If you’re running a food business, you should know how important food safety is. It is critical to keep your customers safe, but it’s also required by law in many jurisdictions. That’s where a food safety management system comes in handy.
A food safety management system helps manage and enforce food safety, ensuring all your food meets quality and safety standards. You won’t have to deal with issues like customer complaints or legal disputes.
This article will discuss what FSMS is and why it’s so important for food businesses. So, if you want to know how you can improve your food safety standards, continue reading!
What is FSMS About?
Food safety management system (or FSMS for short) is a process that food businesses use to ensure that their food is safe and meets quality standards. It’s a controlled process of managing food safety to ensure that all the food a restaurant produces is up to quality standards, which indicates that it’s safe to consume.
The FSMS considers every step of food production; from receiving supplies to shipping out finished products. That means there must be a defined process for every activity and function related to food safety.
In other words, the FSMS helps food businesses create a food safety plan and outlines what procedures need to be followed to ensure food safety. In addition, FSMS should also follow the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP).
It’s the responsibility of each organization to form key procedures based on this principle. An FSMS is also a requirement by law for restaurant and food businesses to comply with food safety regulations.
Why is FSMS important?
A Food Safety Management System is a requirement for the following laws and regulations:
- FDA’s Food and Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)
- ISO 22000
- BRC Global Standard
It also gives assurance to food manufacturers that food management is effective and safe, as well as suppliers and staff. FSMS also guarantees that every potential risk has been planned and thought through.
For example, if you’re planning to sell chocolate chip cookies, having an FSMS guides you in managing every aspect of creating your product. This could include the following items:
- Sourcing quality ingredients.
- Sourcing suitable packaging material.
- Highlighting potential allergens and possible exposure to these allergens.
- Complete details of your supplier’s credentials, including relevant health and safety inspections.
- Ensuring the method is broken down into smaller steps to produce a consistent product every time.
These are some things you might need to apply the HACCP principles and make sure your FSMS works. Keep in mind that the procedures and tasks you put in place will vary from one business to another as it will largely depend on your organization’s type, size, and scale.
5 Key Elements of Food Safety Management System
According to ISO 22000, there are five key elements in a food safety management system. They are:
- HACCP Principles: As discussed, HACCP is a food safety management system that identifies and controls food safety hazards.
- Prerequisite Programs: These are the food safety programs that need to be in place before implementing HACCP.
- Hazard Analysis: This process identifies food safety hazards.
- System Management: This process is all about putting food safety procedures in place and making sure they are followed.
- Interactive Communication: This process is all about communicating food safety information between different parts of the food supply chain.
5 Steps of Food Safety Management System
If you want to implement a food safety management system in your restaurant, here are the five steps that you need to take:
Step 1: Identify Needs, Scope, and Objectives
Before you start a food safety management system, you need to ask a lot of “Whys” (e.g., “Why does this food safety hazard exist?”, “Why is this food safety hazard a problem?”).
These questions will help you identify your FSMS needs, scope, and objective. Here are some useful questions that will help you get started:
- What food safety hazards do you usually encounter in your restaurant?
- Which of the food safety hazard will most likely cause food poisoning?
- What are the consequences of not implementing a food safety management system in your restaurant?
- What food hazard issues have your customers been complaining about?
- Has the food business experienced any incidents or dealt with cases of food-related illnesses?
Step 2: Develop Food Safety Policies and Procedures
In the context of FSMS, a food safety policy is a statement that provides the overall direction for your food safety program. On the other hand, food safety procedures are specific actions that need to be taken to implement the food safety policy.
The policy you make should contain certain procedures for when:
- A customer files a complaint, especially if it’s for a legal action.
- An incident or outbreak of foodborne illness occurs, and it’s related to the food business.
- Food has been regarded as unsafe through internal or external (third-party) audits, testing, inspections, reviews, and other assessments.
- Food has officially been declared unsafe by a credible authority (e.g., local health council, natural agency) and must be recalled/withdrawn.
Step 3: Create a Hazard Control Plan
For every food-related product you release or sell, you should create a hazard control plan that includes the following:
- A complete description of the food.
- Characteristics and qualities of raw materials, product materials, and ingredients.
- Intended use and target consumers (if the food your product caters to a specific nutritional goal or preference and its target consumers is vulnerable to adverse health risks).
- Procedures involved in the preparation, processing, distribution, and handling of food.
- The recommended levels and limits of hazards.
- Hazards associated with the food and their corresponding risks.
- Actions to take when food hazards have exceeded their limits.
- Control measures to make sure hazards stay within required levels.
Step 4: Follow Prerequisite Programs
Examples of prerequisite programs include Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Hygienic Practices (GHP), and Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
To follow and execute the GMP prerequisite program, you must create standard operating procedures. You should also conduct regular GMP audits.
For the GHP prerequisite program, you will need to observe the cleanliness of the facility and equipment. You should also enforce regular sanitation and personal hygiene among your staff.
For the GAP prerequisite program, you will need to assess their site history to monitor the storage and handling of produce. You will also need to assess your site history to identify contamination risks.
Step 5: Measure the Effectiveness of the FSMS
Finally, you will need to measure the effectiveness of the food safety management system to ensure that it’s working as intended. You can do this by conducting food safety audits and inspections and collecting customer feedback.
You should also keep track of food safety incidents and complaints to see if there’s a trend you need to address. By regularly measuring the effectiveness of your FSMS, you can make sure that your food business is running safely and smoothly.
Why Use DataMyte
The DataMyte Digital Clipboard is a workflow automation software that offers a variety of solutions to help you develop a Food Safety Management System. From food safety audits to food tracing, DataMyte can help you streamline your food safety processes and make sure that your food business is running safely and efficiently.
Our workflow builder will help you create a comprehensive Food Safety Management System that you and your staff can follow easily. You can also use this workflow to make sure your food business complies with food safety regulations and standards.
If you’re looking for a comprehensive solution to help you develop and implement a food safety management system, look no further than DataMyte! Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you develop a food safety management system that meets your needs.
If you work with food, it’s critical to have a food safety management system in place. You can be sure that your food business is running safely and efficiently with it. If you’re having trouble getting started, use this article as a reference and take advantage of what DataMyte Digital Clipboard can offer for your needs.