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Guidelines for food safety control of artisan cheese-making

image of Guidelines for food safety control of artisan cheese-making

These guidelines have been formulated as part of the project ”Nordic co-operation between representatives of the sector and food safety inspectors in order to simplify the food safety control of artisan cheese-making”, also known as ”Nordost” (Northern Cheese). The project is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers and was initiated bythe Nordic work group for ”Food administration and user/consumer information” (the NMF group). The content of the guidelines and the appendices do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Nordic Council of Ministers or the National Food Administration. Artisan cheese-making takes place under greatly varying conditions, which can include everything from cheese-making in tiled dairies to production in primitive summerpasture villages. Nevertheless, irrespective of the environment in which it takes place, the cheese-making process is the same and the same demands apply, namely that the cheese shall be safe for consumers to eat. It is the producers duty to ensure that the cheese does not represent a health hazard, and that it is suitable for human consumption. The objective of these guidelines is to provide support to food safety inspectors in carrying out efficient food safety control by focusing on the relevant hazards associated with artisan cheese-making, but also to disseminate the results of the sub-projects in ”Nordost” to producers and other interested parties. Several of these sub-projects have studied relevant literature and tested equipment that enables simple effective own control by producers.

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Adequate production procedures, good hygiene practice and HACCP

In general, it can be said that many hazards may be eliminated by employing adequate procedures in the prerequisite programme for production, i.e. adopting what is known as good manufacturing practice and good hygiene practice. Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is often said to be essential for a manufacturing business. If one compares the quality system with a house, GMP represents the foundation (see the cover of this manual). In the case of food companies, good hygiene practice (GHP) is also a necessary part of the prerequisite programme. It represents the walls of the house. Finally, as the roof, we have the company’s own monitoring process, in which they examine the specific hazards related to their own processes and products (make hazard analyses, identify critical control points, monitor and take measures to deal with the results of these). This system is known as HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). HACCP is employed continuously. It is employed before the production starts, each day in the production process and is documented by updating the records when changes in the production process occur. It is also important to follow developments in the relevant field in order to be aware of new hazards and be able to avoid the risks they represent. In-service training and exchanging knowledge with colleagues are good ways of keeping up-to-date. It is important that the HACCP plan is well-established with the food business operator and that it is relevant to the specific establishment and product group.

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