December 21, 2022CMMS
Using a CMMS to Transform Your Food Safety Management System
Food safety management (FSM) refers to how companies that work with food ensure the safety of food products. Such work means eliminating any food safety hazards and preventing the spread of foodborne illnesses.
Whether it’s a nice dinner or a quick takeout, if you’re getting food from outside your home, you likely want some things to be certain. Of course, you want to get the meal you ordered, and you want to be sure it’s good.
But, perhaps most importantly, you want to know that you’re getting safe food. The last thing anyone wants is a meal that leaves you feeling sick or unhealthy. So food safety is kind of a no-brainer.
If you work with food, your FSMS will depend on the specifics of your food business: the food you make, the nature of your food manufacturing process, and the part of the food chain your company is involved in. There are also some critical FMS criteria, which we’ll get to in a second.
Importance of Creating a Food Safety Management System (FSMS)
As we just mentioned, food safety management is critical because food is fundamental to people’s lives. As a result, an effective food safety management system encompasses all stages of the food manufacturing supply chain. All parts—from very small to very large—need to be safely carried out, from handling raw materials to producing the product to the transportation and delivery of finished products.
A robust food safety management system should codify your company standards regarding production, packaging, transportation, suppliers, etc. In fact, federal, state, and food industry organizations provide most of the food safety regulatory requirements in the US.
For example, the food safety management regulation, ISO 22000, benefits food producers, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers.
In the United States, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) of the US Department of Agriculture, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) all serve essential roles in ensuring food safety.
In Canada, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is a regulatory agency dedicated to safeguarding food, plants, and animals, enhancing the “health and well-being of Canada’s people, environment and economy.” In addition to keeping us safe and healthy, adhering to CIFA regulations provides these benefits:
- Keeping customers safe in restaurants and other food establishments
- Supporting public health goals
- Garnering positive reviews for food quality, service, and customer experience
- Reducing time and cost on food recalls and customer complaints
Creating Your Food Safety Management System
As with most manufacturing, maintenance, and safety, how you run your business depends on your specific goals. However, standard food safety practices are required no matter the food manufacturer.
For example, preventing cross-contamination, or any contamination, should be #1 on every food management list.
Similarly, meeting high levels of personal hygiene, food hygiene, and pest control are vital food safety standards.
Furthermore, specific regulations are required in your food safety management system. In fact, according to ISO 22000, you need to consider six elements when implementing your system:
1. Interactive Communication
We recommend that you communicate the particulars of your FSMS to all stakeholders across your food production chain. Manufacturers, distributors, food handlers, and consumers should all know and be aware of how your company applies food safety principles. Also, make stakeholders aware of risk factors and how to manage and control food safety hazards.
Furthermore, effective communication and collaboration among all food safety team members are essential to ensure team members consistently follow food safety practices. Share information in regular meetings and training sessions and via other forms of communication, such as texts and messages, to address food safety concerns as they arise. We recommend a CMMS with an in-app chat to connect stakeholders with all links in the food safety management chain.
2. System Management
Likewise, you need to ensure that your food safety management system works. From a general management standpoint, outline your FSMS alongside the core principles of your organization.
Create workflows and communication chains to ensure that all stakeholders know what is required, what standard operating procedures are in place, and how to get the critical work of FSM done.
In this day and age, your FSMS needs to be in the cloud and automated. A robust CMMS will also provide real-time data and access to preventive maintenance, vendors, locations, and purchase orders at your fingertips.
3. Prerequisite Programs
ISO 9001 defines prerequisite programs as fundamental company practices you must meet alongside your FSMS. ISO’s quality management principles include good manufacturing practices (GMP), good agricultural practices (GAP), and good hygienic practices (GHP).
This standard is based on several quality management principles, including a strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management, the process approach, and continual improvement. Adhering to ISO 9001 helps ensure customers can expect consistent, good-quality products and services.
4. HACCP Plan and Principles
According to the FDA, “HACCP is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement, and handling, to manufacturing, distribution, and consumption of the finished product.” According to the FDA, HACCP is based on the following seven principles:
Principle 1: Conduct a hazard analysis.
Principle 2: Determine the critical control points (CCPs).
Principle 3: Establish critical limits.
Principle 4: Establish monitoring procedures.
Principle 5: Establish corrective actions.
Principle 6: Establish verification procedures.
Principle 7: Establish recordkeeping and documentation procedures.
Critical control points (CCP) are steps in the food production process when you can apply preventative measures to prevent, reduce or eliminate a food safety hazard, such as bacterial growth or chemical contamination. CCPs exist at every stage of the process, from purchasing ingredients to the moment the product is consumed. We recommend using a CMMS to manage these principles. For example, implementing preventive food safety procedures that connect inventory with vendors allows for traceability if vendors deliver sub-standard or unsafe raw foods.
5. Policies and Procedures
Your company’s entire food safety management system should clearly define all policies and procedures that outline how employees maintain food safety at every stage of the food production process. For example, the CDC Food Service Guidelines (FSG) Policy Wheel defines seven core elements of a comprehensive FSG policy. The term “FSG policy” can include a variety of formal written agreements that prioritize good nutrition and health within any food service operation. The seven core elements include Nutrition, Behavioral Design, Facility Efficiency, Food Safety, Compliance, Vendor Reporting, and Roles & Responsibilities.
Documentation and record keeping are essential to demonstrate compliance with food safety regulations and track and analyze food safety trends. Recordkeeping can include training records, inspections, and any corrective actions you take. For this reason, we recommend a CMMS with key performance indicator (KPI) reporting features. You want your CMMS to report in real-time what equipment is running safely and effectively, which vendors deliver products on time, and be able to produce food safety audits and inspection histories when asked.
6. Training and Education
All food handling staff need proper training and education in food safety practices. Training should include food safety policies and procedures, hazard identification and control, personal hygiene, and other relevant topics. For example, NY State’s Food Safety training can benefit your business in several ways, including:
- Helping to prevent your customers from becoming ill from consuming food your business sells.
- Helping to protect your business from the negative impacts linked to a foodborne illness outbreak or unsanitary conditions. Negative impacts may include legal actions, news reports, and loss of customers.
- Providing you and your workers with up-to-date information on food laws and regulations that will assist you in passing regulatory inspections.
- Helping you maintain a clean food establishment, essential to maintaining high customer satisfaction and loyalty.
Creating procedures and checklists in your CMMS allows you to attach training materials and guidelines to SOPs.
Integrating MaintainX into Your FSMS
If you’re looking to create a food safety management system, we recommend integrating a CMMS to, among many other benefits, stay in regulatory compliance, track your progress, and facilitate communication. In addition, as we’ve just said, a CMMS like MaintainX can help keep your FSMS on track and scale up as your company grows.