A trade association in the United Kingdom has published a guide on managing food safety for the temperature-controlled storage and distribution sector.

The Cold Chain Federation said the guidance should make it easier for members to develop, improve and implement food safety plans and processes. The guide was produced with support from the federation’s members and the UK’s Food Standards Agency.

It brings together information on compliance, best practices and recommendations for managing food safety risks in the cold chain and insights into likely future issues.

Help companies and regulatory bodies
Ensuring Food Safety in the Cold Chain has nine chapters and indicates what measures are mandatory under food safety legislation, good practices for the BRCGS Global Standard for Storage and Distribution (Issue 4), and can be used by members to check processes, as part of staff training and to obtain the highest BRCGS Storage and Distribution certification grade.

Tom Southall, Cold Chain Federation policy director, said the guide aims to help businesses achieve high standards of food safety in their facilities and to support enforcement agencies to better understand specific functions of the cold chain.

“Keeping frozen and chilled food safe is the fundamental purpose of the cold chain. Whilst the UK’s cold chain businesses are experts in keeping the nation supplied with safe food, rapidly evolving innovations and changing consumer demands makes can make maintaining these standards challenging. This can require a lot of time spent getting to grips and staying up to date with a range of regulations, certification schemes, and best practice,” he said.

Topics covered include food safety culture, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) in the cold chain, temperature control, preventing and responding to contamination, food allergens, good hygiene practices and defense against food crime.

BRCGS backing
Shane Brennan, Cold Chain Federation chief executive, said with the exit of the UK from the European Union and new trade arrangements, changes can be expected in global food supply chains.

“At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has extended the cold chain to the consumer’s front door. Food safety compliance systems need to be resilient, agile and forward-facing to ensure that good standards maintain safe food throughout the entire food chain from beginning to end, whatever new challenges we are faced with,” he said.

The document will be made available as part of BRCGS’s online library platform for sites and certification bodies subscribed to the BRCGS Global Standard for Storage and Distribution.

Jon Murthy, BRCGS head of global marketing, said the emphasis is on improving performance rather than compliance with minimum standards.

“The global pandemic has placed supply chain resilience firmly front of mind for brands and retailers. It has accelerated the changing role of the warehousing and logistics sector with the growth of e-commerce, the diversification of operational activities and new transport flows,” he said.

A copy can be requested by emailing: compliance@coldchainfed.org.uk

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