Food Safety & Standards Regulations are framed keeping in mind the dual objective of food safety and consumer protection. All Food Business Operators use these regulations as guidelines while manufacturing the various types of food products. For regulatory purposes, most manufactured food products are categorized into a single category which is in keeping with international regulatory bodies. In this article, we will discuss the food safety requirements for Confectionery Food Products.
Broadly based products that come into the category of confectionery products include cocoa, chocolates, products that may or may not use cocoa, decorations and icing, marzipan, nougats, cocoa powders, cocoa for making the cake, cocoa-based beverages. It also includes soft candy and hard candy, jujubes, meethi saunf, mouth fresheners, chikki, gajak, cereal bars and chewing gum made from natural or synthetic gum base. These products could contain permitted additives, flavors and sugar. The food sector is one of the most rapidly evolving sectors in India. The market size of confectionery in India is estimated to be growing approximately at the rate of 12% per annum.
FBOs doing the confectionery business will have to submit the FSMS Program documents while applying for the license or when they go for the renewal of the license. By following the regulations they will be able to ensure that their food products are free from hazards at all stages of the food preparation chain beginning from raw material to end product.
Those in the confectionery product manufacturing business can use the following guidelines as a self-check to see that they remain within the regulatory framework:
Location and Layout of the Establishment
- Is your confectionery manufacturing unit located in a place where harmful gases, obnoxious odors or chemicals do not enter the food products you are manufacturing?
- Are the walls of the food preparation smooth and made of impervious material up to a height of 5ft. and the junction between wall and floor curved? Are all the walls whitewashed?
- Is the confectionery manufacturing area lighted and ventilated appropriately?
- Is the smoke being sucked out from the kitchen and food preparation area through chimneys which have adequate suction power?
Equipment and Fixtures
- Confectionery products can be contaminated at any stage of food processing hence are you ensuring that all equipment and working surfaces are being cleaned before and after food preparation?
- Is your equipment made of noncorrosive materials like galvanized iron or stainless steel?
- Are you also getting the equipment and instruments disinfected besides being getting them cleaned? Have you adopted a clean-in-place (CIP) system?
- Are all electrical wires and fixtures like tube lights, boards and panels clean and adequately secured and made from the unbreakable high-temperature resistant material?
- Do you have separate storage for food and food ingredients with labeled containers made of non-toxic materials?
- Are you making sure that temperature and humidity are maintained? Do you follow stock rotation procedures?
- Personal hygiene of food handlers is a priority, for that do you make sure that they wear clean, suitable clothes when working? Do they have adequate head covers, aprons, mouth masks and gloves which they routinely use when handling food?
- Do you ensure that they are not following unhygienic practices like chewing tobacco, touching face, mouth, ear or other body parts, or spitting, sneezing, coughing when handling food?
- Do you have adequate arrangements for toilets, hand wash, and footbath and have you made provision for detergent/bactericidal soap, hand drying facility, and nail cutter?
- Do you get your staff medically examined once in six months to ensure that they are free from infectious and contagious diseases?
- Have you got them inoculated against the enteric group of micro-organisms?
- Does your manufacturing unit have an adequate supply of potable water along with the arrangement of water storage tanks?
- Do you ensure that the water is chemically and bacteriologically examined by a NABL accredited laboratory at a defined frequency and whenever the potential for contamination or an epidemic is identified?
- Is the ice and steam you are using made from potable water?
Pest Control System
- Have you taken adequate control to prevent insect and rodent infestations?
- Are there enough proper mesh and flycatchers fixed appropriately to prevent pest entry?
- Is treatment with a permissible chemical, physical or biological agents within the permissible limits being carried out?
Conveyance and Transportation and Handling of Food
Do you have separate vehicle and transportation for carrying food products and which has a proper temperature control system?
Cleaning and Maintenance
Have you drawn up a cleaning and sanitation programme? Do you ensure it is observed and a proper record maintained for the following?
- Areas to be cleaned
- Frequency of cleaning
- Method of cleaning
- Are the sources and standard of the raw material of optimum quality and as per Regulation and standards laid down under the Act?
- Are the test reports from own or NABL accredited/FSSAI notified labs regarding microbiological contaminants in food available all the time?
Audit/ Documentation and Records
- Are records of daily production, raw material utilization and sales available, including appropriate document for food processing/ preparation/food quality?
- Are laboratory test results, pest control records etc. for a period of 1 year or the shelf-life record of the product whichever is more available with you?
Product information and consumer awareness
Do you follow Regulations to carry proper labels and all requisite information on packaged food products?
Have all your food handlers and production floor managers/ supervisors undergone appropriate food hygiene training?