Chemicals are extensively used by the food industry. Due to this, food businesses need to ensure that chemicals are managed so they do not become a source of food contamination. In this post, learn five (5) key areas that you should be implementing within your food business to ensure a safe and suitable food product.
1. Knowledge of your chemicals
It is impossible to manage chemicals in your food business if you do not know what you have, why you have it and what it is used for. The best way to gain an understanding is to firstly undertake a chemical audit. This will allow you to collect information that you can then build upon. Write down all of the chemicals that are present within you food premises. When you have this list documented you can then seek further information on the what and why.
2. Understand the rules / laws
In the majority of food manufacturing countries around the world, there are rules or laws that regulate what can be used in connection with the manufacture of food. Use the list that you documented in part 1 to find out what laws are applicable to each chemical.
3. Control chemical use
The majority of GFSI recognized standards have a requirement to control chemicals within your food business. This is also a fundamental component of food safety regulations. Ensure that you have control procedures documented and implemented related to the identification, storage, usage (including dilution and concentrations) and disposal of all chemicals.
4. Educate staff
All staff that handle chemicals should be adequately trained. You may also be required to have an actual certified qualification for handling certain types of chemicals.
5. Chemical management paperwork
Records and documents evidence your commitment to safe chemical handling. At a minimum, each chemical that is in use in your food business is to be accompanied by a current material data sheet (MDS). These sheets are useful in identifying the correct handling, storage and emergency spill information.
Both HACCP and FSMA require that potential chemical hazards be identified and assessed to determine their impact on the food that you produce. When you complete this process, make sure that you consider all chemicals within your food business. This includes chemicals used during cleaning, pest control, maintenance and food production. Examples of food production chemicals can include preservatives, colours, flavours and water chlorination.
A word on allergens
Keep in mind that the chemicals you use in your food business may also be a source of allergens. One the most common sources are machinery lubricants. Check the ingredient label and/or the data sheet of the chemical to identify allergenic materials. You can also contact the manufacture to confirm the allergen status.
Share your chemical use
Help to increase the knowledge of the HACCP Mentor community by sharing your thoughts and knowledge on how you manage chemicals within your food business.