FSA issues new guidance for food manufacturers

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The guidance includes plans to increase cleaning
The guidance includes plans to increase cleaning

Related tags: coronavirus, Food safety, Regulation

Food manufacturers are being reminded that they are required to implement and maintain hygiene procedures based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) principles.

The advice was issued by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which has collated guidance for food businesses​ operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

This follows the publication of the Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy and complements the guidance published by the Government yesterday​ (12 May). 

The FSA said: “Our advice is clear that it remains very unlikely that people can catch COVID-19 from food. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness and not known to be transmitted by exposure to food or food packaging. We are continuing to work closely with industry and other partners to ensure the UK food supply remains safe.”

Review procedures

The guidance has told food manufacturers that they may need to review their procedures to account for any changes that had been implemented and consider where additional thorough cleaning might be needed. 

It said food businesses should consider the need for additional verification of existing controls, or validation of any new controls that had been introduced. 

This should also be documented in HACCP. And the local food authority or, for some meat plants, the FSA should be informed of any relevant changes.

The FSA has also highlighted issues around stock control, such as ensuring that ingredients or raw materials that had passed their use-by date were disposed of appropriately. 

Check specifications

It has also advised food manufacturers to check ​that they can obtain their usual raw materials and ingredients, so that product specifications can be met, and there were adequate stocks of suitable cleaning chemicals in-date. 

It said that if suppliers or ingredients had changed, there would also need to be a review of allergen management and labelling in line with a company’s HACCP or HACCP-based FSMS (food safety management system). 

Advice also covered machinery, staff training, the use of personal protective equipment and current health & safety work policies. 

Related topics: COVID-19

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