Any Rotarian who took a tour about a year ago of Daybreak Foods south of Estherville already had a pretty good idea of just how picky the company is about food safety when Daybreak general manager Sam Utecht took the floor at Thursday's Rotary meeting.
That's when they heard just what Daybreak's food safety protocols are - as well as how many of them. Those protocols all came back when Rotarians recalled taking far more health and safety precautions in their tour last year at Daybreak than one would on entering a hospital maternity ward.
It's everyone's job to learn food safety at Daybreak, Utecht said. In fact, the Daybreak Safe Quality Food Program trains all employees in the process so everyone could brief an auditor and say just what those food safety protocols are.
Utecht said Safe Quality Food general training includes:
n Promoting an understanding and awareness of food safety practices.
n Providing an understanding of SQF system principles, activities and terminology.
n Promoting a common approach for the implementation and auditing of SQF systems.
n Sharing knowledge and practical experience in applying SQF program principles.
n Imparting skills necessary so that food safety professionals can implement and audit an SQF system appropriately in order to provide safe, quality food.
n Ensuring a consistent and effective approach to the implementation of an SQF system.
Sanitation includes not only cleaning and sanitizing but also monitoring, chemical control, training and documentation.
Then there's security, which includes security during production, storage, shipping and receiving, video surveillance and alarms. Utecht said every truck coming into the plant - with the exception of grain trucks - is required to have seals. There's even alarms for product temperature control.
Operations and facility priorities include sanitary design, preventative maintenance programs and computer control.
The integrated pest management program works to reduce or eliminate the impact of pests in Daybreak operations. Utecht said the approach includes education, building and grounds, maintenance, environmental protection and personal safety.
The Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) program includes focusing on preventing food contamination, is science-based and places responsibility for ensuring food safety on the food manufacturer.
The HACCP process includes:
n Assembling the HACCP team.
n Describing the product.
n Identifying the intended use.
n Constructing a flow diagram.
n On-site verification of the flow diagram.
n Listing all potential hazards.
n Constructing a hazard analysis.
n Determining control measures.
n Determining critical control points.
n Establishing critical limits for each CCP.
n Establishing a monitoring system for each CCP.
n Establishing corrective action for deviations that may occur.
n Establishing verification procedures.
n Establishing record keeping and documentation.
Utecht said food safety and quality procedures include both incoming and outgoing quality levels, testing the product, training people, making sure the product is fresh and wholesome, auditing the process and USDA inspection. He said he feels his USDA inspector is a great partner in helping to ensure plant food safety.
Good manufacturing practices include clean uniform smocks and food and drink policies. And environmental stewardship includes reducing environmental impact, reducing energy and water consumption and reducing waste and recycling cardboard, aluminum, plastic, paper, scrap metal, egg shells, animal waste and inedible liquid eggs.
The Safe Feed/Safe Food policy, part of the Food Safety Modernization Act, is designed to encourage the food industry to take a proactive approach in evaluating their manufacturing process, said Utecht. Steps include indentifying risks, controlling and mitigating risks and a third-party audit.
Another procedure, working to prevent salmonella enteritidis in shell eggs during production, storage and transportation, is originated and audited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Utecht said compliance since July 9, 2010, has included flocks of 50,000 and up and includes prevention measures, environmental and egg testing for SE and registration.
Probably even more stringent than USDA inspections, though, is internal inspection, Utecht said.
"We're harder on ourselves than an authority is," Utecht said.