Food Safety Starts With Cleanliness
Believe it or not, it was not all that long ago that food safety was very much a secondary issue to most food manufacturers. Shortcuts were taken, basic sanitary protocols ignored and regulators were toothless. The result? Many people got sick from their food. Some even died. I’m not talking, like, a hundred years ago. Try ten. Or twenty.
Thankfully, but only after a series of well-publicized food-related tragedies, the regulators and the public began to take notice and the level of safety in the U.S. food chain began to increase. Interestingly, much of the enhanced food safety is driven by the private sector rather than the regulators. The major food retailers (think Costco, Walmart, Whole Foods, etc.) demand a high level of independent third-party audits in order for them to accept products into their stores. This has resulted in a new industry of independent audit companies that perform inspections and certifications of food manufacturing facilities.
Even though we are a small pretzel company, we too are subject to the same food safety standards as the big guys. Once a year, our facility, our processes and all of the (literally) thousands of pages of food safety documentation that we have developed are scrutinized by third-party auditors. But, the process of maintaining this level of food safety does not just involve a once-a-year flurry of activity. It is an everyday, every hour endeavor from every one of our team members.
Examples? During the day our staff conduct about 65 different quality control checks on our equipment, our product and even our cleaning utensils. Additionally, we send out samples on a weekly basis to a certified lab to verify the results of our internal checking. These include checks on our water quality and even the air inside our facility! Hundreds of samples go off to the lab each year to be checked.
Is it worth it? Yes, we absolutely think it is and I am very proud of the fact that industry visitors to our facility often comment that it is one of the cleanest they have ever seen. Although we are small, we are proud of our whole team including our Quality Control team that puts so much effort into supplying not only a delicious pretzel but also a safe product.
Below is a copy of SQF Certificate which is one of the highest standards of food safety in the industry.