Food safety is highly crucial in the food industry. Governments have clear laws for food safety and regulations and a dedicated department to supervise the processes, FDA.
In the wake of a global pandemic, it has become extremely important to follow food safety SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) even more.
In this article, we have listed some of the best practices to successfully implement food safety SOPs.
1. Use Digital Templates:
If you are clear about the end result of the SOP, it becomes easier to document and implement.
Gone are the days when you had to prepare handwritten documents for use. The digital age has transformed the way we operate. There are digital templates available online which help you to implement perfect SOPs for your chosen industry.
It also aids you in determining the factors which should be incorporated in the desired document.
The templates help you to follow the system as it is familiar to the employees as every industry follows some kind of SOPs. Templates provide you structure and drop the need of inventing the wheel again.
2. Define Core Processes
Preparing an SOP document is a lot different from preparing a regular procedure. While regular procedures can be tweaked to meet a particular demand, or need.
For example, cooking procedures can involve multiple alternatives to suit your taste and texture you want. There is no definite way to prepare doughnuts. You can fry them as well as bake them. You can either use yogurt to raise the dough or yeast, depending upon you.
However, you cannot expect anyone to find a way around SOPs or tweak them. The standard procedures are goal-oriented and should be strictly followed to avoid penalty or worse closing down your business altogether.
Always explain in detail the core processes to avoid confusion among the employees. Start with the goal that needs to be done to instill its importance in your team.
3. Know Your Regulations
Preparing an SOP document is not an easy task. It requires the knowledge and laws of your government. Knowing the regulations provided by the health department and Compliance practices help greatly to achieve the successful implementation of SOPs.
Compliance practices are detailed procedures and laws to help you run your business according to the law. The food industry especially has to follow specific regulations to avoid diseases spreading among the people.
A good SOPs document should contain the title of the issuer to inculcate the importance of following them; the frequency regulated by the authority as daily, weekly or monthly or as according to the usage of the tool or ingredient involved; the group on which the particular SOP applies.
The overall result of these elements in an SOP shows positivity and helps the employees follow them properly.
4. Tackle SOPs by Groups
Implementing the SOPs is a very difficult task. Following the SOPs helps industries to perform a job with consistent actions. SOPs make sure there are no two ways to perform a task. It requires utter dedication and faith in the system to achieve the desired result; i.e. food safety.
It is difficult to supervise the whole organization or industry at a time. Therefore, it is important to tackle the SOPs as a group.
Divide your employees in smaller groups according to the designation or nature of tasks; for example: those responsible for taking care of raw material, cooking the meal and taking care of the customers all have different duties and should follow SOPs according to the nature of work.
The breakdown becomes beneficial in implementing the SOPs to an entire organization without confusion or failure.
5. Gather Employee Input
It is highly recommended to take feedback from the employees, now that you have implemented the SOPs.
Because implementing the SOPs is a lifelong process and should be changed according to the needs of the industry. Feedback from employees helps to determine what is working and how to make the process easier.
Following SOPs can be challenging under factors such as medical conditions. It also helps you to streamline the training of the new employees without breaking the cycle of the existing system.
6. Create a Review Process
After you have prepared the SOPs for your organization you need to review them from time to time.
There are many benefits of reviewing the document.
● It provides you an overview of what was the purpose and analyzes the end result.
● It provides you an opportunity to update the SOPs as time passes because practices change with time.
● Reviewing it helps you to understand the needs of your staff and help them implement it.
● The review process fulfills the need for corrections. ● Reviews help you to understand your target audience deeper and the system to make it effective across the industry.