Food verification activities form an essential and important part of your overall food safety management system. But what should be included in a verification schedule? Find out in this post the top 5 food verification activities that are a must for any food verification schedule.
HACCP Plan Review
A complete review of your HACCP Plan should be completed on a minimum annual basis. You should be looking for is to see if there have been any changes to the process, any new and emerging hazards, applicable control measures and the currency of any of your pre-requisite or support programs. You may choose to incorporate your annual HACCP plan review in with your internal audit. One thing to keep in mind however is the frequency of the review process. Some of the GFSI accredited standards require your HACCP plan to be reviewed after any change to process regardless of when it occurs.
Microbiological testing of finished product
To ensure that your product is microbiological safe, testing should be scheduled. The frequency may be dictated from audit requirements. Having a good understanding of microbiological attributes of your product should provide direction in what you should be testing for. If you are unsure, you can ask for recommendations from your external testing laboratory.
You may not think that your business will never be involved in a food product recall but think again. When dealing with any type of crisis they key is in the preparation. By completing a mock recall you are testing your response systems (including food traceability). Ideally, a mock recall activity should be scheduled annually (at a minimum).
How do you know your food labels are correct? By completing a review of them. All of the food product labels or product packaging that you put out into the market place need to be reviewed. You need to check that they – A – Comply with the law and B – Reflect your actual product, for example ingredient listing. Mislabelling of food ingredients is the main cause of product recalls, especially when it comes to allergen declarations.
Your staff can make or break you as a food business. This is why training and educating your team in food handling and company procedures is a priority. Your verification schedule should include a review of the training needs of your organisation. This involves checking to see if all staff have been trained adequately to their role and identifying refresher training.
Documenting your verification activities
I have moved all of my clients over to a live excel spreadsheet which helps me to keep track of all our verification activities. It has the built-in alert system that I explain in this video. If you want a copy of my live verification schedule, please click here for more information.
Take a moment to check your current verification schedule and see if the above verification activities have been included. Feel free to share you results or your thoughts by leaving a comment below.