The 2020 Issue of Codex Alimentari: General Principles of Food Hygiene

Since 1962, the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) of the Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation has been responsible for developing standards, guidelines and other recommendations on the quality and safety of food to protect the health of consumers and to ensure fair practices in food trade.

The Commission’s principle is that people have the right to expect the food that they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. Foodborne illness and foodborne injury can be severe or fatal or have a negative impact on human health over the longer term. Furthermore, outbreaks of foodborne illness can damage trade and tourism. Food spoilage is wasteful, costly, threatens food security and can adversely affect trade and consumer confidence.

The 2020 issue highlights that management commitment is fundamental to the successful functioning of any food hygiene system. This commitment contributes to the establishment and maintenance of a positive food safety culture and acknowledges the importance of human behaviour in providing safe and suitable food.

It states that the following elements are important in cultivating a positive food safety culture:

 · Commitment of the management and all personnel to the production and handling of safe food;

· Leadership to set the right direction and to engage all personnel in food safety practices;

· Awareness of the importance of food hygiene by all personnel in the food business;

· Open and clear communication among all personnel in the food business, including communication of deviations and expectations; and

 · The availability of sufficient resources to ensure the effective functioning of the food hygiene system.

 Furthermore that management should ensure the effectiveness of the food hygiene systems in place by:

 · Ensuring that roles, responsibilities, and authorities are clearly communicated in the food business;

· Maintaining the integrity of the food hygiene system when changes are planned and implemented;

· Verifying that controls are carried out and working and that documentation is up to date;

· Ensuring that the appropriate training and supervision are in place for personnel;

· Ensuring compliance with relevant regulatory requirements; and

· Encouraging continual improvement, where appropriate, taking into account developments in science, technology and best practice.

Quality and Food Safety

  • Robust food safety plans and systems reflect in freshness and taste so that that products are meeting the expectations of customers
  • Temperature controls affect the level of spoilage bacteria and thus increases shelf life from your deliveries through to your finished product.
  • Standard Operating Procedures reduces food error/malpractice giving you efficiency, consistency and profitability.

Management and Supervision

  • Following your HACCP plan gives your staff a road map to do the right thing, so they can doing things right
  • Monitoring procedures, visual and written, enables your supervisory level to organise and direct staff to get it right first time, every time

The Food Environment

  • Hygienic premises, the highest standards of personal hygiene and clean and organised food rooms promote good working conditions, higher staff moral and lowers staff turnover.

Continuous Improvement

  • Food pathogens and the foods causing food poisoning are changing and evolving, this means food safety practices need to be constantly reviewed and updated to ensure compliance with appropriate laws and regulations.

Food Safety Magazine:– A report published in the November edition evaluated trends in food preparation practices and employee behaviours that contribute to foodborne illness outbreaks in the retail setting.

The study delves into the relationship between food safety management systems, certified food protection managers, and the occurrence of risk factors and food safety behaviours/practices commonly associated with foodborne illness in restaurants.

The data showed there remains a need to gain better control over employee handwashing and proper temperature control of foods that require refrigeration (cold holding of foods) and the need to have a certified food safety supervisor on every shift. November 2017