Safer Processing of Fresh-cut Produce Part 1A Laws and Regs

federal state and local agencies share responsibility for ensuring that food processors follow food safety laws the goal of all of these laws is to protect the public by ensuring that food processors produce safe food there are a number of tools available to help fresh-cut processors comply with the law and help minimize hazards associated with processing fresh cut fruits and vegetables these tools include regulations and government guidance as well as voluntary programs developed by the fresh-cut industry in this segment we will discuss requirements and voluntary guidelines we will clarify and define many of the terms and definitions of these laws and regulations each tool is identified in this table as a law or regulation a guideline or a voluntary program laws and regulations are legal requirements that must be followed government guidelines are recommendations often suggesting the best way to comply with laws and regulations voluntary programs as the name implies are completely voluntary in many cases voluntary programs are developed by food industry associations to provide guidance for their members while government guidelines and voluntary programs are not requirements they should be carefully considered as they are excellent sources of information on how to implement food safety programs and they often provide reliable direction on how to comply with legal requirements local state and federal public health agencies may inspect fresh cut processing facilities federal agencies such as the FDA have jurisdiction over products and interstate commerce that is products that move or have moved across state lines state agencies have jurisdiction over produce produced distributed and consumed in the States state regulators may adopt federal requirements as their own state laws some states may adopt requirements that must be met in addition to federal requirements fresh-cut produce operations must comply with all existing state and federal laws and regulations that apply to food establishments the first of these laws is the federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act which is sometimes ferred to as the FD&C act or simply the act the ACT fits into the table under laws and regulations the act is one of the main legal authorities for food inspection in the United States the act was enacted to protect public health the Act prohibits the interstate shipment of adulterated food which includes any food containing a pathogen an organism that can cause disease such as salmonella E coli o157 h7 or any other harmful substance foods that are spoiled or that are prepared using spoiled food or foods that are contaminated by insects rodents or other types of Filth are also considered to be adulterated high-quality food prepared or stored under in sanitary conditions such as a dirty environment or handled by workers with poor personal hygiene is also adulterated when food is adulterated regulatory agencies have procedures that they follow in some cases they may ask the firm to voluntarily correct the problem sometimes the agency may send a warning letter to the firm in other cases the adulterated food may be removed from commerce through the courts finally in serious cases the regulators may file an injunction to stop the firm from producing adulterated food or they may initiate a criminal prosecution of the responsible persons typically the manager and owner of the firm good manufacturing practices or gmps our regulations that describe how food processing plants should be designed and run to ensure food safety they will be placed in the table in the laws and regulations section GMP regulations for food production and storage facilities can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations title 21 part 110 current good manufacturing practice in manufacturing packing or holding human food the GM PS were designed to ensure that processed food is produced under conditions that meet minimum food safety standards the standards were developed with input from the public including the food industry a copy of the current good manufacturing practice in manufacturing packing or holding human food regulation can be obtained by ordering from the US fax watch at 120 25 12 17 16 or downloading from the FDA website at ww fda gov one section of the gmps describes the requirements for the education and training of personnel this section emphasizes the need for adequate employee training in proper food handling and food protection it states that the responsibility for ensuring adequate training of employees should be assigned to competent supervisory personnel supervisors and managers are also responsible for ensuring that employees adhere to all of the requirements of the Good Manufacturing Practices another section of the gmps entitled plant and grounds covers facility construction and design the plant and grounds section includes specific requirements for the layout of the facility these requirements describe the measures necessary to provide adequate separation of raw materials from finished product the design and layout of the facility is important to help prevent cross-contamination of food and food contact surfaces or packaging material general maintenance and pest control is discussed in the sanitary operations section of the gmps this section outlines proper sanitation of food contact surfaces and proper storage of cleaning materials cleaned equipment and utensils water supply plumbing sewage disposal toilet facilities rubbish disposal and hand-washing facilities are discussed in the sanitary facilities and controls section the equipment and utensils section states that all equipment should be designed and constructed so it is durable and easily cleanable food contact surfaces should be smooth non-porous non-toxic and should not contribute OPP odors or colors corrosion resistant materials should be used in construction because rust and pitted surfaces are difficult to clean and allow for growth of microorganisms seam should be smooth and free of cracks and crevices all equipment should be properly cleaned and maintained examples of acceptable equipment materials include some types of stainless steel various plastics and laminates some types of stainless steel can't corrode stainless steel that can corrode is not acceptable for fresh-cut facilities it is very important that equipment and utensils be constructed of food grade materials so as not to create a health hazard to consumers not all items found in general hardware stores or variety stores are recognized food grade materials if uncertain contact the NSF international at one eight hundred NSF m.a.r.k to verify whether or not a material is considered food grade utensils used in food production should meet the same criteria used for equipment all equipment and utensils should be cleaned and sanitized daily or more frequently as needed to avoid product contamination information on cleaning and sanitation techniques for food contact surfaces equipment and utensils is provided later in this video the processes and control section of the GM PS covers all operations in a food processing facility this section specifies that all operations in the receiving inspecting transporting segregating preparing manufacturing packaging and storing of food should be conducted in accordance with adequate sanitation principles the companies should use appropriate quality control to ensure that the food packaging materials they use are both suitable and safe and that the food is suitable for human consumption this is only a brief outline of the good manufacturing practices that are required for processed food gmps can be useful in helping fresh-cut processors control their process and minimize microbial chemical and physical hazards during all stages of the processing operation in addition some states including California have incorporated the GMP regulations into the State Health and Safety codes making them requirements for all food produced in the state prerequisite programs is the term used you

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