Environmental Monitoring Program for Food Plants (EMP)
Although food safety is one of the top priorities all over the world, various food-borne diseases and epidemics cause the death of many people today. All this weakens consumer confidence in food and therefore causes serious declines in food sales. However, we can say that certain areas in the food sector are shrinking. There are other problems such as health, hygiene, legal regulations, security, etc.
Many foodborne health problems result from poor hygiene practices. The main cause of these problems is uncontrollable microorganisms. These organisms, which can survive in food processing processes and processing environments, can enter the food environment through raw materials, harmful insects, air, water and workers. However, regular implementation of well-planned sanitation programs can control the entry of these microorganisms into food facilities and processes. Also, if contamination levels are high or sanitation procedures are inadequate, microorganisms can form food products that lead to an outbreak of foodborne illness. Therefore, it is important to monitor the hygienic environment in the food production facility for the production of quality and safe food products. The Environmental Monitoring Program for Food Facilities (EMP) is a program created within this framework.
What is Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP)?
EMP is a system that evaluates the effectiveness of general hygienic practices in a facility and provides necessary information to prevent possible microbial contamination of food products. The Environmental Monitoring Program (EMP) application is mandatory in accordance with the Preventive Controls in Food article specified in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In this context, all organizations within the scope of FSMA should consider the articles related to EMP and establish a system that meets the specified criteria.
Environmental Monitoring Program Benefits
The most important advantages of this program can be listed as follows:
• Measures the effectiveness, efficiency and performance of sanitary design, personnel practices and operational methods.
• Provides information on organisms and/or related pathogens that indicate a food´s ripening or spoilage. Thus, appropriate corrective actions can be initiated to prevent potential microbial outbreaks.
• When effectively implemented as an integral component of prerequisite programs, it acts as a warning system for microbiological hazards in both the production and post-production environment.
• It helps to detect and determine the effects of any product or application that may be a source of contamination in a facility.
• It draws a general framework in terms of documenting the general health status of the facility.
• Verifies other hygiene, safety and health programs implemented and helps to identify the characteristics and frequency of these practices.
The Environmental Monitoring Program is not designed to verify the effectiveness of cleaning and sanitation methods. Rather, the focus of this program is to verify cleaning and sanitation frequencies. It also ensures validation of the sub-programs of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
Control Parameters of Environmental Monitoring Program
The criteria in which the EMP will be installed and operated vary depending on the characteristics and size of the food facility. However, in general, it is possible to say that the following issues are common to every Environmental Monitoring Program:
• An environmental monitoring team made up of people with expertise and experience in the field.
• Monitoring each part of the food plant and each process separately
• Correct and sufficient number of sampling practices
• Determination of all kinds of harmful microorganisms and pathogens that cause the implementation of the Environmental Monitoring Program
• The use of specific methods and equipment in this framework
• Establishing an appropriate delivery / receiving procedure for any shipment leaving or entering a food facility
• Implementation of regulatory and preventive actions at every point deemed necessary
• Dissemination of documentation, which is one of the main items of the Environmental Monitoring Program, in every part of the program. In this context, documenting every transaction made.
How to Establish an Environmental Monitoring Program?
Many training and consultancy firms provide services for the establishment, effective operation and continuous improvement of this system. In addition, testing of all kinds of food processed in food facilities Their training in practice and in a loan for verification also provides different support than food products. This plus should come from the training and approach that should be required for the future EMP, which is now an indispensable design criterion for food.
It is essential for review for the Environmental Monitoring program to be reviewed. All paths need to be completed correctly, from this particular special team, from possible intervention to all kinds of completion and completion. The preparations and preparatory programs prepared for this are one of the most important of environmental monitoring. The program should also be followed continuously and what needs to be taken from the current methods and techniques should be used.
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