Produced by the Workforce Produce Safety Solutions Group of OpX Leadership Network, ‘Spotlight on Baking’ is directed at companies producing ready-to-eat baked goods that need assistance with validation activities. The guideline is a follow-on of its more comprehensive publication, ‘Validating the Reduction of Salmonella and Other Pathogens in Heat Processed Low-Moisture Foods’ published in 2012.
“This continuing effort from the diverse members of the OpX Leadership Network strives to simplify complex processes and openly share food safety information that may not otherwise be readily available,” said Lisa A. Lucore, PhD, senior food safety technical partner, Kellogg Company.
Don’t be misled
The control of Salmonella in low-moisture foods and their production environments represents a significant challenge for food manufacturers, say researchers. According to a 2014 report published in Frontiers in Microbiology, bacteria are able to survive in most environments, so it’s erroneous to believe these foods to be low risk.
“This misconception can lead to manufacturers releasing unsafe products and also inappropriate preparation practices that can render the product unsafe for consumption due to microbial proliferation,” said the authors. Examples of products naturally low in moisture include nuts, cereals and honey.
Attain the acceptable standard
As such, food manufacturers have to justify their production processes reduce or eliminate pathogens through validation and verification. But these aren’t simple processes – requiring science-based evidence and measurements to affirm that minimum acceptable standards have been achieved – and could cause companies to get caught in a quagmire.
‘Spotlight on Baking’ provides an easy-to-follow series of checklists for operations, sanitation, maintenance, quality and food safety employees to use in the validation process. It’s available for free download online.