Pro-active Verification Now Key

May 2020

As food safety legislation globally seeks to change food and beverage companies mind-sets towards pro-active prevention, it can sometimes seem like the new demands placed on processors are never ending.

While internationally recognised food-safety schemes and governments seem to be competing as to who can come up with the most rigorous standards, it is important not to get overwhelmed by all of the competing clauses and over-lapping requirements, and see what is really at the heart of all these happenings.

Put very simply, everybody just wants the assurance that the food or beverage they buy is going to always be consistently safe to consume, and the publics (and consequently their governments) patience with sub-standard operators is wearing thin. While the vast majority of processors are conscientious, the minority who view food- safety as a distraction to business will slowly but surely be squeezed out by tightening legislation and more rigorous standards.

The point is, if your organisation has the right culture and mind-set towards food-safety, you will more than likely be practising most of the things that the legislation will enforce on those who don’t do so voluntarily. Things like FSSC 22000’s new unannounced audits will not cause trepidation, because you do the right thing on a daily basis, and have the evidence to prove it.

The mind-set of pro-actively looking deeply into your process to search out any overlooked factor that could jeopardise food safety, should be seen as an asset, and not something to be avoided because of the risk of finding something.

Interestingly, in figures released by Campden BRI, for all sites audited globally to BRC Standards in 2016, the number 1 reason for Non Conformance was evidence of poor cleaning. This was sited in 15.4% of sites throughout the world.

To be pro-active, you must verify that everything you say you do is actually effective at doing what you want it to do. The FSMA guidelines out of the USA are very strong on this, with all CCP’s needing thorough verification, and a glance through MPI’s proposed specifications for infant formula manufacturers, shows a similar heavy emphasis on verification, and re-verification of any process step if something changes.

Cleaning – being such a critical part of any production process, is no different. Traditional ways of verifying cleaning effectiveness include micro-sampling or ATP sampling of the food contact surface, and this is usually adequate for open-area surfaces. However, for CIP equipment, verification of cleaning is a lot more problematic, because the food contact surfaces are mostly inaccessible for sampling, and this has led to a de facto standard of measuring things like conductivity and flow rates, which are related to, but certainly not solid proof of cleaning effectiveness.

Likewise, micro or ATP samples of a CIP circuits final rinse water will give an indication of how micro-free it is or isn’t, but this can in no way guarantee that the entire circuit has this same status.

So, how do you verify that your CIP regime is truly effective? Is there a technology available that will test every single bit of my circuit and tell me how effective the clean really was?

The answer is YES – and if you are truly committed to pro-active food safety, you need to know about it!

Check out this blog, where we explain how it works and the benefits it delivers……Hyperlink to PROVE TO ME THAT YOUR PIPES ARE CLEAN!