed: Hermetically sealed. With a hermetic seal; so as to be airtight.
- Microbiological Pathogen: Any microbiological entity including viruses, bacteria or other microorganisms that can cause food borne illness in humans.
- pH: From potential of Hydrogen. The logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen-ion concentration in gram atoms per litre; provides a measure on a scale from 0 to 14 of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution where 7 is neutral and greater than 7 is more alkaline and less than 7 is more acidic.
- Thermophilic: Heat tolerant type of bacteria that require high temperatures for normal development.
- Water Activity or aw: Water activity is a measurement of water content; free or unbound water available in a food for microbial growth. It is defined as the vapour pressure of water divided by that of pure water at the same temperature; therefore, pure distilled water has a water activity of exactly one.

Good Manufacturing Practices Development
When considering the development, documentation and implementation of Good Manufacturing Practices within food safety and quality management systems, the following information should be considered to ensure effective outcomes:

About Good Manufacturing Practices
Good Manufacturing Practices policies exist for the purpose of establishing both broad and specific guidelines for a particular industry operation regarding personal appearance and hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, food handling and manufacturing practices, and other relevant industry specified interests, assurances that food handlers and other peoples involved in the nominated industry sector are introduced to appropriate workplace related practices, providing documentation concerning personal appearance and hygiene, cleaning and sanitation, and controlling the production processes within the bounds of governing legislation, and assuring that all finished food products safe and of suitable quality. Good Manufacturing Practices are often used as the foundation for the specific food hygiene requirements relating to a designated sector of food production.

All sectors of the food industry have special challenges when it comes to Good Manufacturing Practices. The nature of the foods produced by your business makes the results of your manufacturing processes of great importance to the welfare of the intended consumers of such products. The consequences of non-compliance with appropriate production guidelines can potentially have a disastrous effect on consumer health, sometimes with tragic results. The concepts of appropriate food manufacturing processes and practices are important enough to warrant formal guidelines issued as legislation and food codes. Food law mandates ongoing GMP training and management of food industry employees, and requires that the scope and purpose of such is to enhance and sustain the continued use of GMP management of all food industry sectors. Appropriate and well managed GMP concepts form the basis of pre-requisite programs for high-calibre food safety and quality management programs including Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point based food safety.

The term Good Manufacturing Practices is often used in conjunction with Good Hygiene Practices. Other variations include Good Transport Practices, Good Warehousing Practices and Good Laboratory Practices; all of which are bound by the requirement to produce safe and suitable outcomes against legislative requirements, industry guidelines and recognised best practice.

Both GMP and GHP contain policies including:
- Personnel practices;
- Plant and equipment design and maintenance;
- Process procedures;
- Storage design and cleanliness;
- Housekeeping;
- General and specific cleaning and sanitation;
- Pest control;
- Training.

In addressing the legislative requirements or industry codes of practice or food laws, the two primary concerns of GMP and GHP are:
- Meeting the mandatory provisions of industry codes of practice or food laws; and
- Adhering to the advisory provisions in following an appropriate path to meet the mandatory provisions.

In addressing these requirements, The Good Manufacturing Practices Policy and The Good Hygiene Practices Policy should provide the basis of what food handlers and associated people need to follow in meeting the legislative requirements.

Production Processes
The aim of production processes is to produce food that is safe and suitable for human consumption by:
- Formulating design requirements with respect to raw materials, composition, processing, distribution, and consumer use to be met in the manufacture and handling of specific food items;
- Designing, implementing, monitoring and reviewing effective food safety and quality control systems; and
- Taking preventative measures to assure the safety and suitability of food at an appropriate stage in the operation by controlling food safety and quality hazards.

Production Process Fundamentals
The following considerations should be made in the application of process control within any food business:
- Processes involved should not allow the significant survival or growth of pathogenic microorganisms;
- Food handlers must use appropriate and relevant measures to prevent contamination of food during preparation, storage or handling. This may include the use of specified clothing, hand washing practices and the exclusion of staff affected by illness or injury;
- Packaging must be constructed of appropriate materials and stored in a way that reduces the possibility of contamination;
- Finished product must be stored and handled appropriately so as not to allow the significant survival or growth of pathogenic microorganisms;
- Food must not be used once it has passed its use by period;
- Hygienic food preparation is aided by food handling staff who persistently abide by food hygiene protocols;
- Properly designed, constructed, maintained, cleaned and sanitised equipment and premises minimize the risk of food contamination;
- Food materials must be transported and stored at appropriate temperatures, in a manner that does not allow contamination;
- Food handling and processing equipment must be able to be easily cleaned and sanitised before use and must be constructed from impervious and non-corrodible materials;
- Premises and equipment design for specified food production should be capable of being appropriately cleaned and sanitised and vermin proofed to prevent the likelihood of contamination.

Adequate and relevant programs must be in place to monitor and control the interactions of personnel regarding the production of safe and suitable food. The goals of such programs will ensure safe food handling practices.  Staff training must be verified as to its relevance and accuracy in specific tasks, and in making people responsible for their actions within the holistic process. Ongoing training, particularly in personal hygiene, personal conduct and hygienic handling of food will reinforce the positive nature of outcomes relating to food safety. Personnel requirements may include: the maintenance of documentation for staff having undertaken training, and the relevant content of the training information issued; personnel training policy including requirements for on-the-job and task specific training.

The Principles of Food Hygiene
The conditions under which food is handled from the point of production until final consumption determine the quality and safety of the food we eat. The basic rules for the hygienic handling, storage, processing, distribution and final preparation of all food, along the food production chain are set out in the Codex Alimentarius General Principles of Food Hygiene. They include requirements for the design and facilities, control of operations including temperature, raw materials, water supply, documentation and recall procedures, maintenance and sanitation, personal hygiene and training of personnel.

Hygienic practices form an integral part of all food safety management systems, including the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point system. The General Principles are recommended for adoption by governments, industry including primary producers, manufacturers, processors, food service operators and retailers and consumers. The general principles of Food Hygiene cover all aspects of circumstances that are necessary to ensure the safety and suitability of food at all stages of its handling, processing, storage and distribution.

The aims of food hygiene are to:
- Ensure that food is safe to eat at the time of consumption;
- Prevent food contamination and associated food poisoning;
- Facilitate the continuing effective control of food hazards, pests, and other agents likely to contaminate food.

Food hygiene is achieved through effective systems which:
- Ensure adequate and appropriate maintenance and cleaning and sanitation;
- Control pests;
- Manage waste; and
- Monitor effectiveness of maintenance and sanitation procedures.

Food Hygiene invovces:
- Primary Production: Environmental hygiene, Hygienic food production sources, transport, storage and handling, associated personal hygiene, cleaning and maintenance; and
- Food Premises: Location, design and facilities, equipment used in processing and production, maintenance, cleaning and sanitation, Programmed cleaning, Pest control systems, Waste management, effectiveness monitoring of all components of the food business as part of a collective system.

Key Aspects of Food Hygiene Control Systems
The following aspects of food hygiene control systems are imperative in ensuring appropriate outcomes on an ongoing basis:

Primary Production
Primary production requires special attention regarding the identification and control of all food safety hazards, as it is most often the first step in the food supply chain. This factor can define the safety of the foods involved at later steps including supply, processing and customer availability.

The control of chemical use is paramount within Primary Production, as it is a point at which chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides, fertilisers, antibiotics, fungicides among others are applied directly to foods, or their surroundings. This produces issues of concern where the chemical content within, or on the foods produced are still present at the time the products become available to consumers. Adhering to the prescribed application rates and procedures for chemicals, in conjunction with allowing the appropriate withholding periods forms the basis upon which such hazards are controlled.

Primary Production is also the step at which foods are readily exposed to higher than acceptable levels of pathogenic bacteria, whether it is through the soil, animal faeces or other environmental factors. These types of hazards are generally controlled through well-structured and developed procedures, which define practices which facilitate the production of safe and suitable foodstuffs for consumers.

Time and Temperature Control
Inadequate food temperature control is one of the most common causes of food-borne illness or food spoilage. Such controls include time and temperature of cooking, cooling, processing and storage. Systems should be in place to ensure that temperature is controlled effectively where it is critical to the safety and suitability of food.

Temperature control systems should take into account:
- The nature of the food, for example, its water activity, pH or acidity and likely initial level and types of micro-organisms;
- The intended shelf life of the product;
- The method of packaging and processing; and
- How the product is intended to be used, for example, does it require further cooking or processing or is it ready-to-eat?

Such systems should also specify tolerable limits for time and temperature variations. Temperature recording devices should be calibrated at regular intervals and tested for accuracy.

Specific Production Process Steps
Other steps which contribute to maintained appropriate food hygiene outcomes may include:
- Chilling;
- Thermal processing;
- Irradiation;
- Drying;
- Chemical preservation;
- Modified Atmospheric Packaging.

As part of GMP and GHP Procedures, the food business management should document a policy and take all reasonable measures and precautions to ensure the following:

Restricted Items in Specified Areas
There are many materials that are often prohibited in food production areas due to their potential for causing harm to consumers.

The presence of the following items in production, packaging, storage and handling areas is of major concern:
- Paper clips;
- Rubber bands;
- Thumb tacks;
- Pins, nails, screws;
- Steel wool;
- Wood: If wooden materials such as wooden pallets must be used, it is highly recommended that they be maintained in a good state of repair;
- Staples;
- Glass where applicable: May be unavoidable as light fittings and instruments, but can still be contained through common sense methods of control and management;
- Packaging containers: Can cause contamination during opening, either from external sources, or by parts of the packaging breaking loose, and contacting the food;
- Associated physical food hazards: Ingredients such as dried goods can be sifted or screened prior to use to reduce the possibility of foreign matter within the packaged or stored product being transported further into the production process.

Disease Control
Any person who, by medical examination or supervisory observation, is shown to have, or appears to have, an illness, open lesion, including boils, sores, or infected wounds, or any other abnormal source of microbiological contamination by which there is a reasonable possibility of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials becoming contaminated, should be excluded from any operations which may be expected to result in such contamination until the condition is corrected. Personnel should be instructed to report such health conditions to their supervisors.

Cleanliness
All persons working in direct contact with food, food-contact surfaces, and food-packaging materials should conform to hygienic practices while on duty to the extent necessary to protect against contamination of food.

Methods for maintaining cleanliness include, but are not limited to:
- Wearing outer garments suitable to the operation in a manner that protects against the contamination of food, food contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials;
- Maintaining adequate personal cleanliness;
- Washing hands thoroughly and sanitising if necessary to protect against contamination with undesirable microorganisms in an adequate hand-washing facility before starting work, after each absence from the workstation, and at any other time when the hands may have become soiled or contaminated;
- Removing all unsecured jewellery and other objects that might fall into food, equipment, or containers, and removing hand jewellery that cannot be adequately sanitised during periods in which food is manipulated by hand. If such hand jewellery cannot be removed, it may be covered by material which can be maintained in an intact, clean, and sanitary condition and which effectively protects against the contamination by these objects of the food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials;
- If gloves are worn by the food handlers, they should be intact and clean. Regular changing of gloves is paramount. The gloves should be made from an impermeable food grade material;
- Wearing, where appropriate, in an effective manner, hair nets, headbands, caps, beard covers, or other effective hair restraints and storing clothing or other personal belongings in areas other than where food is exposed or where equipment or utensils are washed;
- Confining the following to areas other than where food may be exposed or where equipment or utensils are washed: eating food, chewing gum, drinking beverages, or using tobacco;
- Taking any other necessary precautions to protect against contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials with micro-organisms or foreign substances including, but not limited to, perspiration, hair, cosmetics, tobacco, chemicals, and medications applied to the skin.

Education and Training
Personnel responsible for identifying sanitation failures or food contamination should have a background of education or experience, or a combination thereof, to provide a level of competency necessary for production of clean and safe food. Food handlers and supervisors should receive appropriate training in proper food handling techniques and food-protection principles and should be informed of the danger of poor personal hygiene and unsanitary practices.

Supervision
Responsibility for assuring compliance by all personnel with all requirements of supervision should be clearly assigned to competent supervisory personnel.

Premises Grounds
The grounds about a food business under the control of the operator should be kept in a condition that will protect against the contamination of food.

Methods for adequate maintenance of grounds include, but are not limited to:
- Properly storing equipment, removing litter and waste, and cutting weeds or grass within the immediate vicinity of the plant buildings or structures that may constitute an attractant, breeding place, or harbourage for pests;
- Maintaining roads, yards, and parking lots so that they do not constitute a source of contamination in areas where food is exposed;
- Adequately draining areas that may contribute contamination to food by seepage, foot-borne filth, or providing a breeding place for pests;
- Operating systems for waste treatment and disposal in an adequate manner so that they do not constitute a source of contamination in areas where food is exposed.

If the food business’ grounds are bordered by grounds not under the operator’s control and not maintained in the designated manner, care should be exercised in the plant by inspection, extermination, or other means to exclude pests, dirt, and filth that may be a source of food contamination.

Premises Construction and Design
Plant buildings and structures should be suitable in size, construction, and design to facilitate maintenance and sanitary operations for food-manufacturing purposes.

The plant and facilities should:
- Provide adequate ventilation or control equipment to minimise odours and vapours including steam and noxious fumes in areas where they may contaminate food; and locate and operate fans and other air-blowing equipment in a manner that minimises the potential for contaminating food, food packaging materials, and food contact surfaces;
- Provide, where necessary, adequate screening or other protection against pests;
- Provide sufficient space for such placement of equipment and storage of materials as is necessary for the maintenance of sanitary operations and the production of safe food;
- Permit the taking of proper precautions to reduce the potential for contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials with micro-organisms, chemicals, physical contaminants, or other extraneous material. The potential for contamination may be reduced by adequate food safety controls and operating practices or effective design, including the separation of operations in which contamination is likely to occur, by one or more of the following means:
- Location;
- Time;
- Partition;
- Air flow;
- Enclosed systems; or
- Other effective means;
- Be constructed in such a manner that floors, walls, and ceilings may be adequately cleaned and kept clean and in good repair; that drip or condensate from fixtures, ducts and pipes does not contaminate food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials; and that aisles or working spaces are provided between equipment and walls and are adequately unobstructed and of adequate width to permit employees to perform their duties and to protect against contaminating food or food-contact surfaces with clothing or personal contact;
- Provide adequate lighting in hand-washing areas, dressing and locker rooms, and toilet rooms and in all areas where food is examined, processed, or stored and where equipment or utensils are cleaned; and provide safety type light bulbs, fixtures, skylights, or other glass suspended over exposed food in any step of preparation or otherwise protect against food contamination in case of glass breakage.
- Food-manufacturing areas and equipment used for manufacturing human food should not be used to manufacture non-human food-grade animal feed or inedible products, unless there is no reasonable possibility for the contamination of the human food.

General Maintenance
Buildings, fixtures, and other physical facilities of the plant should be maintained in a sanitary condition and should be kept in repair sufficient to prevent food from becoming adulterated. Cleaning and sanitising of utensils and equipment should be conducted in a manner that protects against contamination of food, food contact surfaces, or food packaging materials.

Cleaning and sanitising chemicals and equipment used in cleaning and sanitising procedures should be free from undesirable micro-organisms and should be safe and adequate under the conditions of use. Compliance with this requirement may be verified by any effective means including purchase of these substances under a supplier’s guarantee or certification and examination of these substances for contamination.

The following necessary and appropriately certified toxic materials may be used or stored in a facility where food is processed or exposed:
- Those required to maintain clean and sanitary conditions;
- Those necessary for use in laboratory testing procedures;
- Those necessary for plant and equipment maintenance and operation; and
- Those necessary for use in the plant’s operations.

Toxic cleaning compounds, sanitising agents, and pesticide chemicals should be identified, held, and stored in a manner that protects against contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials. All relevant regulations formed by National, State, and Local government agencies for the application, use, or holding of these products should be followed.

Pest Control
No animals should be allowed in any area of a food business with the acceptance of assistance animals. Guard or assistance dogs, for example, may be allowed in some areas of a plant if the presence of the dogs is unlikely to result in contamination of food, food-contact surfaces, or food-packaging materials. Effective measures should be taken to exclude pests from the processing areas and to protect against the contamination of food on the premises by pests. The use of insecticides or rodenticides is permitted only under precautions and restrictions that will protect against the contamination of food, food contact surfaces, and food packaging materials. In general terms, toxic pest control baits are normally laid externally and non-toxic baits for monitoring purposes are laid in the food processing and storage areas.

Food Contact Surfaces
All food contact surfaces, including utensils and food contact surfaces of equipment, should be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food.

Surfaces and materials, in particular those in contact with food, should be non-toxic, suitably durable, and easy to maintain and clean. When selecting equipment and utensils for a commercial food manufacturing facility, stainless steel is the most favoured material for these items, favoured for its durability and easiness to clean. Wood tends to be avoided where possible due to its nature of harbouring bacteria and tenancy to chip and splinter posing the potential risk of physical contamination to the product.  Seams on food-contact surfaces should be smoothly bonded or maintained so as to minimise accumulation of food particles, dirt, and organic matter and thus minimise the opportunity for growth of micro-organisms.

Food contact surfaces used for manufacturing or holding low-moisture food should be in a dry, sanitary condition at the time of use. When the surfaces are wet-cleaned, they should, when necessary, be sanitised and thoroughly dried before subsequent use. Non-food-contact surfaces of equipment used in the operation of food plants should be cleaned as frequently as necessary to protect against contamination of food.

In wet processing areas, when cleaning is necessary to protect against the introduction of micro-organisms into food, all food-contact surfaces should be cleaned and sanitised before use and after any situation during which the food-contact surfaces may have become contaminated. Where equipment and utensils are used in a continuous production operation, the utensils and food-contact surfaces of the equipment must be cleaned and sanitised as necessary.

Single-service articles such as utensils intended for one-time use, paper cups, and paper towels should be stored in appropriate containers and should be handled, dispensed, used, and disposed of in a manner that protects against contamination of food or food-contact surfaces.

Sanitising agents should be adequate and safe under conditions of use. Any facility, procedure, or machine is acceptable for cleaning and sanitising equipment and utensils if it is established that the facility, procedure, or machine will routinely render equipment and utensils clean and provide adequate cleaning and sanitising treatment.

Equipment and fittings in the manufacturing or food-handling area that do not come into contact with food should be so constructed that they can be kept in a clean condition. Holding, conveying, and manufacturing systems, including gravimetric, pneumatic, closed, and automated systems, should also be designed and constructed in such a way that enables them to be maintained in an appropriate sanitary condition.

Storage and Handling of Equipment and Utensils
Cleaned and sanitised equipment and utensils should be stored in a location and manner that protects food-contact surfaces from contamination, for example, hanging, shelved food contact side down, wrapped or covered. 

Each freezer and cold storage compartment used to store food capable of supporting growth of micro-organisms should be fitted with an indicating thermometer, temperature-measuring device, or temperature-recording device for monitoring purposes.

Instruments and controls used for measuring, regulating, or recording temperatures, pH, acidity, water activity, or other conditions that control or prevent the growth of undesirable micro-organisms in food should be accurate and adequate in number for their designated uses.

Compressed air or other gases mechanically introduced into food or used to clean food-contact surfaces or equipment should be treated in such a way that food is not contaminated with unlawful indirect food additives.

Dropped Product
It is important to define the requirements for any instance in which product is dropped, and contacts any non-food contact surface. A dropped product policy may include corrective actions for:
- Dropped raw materials and packaging;
- Dropped processed product;
- Dropped packaged product.

Consideration should not only be given to the potential for physical, biological and chemical contamination of dropped product, but also for damage to the product which affects the quality of the product made available to consumers.

Raw Materials and Ingredients
Raw materials and ingredients should be inspected and segregated or otherwise handled as necessary to ascertain that they are clean and suitable for processing into food and should be stored under conditions that will protect against contamination and minimise deterioration. Raw materials should be washed or cleaned as necessary to remove soil or other contamination. Water used for washing, rinsing, or conveying food should be safe and of adequate sanitary quality. Water may be reused for washing, rinsing, or conveying food if it does not increase the level of contamination of the food. Containers and carriers of raw materials should be inspected on receipt to ensure that their condition has not contributed to the contamination or deterioration of food.

Raw materials and other ingredients should either not contain levels of micro-organisms that may produce food poisoning or other disease in humans, or they should be pasteurised or otherwise treated during manufacturing operations so that they no longer contain levels that would cause the product to be adulterated within the meaning of the relevant food legislation. Compliance with this requirement may be verified by any effective means, including purchasing raw materials and other ingredients under a supplier’s guarantee or certification.

Raw materials and other ingredients susceptible to contamination with aflatoxin or other natural toxins should comply with current food regulations, and action levels for poisonous or deleterious substances before these materials or ingredients are incorporated into finished food. Compliance with this requirement may be accomplished by purchasing raw materials and other ingredients under a supplier’s guarantee or certification, or may be verified by analysing these materials and ingredients for aflatoxin and other natural toxins.

Frozen raw materials requiring thawing prior to use should be thawed in a manner that prevents other ingredients from contaminated.

Liquid or dry raw materials and other ingredients received and stored in bulk form should be held in a manner that protects against contamination. Often items such as bulk grain, flour and oils are kept in silos external to the facility.  In these instances, consideration to product security should also be given.

When ice is used in contact with food or as an ingredient, it should be made from water that is safe and of adequate sanitary quality.

Food Packaging and Storage
Packaging and storage of food should be conducted under such conditions and controls as are necessary to minimise the potential for the growth of micro-organisms, or for the contamination of food. One way to comply with this requirement is careful monitoring of physical factors such as time, temperature, humidity, water activity, pH, pressure, flow rate, and manufacturing operations such as freezing, dehydration, heat processing, acidification, and refrigeration to ensure that mechanical breakdowns, time delays, temperature fluctuations, and other factors do not contribute to the decomposition or contamination of food. Compliance with this requirement may be accomplished by any effective means, including:
- Maintaining refrigerated foods at 5 Degrees Celsius or 40 Degrees Fahrenheit or below as appropriate for the particular food involved, frozen foods in a frozen state at -18 Degrees Celsius or 0 Degrees Fahrenheit and hot foods at 60 Degrees Celsius or 140 Degrees Fahrenheit or above. Work-in-progress should also be handled in a manner that protects against contamination;
- Heat treating or acidifying foods to destroy microorganisms when such foods are to be held in hermetically sealed containers at ambient temperatures;
- Measures such as sterilising, irradiating, pasteurising, controlling pH or water activity that are taken to destroy or prevent the growth of undesirable micro-organisms, should be adequate under the conditions of manufacture, handling, and distribution to prevent food from being adulterated within the meaning of appropriate food legislation;
- Use of sieves, traps, magnets, electronic metal detectors, or X-ray machines;
- Food, raw materials, and other ingredients that are adulterated within the meaning of the appropriate food legislation should be disposed of in a manner that protects against the contamination of other food. If the adulterated food is capable of being reconditioned, it should be reconditioned using a method that has been proven to be effective or it should be re-examined and found not to be adulterated within the meaning of the relevant food legislation before being incorporated into other food;
- Heat blanching, should be effected by heating the food to the required temperature, holding it at this temperature for the required time, and then either rapidly cooling the food or passing it to subsequent manufacturing without delay. Thermophilic growth and contamination in blanchers should be minimised by the use of adequate operating temperatures and by periodic cleaning. Using adequate time and temperature control when cooling;
- Providing adequate physical protection of components from contaminants that may drip, drain, or be drawn into.

Filling, assembling, packaging, and other operations should be performed in such a way that the food is protected against contamination. Compliance with this requirement may be accomplished by any effective means, including:
- Use of a quality control operation in which the critical control points are identified and controlled during manufacturing;
- Adequate cleaning and sanitising of all food contact surfaces and food containers;
- Using materials for food containers and food packaging materials that are safe and suitable, as defined in food packaging legislation;
- Providing physical protection from contamination, particularly airborne contamination and using sanitary handling procedures.

Food such as, but not limited to, dry mixes, nuts, intermediate moisture food and dehydrated food, that relies on the control of water activity for preventing the growth of undesirable micro-organisms should be processed to and maintained at a safe moisture level. Compliance with this requirement may be accomplished by:
- Monitoring the water activity of food, and protecting finished food from moisture pickup, by use of a moisture barrier or by other means, so that the water activity of the food does not increase to an unsafe level.

Acidified food, that relies principally on the control of pH for preventing the growth of undesirable micro-organisms should be monitored and maintained at a pH of 4.6 or below. Compliance with this requirement may be accomplished by:
- Monitoring the pH of raw materials, food in process, and finished food and controlling the amount of acid added.

Cross Contamination
Cross contamination can occur when pathogenic micro-organisms are transferred from one food of food contact surface to another, carried by utensils, hands or other foods. Another form of cross contamination involves allergens, and usually occurs due to improper cleaning between production runs; this is more commonly known as Cross Contact for Allergens. Cross contamination can be controlled within the food processing environment through effective and adequate cleaning and sanitising procedures, along with staff participation in procedures implemented to reduce its occurrence. Controlling cross contamination is critical where raw and ready to eat products are being prepared, and certain activities can minimise and eliminate its potential.

Signage
Signage is commonly used within all food industry sectors to promote food safety and quality, as well as occupational health and safety. It is important that signage is appropriately constructed and fitted, so as not to become a food hazard. It is generally accepted that signage should be constructed of flexible, waterproof and cleaning chemical resistant materials. This excludes hard or brittle substances such as rigid plastic or perspex, which may potentially enter foods as physical hazards.

When signage is referenced to procedures, policies, or other components of the documented food safety and quality systems, references should be made to the content of such. The relevant signage should be included within a register, for example, the document register, to ensure that the signage is amended whenever the associated policies or procedures are amended.

If your food business supplies foodstuffs manufactured to a customer’s specifications, it is important to consider any specific Good Manufacturing Practices Development requirements in relation to their items.


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