Looking around the production floor of a bakery, there are many areas we can increase safety and quality for our products. Recent recalls for raw materials such as flour containing E. coli in both the US and Canada have been making headlines recently.
As bakers, we know our ovens provide a kill step against pathogens.2,3 Quality check points for raw materials, employee training, allergen controls, and finished product analysis can reduce the risk of product recalls and ensure a safe and consistent finished product.
Here are our top tips for bakery quality and safety:
1. Quality check points for incoming raw materials.
- Magnets at the flour silo to remove metal objects in flour,
- Flour Screens for flour going into the mixer to remove foreign (non-metal) objects.
- Infestation or pest control checks on incoming bagged ingredients,
- X-ray sorting system for mixed seeds and grain blends
- Recording lot numbers of raw ingredients on every batch mixing sheet.
2. Training for employees on getting injured on the job.
3. Using brightly colored gloves for different departments or allergens.
4. Final metal detection after the packaging process.
5. Trained QA personnel to watch for food safety issues.
Making it work
Regular training and updates for all staff will remind employees that safety and quality are part of the job. Bakeries with quality controls can improve product quality, drive business performance and supply chain efficiency and compliance with legislative requirements.1
Product specifications and standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be implemented and understood by all employees. No matter the size of your bakery it is never too soon to implement quality control points that reduces the need for a recall.
- Manning, L., R.N. Baines, and S.A. Chadd. “Quality assurance models in the food supply chain.” British Food Journal 108.2 (2006): 91-104.
- Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. “Outbreaks – FDA Investigated Multistate Outbreak of Shiga Toxin-producing E. Coli Infections Linked to Flour.” U S Food and Drug Administration Home Page. Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 29 Sept. 2016. www.fda.gov/food/recallsoutbreaksemergencies/outbreaks/ucm504192.htm Accessed 19 Apr. 2017.
- “Various Brands of Flour and Flour Products Recalled Due to E. Coli O121.” Government of Canada. Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 17 Apr. 2017. www.inspection.gc.ca/about-the-cfia/newsroom/food-recall-warnings/complete-listing/2017-04-16/eng/1492408217395/1492408220892. Accessed 19 Apr. 2017.