A good manufacturing practices program should be the bedrock for producing safe food in your food business. If you struggle to get the basics correct, your ability to comply with HACCP or additional FSMA requirements will be a lot harder. Read on to find out my five steps to writing an effective good manufacturing practices program for your food business.
What is a Good Manufacturing Practices Program?
Before I get into the good manufacturing practices program steps, it is good to understand what is a GMP Program. Firstly, GMP stands for good manufacturing practices. A good manufacturing practices (GMP) program can therefore be defined as the collection of basic operational requirements necessary to enable a food business to produce food safely. There is a heavy emphasis on compliance with good manufacturing practices in all relevant food legislation and customer certification standards.
Components of a GMP Program
There are many components that make up a total GMP program. These can include:
- Pest control
- Cleaning & Sanitation
- Allergen Management
- Personal Health and Hygiene
- Waste Management
- Construction of facility, equipment and utensils
- Water supply and management
- Process control (eg. receival, storage, preparation, cooking, cooling, reheating, packing)
- Warehousing and distribution
- Food handler knowledge and training
How to write your GMP program
When writing a GMP program for a food business there are five (5) steps that I follow. These include research, document, implement, record and review. HACCP Mentor has many different templates available to help start the process. Here is an overview of each of these steps.
Step 1: Research
If you don’t know the rules, how do you expect to comply with them? Research what the GMP rules and laws are in both your country of manufacturing and if you are exporting, the rules in the export country. This can be as easy as googling food law <insert your preferred country>. The best website are links from food safety compliance government websites. Some examples include FDA, FSANZ, FSA-UK, EU Food Law.
Step 2: Document
The key outcome of documenting your good manufacturing practices program should be to briefly explain what the requirement is and how you are going to comply with that requirement in your food business. In a nutshell – say what you are going to do. Try and include the what, how, when, why and who aspect of the particular GMP program. It doesn’t need to be a ‘war and peace’ novel – just enough information to satisfy the requirement.
Keep in mind that there may be several requirements that sit under one GMP program component. For example, a pest control program could have requirements related to pests that you need to target, chemicals you can and cannot use, qualifications of pest contractors or frequency of pest treatments.
Step 3: Implement
The next step is to implement what you outlined in ‘Step 2: Document’. In other words – do what you say you were going to do. For example, using one of the pest control requirements from above, complete pest treatment sprays every month.
Step 4: Record
One of the major elements of conformance is to show evidence that you have done what you said you were going to do. Therefore, we need to keep records. I have previously written about requirements for food safety compliance records that you can view by clicking here.
Step 5: Review
All good manufacturing practices programs need to be reviewed on a regular basis. This ensures that your systems and compliance stay current and checks that they have been effectively implemented. Completing an internal audit on the requirements and implementation of the program is a great way to do this.
What is your view?
The above 5 steps are what I go through when putting together a GMP program for a client. Help further educate the HACCP Mentor community by sharing your process in the comments below this post.