Food Safety Monitoring | 4 mins read

Maintaining Restaurant Awareness with Food Safety Monitoring

maintaining restaurant awareness with food safety monitoring
Dakota Sheetz

By Dakota Sheetz

Food Safety Monitoring and It's Importance for Business Success

Food industry professionals are aware of how crucial safe, high-quality food is in running a successful restaurant. Food safety monitoring is the mechanism that routinely checks for safety hazards, manages compliance adherence, and ensures procedures are being correctly implemented.

This mechanism is essential to understanding the safeness of our food in our food production and food supply. This type of monitoring is represented globally in legislation and standards that address food quality.

The benefits of implementing monitoring solutions include data collection efficiency, compliance assistance, help identifying dangers, and reduction of the potential for human error.

Safety monitoring covers a wide array of topics, ranging from food handling to product storage. For example, the system would alert employees when storage temperatures fall outside of their safe operating zone so that corrective actions can be undertaken. Diligent monitoring helps food industry professionals identify potential issues and concerns in regards to the quality and safety of their food products.

What Systems are Available?

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There are various systems available to assist with food safety monitoring. The most efficient and comprehensive monitoring is Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls (HARPC) compliant. HARCP represents substantial new regulation requirements that include unprecedented coverage of all food supply chains, both domestic and imported.

The acronym of HARPC provides insight into its most important provisions. The HA stands for Hazard Analysis, addressing the core of the law by identifying hazards resulting from specific foods, ingredients in the food, or due to various processes applied to the foods.

These processes include manufacturing, holding steps, and packaging. The RPC stands for Risk-based Preventive Controls, which require companies to create and implement risk-based controls to mitigate identified hazards that could occur during the manufacturing, processing, holding, and distribution of food.

HARCP requires food manufacturers, processors, packers, and storage facilities to adhere to the following standards-

  • Identify safety hazards in both their product and processes
  • Implement controls to mitigate hazards
  • Verify the effectiveness of implemented controls
  • Create and enforce corrective actions to address deviations from implemented controls that might arise in a food safety plan
Unless you have a very small business, you likely already have a HARPC program. As a result, you are probably familiar with the monitoring of critical control points (CCP). Examples of CCPs range from staff food hygiene training to sanitation processes.

Food industry professionals need to implement checks or observational guidelines for good manufacturing practice (GMP) or prerequisite programs. For example, storing food products separately to ensure compliance with a policy put in place to avoid cross-contamination of allergenic food products with non-allergenic food products.

Your HARPC plan must always comply with FDA standards and definitions surrounding hazards, controls, facilities, and adulteration of foods. Document all plan aspects, remembering to consistently review and maintain verification steps.

Establishing a HARPC compliant plan that is diligently enforced, updated, and documented will allow your business to produce documentation to the FDA upon request or inspection. By ensuring potential safety hazards are under control, restaurants will be preventing food outbreaks and foodborne illnesses.

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How to Ensure Creation of a Thorough Plan

There are multiple components necessary to develop and implement a successful monitoring system in your restaurant, including-

  • Who- Designate a person or position responsible for monitoring in addition to backup persons or positions in case the designated person is not available.
  • What- Describe in detail what will be monitored.
  • Where- Indicate the location or point in the food process where monitoring will occur.
  • When- Indicate when the monitoring is to occur, also known as the frequency, using terminology such as hourly, or after cleaning.
  • How- Inform how the monitoring will be performed through written procedures. This allows everyone involved in the monitoring process to uniformly complete the task.
  • Record- Record names of people who participate in the monitoring process, ensuring these records are available should you need to provide evidence that the monitoring occurred. It is helpful to include this information in one accessible document, such as an excel spreadsheet for simplicity and efficiency.
Make sure that your staff is aware of the correct way to perform these monitoring tasks by implementing food safety training. There are on-the-job practicals, group, and online food safety training instructions available.

Conclusion

  • HARCP compliant programs ensure that your restaurant is adhering to safety standards and that your food products are suitable for consumption through routinely checking for safety hazards, managing compliance, and ensuring procedures are correctly implemented.
  • These monitoring programs are represented in legislation around the world.
  • The benefits of implementing monitoring solutions include easier information collection, comprehensive data reports, compliance assistance, help identifying dangers, and reduction of the potential for human error.
  • There are various systems available to assist with monitoring.
  • There are multiple components necessary to develop and implement a successful monitoring system in your restaurant, including designating who, what, where, when, and how monitoring will occur and be recorded.

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