mined and risk level assessed, Critical Control Points and/or preventive controls can
be developed, including the product formulation, processing, and storage/handling
controls, to mitigate those risks; for example, preservatives/pH/aw in formulation,
time/temperature of baking, and storage temperature/shelf life.
Safety Begins with Suppliers
Secondly, it is important to know your suppliers and to evaluate their food safety
and quality programs. What are the hazards to be controlled in the raw materials
they supply, the critical limits, and actions to be taken if a deviation occurs? Hazard
Analysis and Critical Control Points and the Food Safety Modernization Act are
examples of such preventive controls. Some other parameters to consider in evaluat-
• Is the supplier certified against one of the audit schemes recognized by the Glob-
al Food Safety Initiative?
• How does the supplier control foreign material in their manufacturing facility?
• How are allergens controlled in their facility? For example, do they store allergens
separately from other ingredients? Is there an allergen matrix/production sequencing schedule to prevent cross-contact of allergens during production? How
are they ensuring adequate cleaning between allergen/allergen-free production
• Does the supplier have a system to ensure correct labels are in use at each prod-uct/label changeover?
Suppliers also need to evaluate the effectiveness of their cleaning and sanitation
programs, be able to assess the overall microbial cleanliness of the manufacturing
environment, and to monitor the production environment for pathogenic bacteria.
Monitoring effectiveness of sanitation processes and procedures is essential to minimize the risk of product contamination by pathogens and/or spoilage microorganisms, especially in the postbaking environment.
Traceability of ingredients and finished product is critical within the supply
chain. Batch sheets should record all lot codes of ingredients being used during the
manufacturing process. This information should be stored in such a way that during a recall event, all impacted product containing the impacted ingredient/lot code
can be identified accurately and in a timely manner. The most common reason for
recalls in the bakery is undeclared allergens. Having a reliable allergen control program within the manufacturing plant, as well as ensuring that your suppliers have an
adequate allergen control program, can help prevent recalls.
Knowing your supply chain is important. Procedures need to be in place to guarantee that product safety is maintained during storage and transportation. Some
questions to ask are: Is the product temperature being maintained? Is the product
being transported in a clean vehicle? Are there any signs of dirt, pests, damage, or
moisture? Has the load been properly secured to avoid tampering?
Knowing the specific food safety needs of each product and ensuring each step is
traceable—from ingredient selection and production through the supply chain to the
retail bakery and consumer—are key to an effective retail bakery food safety program.
Proper Labeling for Consumer Safety
Once production of the items is complete, it’s time to package them for sale.
Manufactured items need to have accurate label information. The primary purpose
of food labels is to inform the consumer regarding nutrition, ingredients, claims, or
allergen information. When foods are
labeled incorrectly, or an allergen warning is not properly declared, this can
make a food product dangerous to sell
to certain sensitive individuals. Improperly labeled food can cause someone to
become ill and/or trigger a costly recall
of your bakery products.
While you might not always be able
to provide nutritional information on
a label of your bakery product due to
the size of the label or variations in a
specially created product, providing an
accurate list of all ingredients is vital.
To provide a list of ingredients to the
consumer, it is important to know the
makeup of the components going into
your product. In retail bakeries, providing standard recipes or product builds is
key. This not only drives some consistency when making the product, but it
also ensures the proper ingredients are
used. Once all the ingredients that make
up a product are identified, it is easy to
combine them and list them on a food
Beyond the basic labeling requirements of ingredients, nutritional, and
allergen information, manufacturers
may choose to make claims highlighting product attributes. There are many
examples of claims in the marketplace
today. Examples include, but are not
limited to, nutrient content and ingredient attribute claims. Some common
claims found on bakery products are
“low fat,” “0 grams of trans fat,” “
organic,” and “no genetically modified organisms.” If a manufacturer chooses to
make a product claim, documentation
is needed for substantiation. In addition
to documentation, manufacturers need
to ensure the claim is truthful and not
misleading. State and federal regulatory
agencies scrutinize product labels and
may collect samples to monitor accuracy. Enforcement action can be taken
against the manufacturer if product
claims or other label information is not
“There are several factors to consider when evaluating food safety risks in
retail bakery products.”