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Food Safety 

Food Safety is one of the most challenging aspects of Food. Even the most common and simple food can create problems for consumers. Your food is handled by many hands, machines, and equipment before landing on your plate. It also travels through various storage locations and touches surfaces that you won't even imagine. Each of these touchpoints can add germs, bacteria, and chemicals that may prove fatal to you. The Food Safety management system is to secure the food that comes on your plate. Food Safety needs to be managed in a systematic manner and not in a reactive manner. This is also to ensure that the food chain remains strong and its weakest link can be strengthened. It is not about mere certification.

Food Safety UAE

Food Safety in the UAE is very sensitive. This is because the UAE imports huge quantities of food everywhere. The imported food comes to the consumers' plates through a lot of processes. In order to make the final food safe, the local governments and the federal government have issued a number of directives and regulations. These are implemented through regular lab testing, inspection visits, and communications. The moot point however is, are these regulations enough for Food Safety? The answer to this is a firm NO. The food industry is huge in the UAE. It covers various verticals like Food importers, Warehousing, Logistics, Processors, Kitchens, and packagers, while making food safe 100%, it can be definitely very close to that! For this, every organization in the food chain MUST establish a system and implement the food system management system.

How to Establish a Food Safety Management System

The food safety management system MUST start with proper Hazard Assessment and identifying the critical control points. Proper planning to mitigate and minimize the operational activities as well as provide proper training to all the handlers. But the most important thing in every food processing is to understand the local requirements and guidelines. These guidelines are highly important and are made as per the conditions of the UAE. Many basic food companies like Cafeterias in UAE do need to check these requirements and enhance their awareness lest they get heavy fines. Apart from the statutory fines, there is a great risk of putting the end user at risk. In order to establish a good food safety management system, you need to do the following;

Commitment from Leadership
Identify Food Safety Responsibilities within the internal team
Conduct a Hazard Analysis
Prepare the Food Flow Diagram and validate it with your Food processing system
Establish Critical Control Points (CCPs)
Set Critical Limits for all CCPs
Implement Control Measures to ensure that CCPs stay within the Critical Limits;
Monitor CCPs
Establish Corrective Actions for all incidents, recalls, and other non-conformities
Establish a communication system for internal and external auditors
Verify the Food Safety Management System
Ensure complete and comprehensive Record-Keeping
Develop and Implement Training Programs
Establish a Traceability System
Continual Improvement
External Certification
Document Procedures

Establishing an effective Food Safety Management System requires commitment, diligence, and ongoing effort. It's a comprehensive approach to safeguarding the quality and safety of food products, protecting consumers, and maintaining the reputation of your food-related business.

Questions and Answers

Question: Is it important to establish a food safety system even if there is no cooking?

Answer: IF you are a part of a food chain, even just a supplier of food packaging material, it is important to establish and improve your food management system.


Question: Is it important to hire an outside expert to establish your food safety management system?

Answer: No, it is not mandatory to hire an outside expert to establish your food safety management system. But it helps a lot as your food safety consultant who brings out higher competency and knowledge.


Question: Is it important to get certification after establishing your food safety management system?

Answer: No, it is not important to get certification. It helps to get certification as it enforces discipline and continual improvement.


Question: How do you get the critical limits for CCP?

Answer: You should refer to the limits through lab tests or manufacturer’s recommendations on the raw materials or by referring to international codex guidelines.


Question: How do we establish a Food Safety team?

Answer: Food Safety should consist of direct food handlers of your team. They should have basic education but in-depth knowledge of their product. Supervisors of the kitchen, Chefs, Factory supervisors, and Pierson-in-Charge (PIC) should be included in your food safety team.


Question: What are the various certifications for the Food Safety Management System?

Answer: The most well-established food safety management systems are, a) ISO22000:2018, b) HACCP, c) BRC, and d) FSSC.


Question: Who is PIC?

Answer: PIC stands for Person In0Charge. PIC is the most important responsibility in the food safety management system. PIC is the custodian and the main representative of the top management. On behalf of the management, the PIC is tasked with the implementation, improvement, and reporting of the management system.


Question: How do we do basic food hygienic training for our team?

Answer: In order to do food hygienic training for your team, you need to upload their details in the Foodwatch portal of Dubai and then get a registered training company and trainer to conduct the training program.


Question: What is a general timeframe to develop, implement, and get certification of the Food Safety Management System?

Answer: It depends mostly on the management commitment as there may be additional resources required to develop, implement, audit, and get certification. However, for a mid-sized operation, it could take 5 to 6 months to get the certification from ground zero.


Question: What is ISO22000:2018?

Answer: ISO22000:2018 is the most widely accepted Food Safety Management System which is accredited by the International Organization for Standardisation. It is acceptable to most regulatory and statutory bodies.

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