The Codex Alimentarius is a set of food standards, internationally accepted, which aim to protect consumer health and ensure good practices. Codex contributes to the involvement of companies in developing and establishing requirements in order to guarantee a safe, unadulterated and appropriately labelled product.
In 1969, the “Code of Recommended Practices” was published, which presented the principles of good manufacturing practices (GMP) and the analysis of hazards and critical control points (HACCP). This document has undergone various changes until, in December 2020, the new version called "General principles of food hygiene" was published.
Then, we are going to expose the most significant news.
In this new version, the term culture is emphasized. According to Codex, culture is essential for the proper functioning of any process. A positive food safety culture reinforces the importance of employee commitment in providing safe and fit for consumption products.
In addition, the new update establishes guidelines to achieve a positive food safety culture. For example, it has been established that compliance with good hygiene and manufacturing practices should not be carried out only by the personnel who directly handle the product, but by all those personnel who access its production facilities. Communication and the commitment of the whole company are other aspects of vital importance in the culture.
The concept of “allergen cross-contact” is included and allergens are considered throughout the different sections of the document. The new version highlights the implementation of an allergen management system from the reception of raw materials to the storage of the finished product to detect possible contamination during the process. Allergen control measures should be included in products that do not contain them, as well as controls to avoid cross contamination in the case of the presence of products that do contain them.
This allergen management includes good maintenance, cleaning and disinfection, specific training on allergen awareness, good personal hygiene and manufacturing practices, and preventive measures to reduce the risk of contamination.
This section presents the points that are essential to achieve right training and competence of the staff. In previous versions, this section only focused on food or product handling personnel who come into contact with them, as is the case with packaging. The new version indicates the importance of including in the training all the people who will have contact with food or packaging, either directly or indirectly. The training of all company personnel is essential to ensure the safety of the final product.
In the new version, this section is added to the section on product information and consumer awareness. Lot identification is essential for product control and effective stock rotation. The idea of designing and applying a product monitoring system is reinforced to track this and allow the withdrawal of products from the market and guarantee the health of the consumer.
The detection of critical control points (CCP) implies the control of the phases where hazards related to the safety of the product may arise. Control measures applied to CCPs must be effective. In this new version of Codex, the use of a decision tree is no longer mandatory to determine whether the phase where a control is applied is a CCP or not. Therefore, to detect CCP, the decision tree can be used or other tools such as the Ishikawa cause-effect diagram or the 5 whys.
In conclusion, this new version brings with it notable variations such as the incorporation of the term food safety culture and allergen cross-contact. In a general way, it involves the entire company from the production to the transport of products, claiming that all workers have a direct or indirect impact on the food safety of the final product. In this way, all workers understand their role in the company and acquire a culture of global quality and safety.
Do you want to ensure compliance with all these developments and thus guarantee the safety of your container? At Repaq we have extensive experience in this area and we can advise you. Contact us!