Food Safety Awareness
Do you know the Basic Four?
Fighting BAC!®: Four Simple Steps
To Fight BAC!® * food safety experts recommend that everyone think about food safety at each step in the food handling process - from shopping to storing leftovers. What this really means is always following these four simple steps:
CLEAN - Wash hands, utensils and surfaces in hot soapy water before and after food preparation, and especially after preparing meat, poultry, eggs or seafood to protect adequately against bacteria. Using a disinfectant cleaner or a mixture of bleach and water on surfaces and antibacterial soap on hands can provide some added protection.
SEPARATE - Keep raw meat, poultry, eggs and seafood and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods; never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, eggs or seafood.
COOK - Cook food to the proper internal temperature (this varies for different cuts and types of meat and poultry) and check for doneness with a food thermometer. Cook eggs until both the yolk and white are firm.
CHILL - Refrigerate Promptly. Refrigerate or freeze perishables, prepared food and leftovers within two hours and make sure the refrigerator is set at no higher than 40°F and that the freezer unit is set at 0°F.
So, don't risk problems when these simple steps will help you reduce food-related illness.
*This information is courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more information about Fight BAC!® you may visit the USDA Safe Food Handling web site.
Food Defense and Terrorism
ALERT: The Basics
The ALERT initiative is intended to raise the awareness of state and local government agency and industry representatives regarding food defense issues and preparedness. It is generic enough to apply to all aspects of the farm-to-table supply chain and is designed to spark thought and discussion with a variety of stakeholders. ALERT identifies five key points that industry and businesses can use to decrease the risk of intentional food contamination at their facility. Information on the ALERT initiative is courtesy of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, USFDA Center for Food Safely and Applied Nutrition web site.
In today's world it is important to be ALERT to protect your business.
A. How do you ASSURE that the supplies and ingredients you use are from safe and secure sources?
L. How do you LOOK after the security of the products and ingredients in your facility?
E. What do you know about your EMPLOYEES and people coming in and out of your facility?
R. Could you provide REPORTS about the security of your products while under your control?
T. What do you do and who do you notify if you have a THREAT or issue at your facility, including suspicious behavior?
A) How do you ASSURE that the supplies and ingredients you use are from safe and secure sources?
- Know your suppliers.
- Use only known, appropriately licensed or permitted (where applicable) contract manufacturing and packaging operators and sources for all incoming materials, including ingredients, compressed gas, packaging, labels, and research/development materials.
- Encourage your suppliers to practice food defense measures.
- Take reasonable steps to ensure that suppliers, contract operators and transporters practice appropriate food defense measures (for example, auditing, where practical, for compliance with food security measures that are contained in purchase and shipping contracts or letters of credit, or using a vendor approval program).
- Request locked and/or sealed vehicles/containers/railcars.
- If sealed, obtain the seal number from the supplier and verify upon receipt, making arrangements to maintain the chain of custody when a seal is broken for inspection by a governmental agency or as a result of multiple deliveries.
- Supervise off-loading of incoming materials.
- The supervision of incoming materials should pertain to deliveries that occur during normal business hours, as well as deliveries that occur during off hours.
L) How do you LOOK after the security of the products and ingredients in your facility?
- Implement a system for handling products.
- Have a system for receiving, storing, and handling distressed, damaged, returned, and rework products that minimizes their potential for being compromised or to compromise the security of other products (for example, destroying products that are unfit for human or animal consumption, products with illegible codes, products of questionable origin, and products returned by consumers to retail stores).
- Track materials.
- Keep track of incoming materials and materials in use, including ingredients, compressed gas, packaging, labels, salvage products, rework products, and product returns.
- Store product labels in a secure location and destroy outdated or discarded product labels.
- Limit access and inspect facilities.
- Limit, to the extent possible, and conduct random inspections, on facilities such as, storage and handling facilities, vessels, vehicles, access to controls for airflow, water, electricity, and refrigeration.
- Keep track of finished products.
- Encourage your warehousing operations to practice food defense measures.
- Ensure that public storage warehousing and shipping operations (vehicles and vessels) practice appropriate security measures (for example, auditing, where practical, for compliance with food security measures that are contained in contracts or letters of guarantee).
E) What do you know about your EMPLOYEES and people coming in and out of your facility?
- Conduct background checks on staff.
- Examine the background of all staff (including seasonal, temporary, contract, and volunteer staff, whether hired directly or through a recruitment firm) as appropriate to their position, considering candidates access to sensitive areas of the facility and the degree to which they will be supervised.
- Know who belongs in your facility.
- Know who is and who should be on premises, and where they should be located, for each shift.
- Provide an appropriate level of supervision to all staff, including cleaning and maintenance staff, contract workers, data entry computer support staff, and especially, new staff.
- Establish an identification system for employees.
- Establish a system of positive identification and recognition that is appropriate to the nature of the workforce (for example, issuing uniforms, name tags, or photo identification badges with individual control numbers, color coded by area of authorized access), when appropriate.
- Limit access by staff.
- Limit access so staff enter only those areas necessary for their job functions and only during appropriate work hours (for example, using key cards or keyed or cipher locks for entry to sensitive areas, or color coded uniforms).
- Prevent customer's access to critical areas of your facility.
- Prevent customer's access to food preparation and storage and dishwashing areas in the non-public areas of the establishment, including loading docks.
R) Could you provide REPORTS about the security of your products while under your control?
- Periodically evaluate the effectiveness of your security management system.
- Review and verify, at least annually, the effectiveness of the security management program (for example, using knowledgeable in-house or third party staff to conduct tampering or other malicious, criminal, or terrorist action exercises and mock recalls and to challenge computer security systems), revising the program accordingly, and keeping this information confidential.
- Perform random food defense inspections.
- Perform random food defense inspections of all appropriate areas of the facility (including receiving and warehousing, where applicable) using knowledgeable in-house or third party staff, and keeping this information confidential.
- Establishment and Maintenance of Records
- On December 9, 2004, FDA issued a final rule that requires the establishment and maintenance of records by persons who manufacture, process, pack, transport, distribute, receive, hold, or import food in the United States. Such records are to allow for the identification of the immediate previous sources and the immediate subsequent recipients of food. The final rule implements Section 306 of the Public Health Security and Bio terrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 (See 69 FR 71562; December 9, 2004:
( http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/frrecord.html ).
- Evaluate lessons learned.
- Evaluate the lessons learned from past tampering or other malicious, criminal, or terrorist actions and threats.
T) What do you do, and who do you notify if you have a THREAT or issue at your facility, including suspicious behavior?
- Hold any product that you believe may have been affected.
- Contact the Food and Drug Administration
- If a food establishment operator suspects that any of his/her products that are regulated by the FDA have been subject to tampering, "counterfeiting," or other malicious, criminal, or terrorist action, FDA recommends that he/she notify the FDA 24-hour emergency number at 301-443-1240 or call their local FDA District Office. FDA District Office telephone numbers are listed at: http://www.fda.gov/ora/inspect_ref/iom/iomoradir.html. FDA recommends that the operator also notify appropriate law enforcement and public health authorities.
Page last updated
March 4, 2014