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Setting the standard on food safety

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ATLANTIC CITY, NJ — During an education session at Artisan Bakery Expo East (ABEE), held October 1-2 at the Atlantic Convention Center, Charles Niedermyer, chef instructor at the Pennsylvania College of Technology, walked attendees through the ins and outs of proactively keeping food safety top of mind in bakeries.

When getting into the food business, it is incredibly important to take the responsibility of feeding the public seriously.

“It’s our requirement when we’re feeding the public, that we always meet the standards for safe food,” Charles said.

To start these food safety considerations, bakers need to think about all levels of the government — local, state and federal — and seek the correct information about their local health code. Reaching out to the local health departments, chamber of commerce, city hall and speaking with other businesses in the area can help bakery owners understand rules and regulations. From there, the next steps would be to reach out to the state department to check on state requirements for food safety and then seek out the broadest set of requirements at the federal level.

Developing a food safety culture needs to be a priority. Requiring food safety to be an element of the mission statement and posted within the facility lets employees and customers recognize the importance of food safety in the bakery. Including food safety in job descriptions when looking for new bakery employees is another way to keep the critical topic top of mind.

Good manufacturing practices (GMPs) are the minimum requirements for food safety outlined by the federal government and trickle down all the way to local inspectors. Creating training based on GMPs assists employees so that they are correctly educated on cleaning machines, proper health standards, time and temperature, biological hazards, and more.

“GMPs actually force us to be better bakers,” Charles said. “Your facility is going to be cleaner, more organized and your employees are going to be happier.”

When opening a bakery, food safety is a must. Ensuring employees are properly trained on an array of GMPs from cleaning techniques to wearing the proper uniform distinguish retail bakeries. Food safety should always be on the minds of bakery owners.

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