Friday, September 22, 2023

6 tips for proper handling of food grade products

Food safety is a must in all food-related businesses. It’s a requirement, especially when one out of six Americans suffer from food poisoning annually. Every year, 200,000 people in the U.S. also need emergency medical attention due to food allergies. Many of these unfortunate instances can easily be prevented when food-grade products are handled safely from farm to fork.

However, some restaurants and food manufacturers still don’t follow basic food safety protocols for various reasons. As a result, contaminants and allergens may mix with products, affecting consumers.

Proper handling of food-grade products keeps you, your team, and your consumers safe from liabilities and health issues. Keep reading for some tips to get you started on maintaining good quality food.

  1. Use Food Grade Packaging

Elements can contaminate any food stored in improper or unsealed packaging. Others may also shorten the shelf-life of your products. Thus, companies that manufacture food-grade items, especially in bulk, should use the correct type of packaging.

Proper food-grade packaging ensures the protection and quality of the contents during transport or storage. Paper is the least ideal option, even for dry products. So, consider switching to flexible intermediate bulk containers (FIBC) for all your food-grade products. FIBC manufacturers offer customizable packaging in various sizes. Additionally, you can augment your existing packaging with FIBC totes or liners for extra safety.

  1. Practice Proper Hygiene

Staying clean at all times is essential, primarily when you work with food. Proper hygiene is one of the fundamental practices you and your team must follow to adhere to food safety standards. In the food industry, investing in cleaning products and facilities ensures the cleanliness of everything going in and out.

As a general guide, staff should wash their hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Doing this before handling food products prevents the spread of harmful bacteria. Avoid working with food when you’re sick. Even with proper hygiene and attire, you could contaminate everything you touch.

Food products will constantly interact with food contact substances (FCS) during manufacturing. Anything that comes into contact with food, including the work area, utensils, and production tools, may affect food-grade quality. So, every FCS in your establishment must also be clean.

When cleaning work surfaces or tools, consider using disposable paper towels. Using a cloth towel is still acceptable. But you must launder them in hot water regularly to eliminate bacterial growth.

  1. Avoid Cross-Contamination

Any food business owner understands the importance of separating different food products. Cross-contamination could result in accidental food poisoning or allergic reactions. One of its possible causes is using various ingredients on the same food production line. Thoroughly cleaning your machinery after every use may suffice. But investing in separate food processing equipment for your regular and allergen-free food products is best.

Cross-contamination doesn’t only happen during food production. It can also frequently occur in storage. The rule is to store cooked food separately from raw food in refrigerators. The latter must be placed on the bottom racks to prevent liquids from dripping to the former. If possible, consider using separate storage units for ready-to-eat and raw food.

Food products directly derived from animals are most at risk of contamination and contaminating other edible items. The food you must pay close attention to include the following:

  • Meat and poultry
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Eggs
  • Unpasteurized milk
  • Uncooked processed meats

Even the tools you use to prepare these raw products must differ from those for cooked food. Refrain from putting anything cooked on any FCS that has touched raw food. You’re only allowed to do this after you’ve washed the plates or surfaces with hot, soapy water.

As an additional precaution, rinse all raw vegetables and fruits under clean running water before storing them. Unclean produce may cause food poisoning due to bacteria and pesticides. Salmonella and E. coli are the top food safety threats that could inflict diseases when consumed.

  1. Cook Food At Optimal Temperature

Proper handling of food-grade products continues during the cooking process. Cooking food at the correct internal temperature helps kill lingering bacteria from the meat and produce. The best way to know if you’re cooking at the right temperature is by using a food thermometer.

Keep this temperature guide in mind when you have to cook your raw food products:

  • Poultry: 165°F (74°C)
  • Eggs: 160°F (72°C)
  • Whole or parts of beef or pork: 145°F (63°C)
  • Ground meat: 160°F (72°C)
  • Seafood: 145°F (63°C)

Remember to recheck the food’s temperature after cooking. If you’re in the food service, you know you can’t serve meals to customers unless they’re in a specific temperature range. Changes in internal heat may allow microorganisms to linger or alter the overall taste of the food.

  1. Store At The Appropriate Temperature

Food products for storage or transport must be kept colder to ensure freshness. Fridge temperatures generally have to be under 40°F or 4°C. Meanwhile, freezers must be under 0°F or -17°C. Sensors are ideal for checking the temperature of your cold storage units without constantly opening the latter. They could also alert you when temperatures go beyond what’s recommended.

Remember not to overstuff your storage. Excessive items in the fridge increase the temperature inside, diminishing the quality of your food-grade products. Regularly inspect all storage units for anything close to expiration or cross-contaminated food and dispose of it immediately.

When defrosting, avoid leaving the food product on a table or countertop. It’s advisable to thaw frozen food in the refrigerator, in the microwave, or under running water. Cook the defrosted food as soon as possible.

  1. Perform Regular Supply Chain Checkups

The final tip is to keep an eye on your supply chain. Even if you religiously follow food safety protocols, issues may still arise. Disruptions like health crises and weather conditions may affect your food-grade products’ quality. These problems can hurt your finances or medically harm consumers.

As such, check and maintain your supply chain regularly. Utilize apps for streamlined data collection and communication with your team. Strengthening your supply chain helps keep food in excellent condition from production to customer.


In businesses that focus on food and beverages, safety is a priority. Food is something that everyone in the world needs. So, if you value your reputation and the health of your customers, handle all your food-grade products well. Good food makes people happy. They’ll keep returning to you for your excellent services.

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