As food safety practices go, there are some specific steps to take when working with meal kits. If you fail to follow all the standards, you may face a lawsuit from a client and fines from your local health department. Here is a list of tips to keep in mind for any operations using this method.
Your Food Safety Plan
Most food businesses in Canada need to have a Food Safety Plan as part of their Food Safety Program. The plan should be based on the 7-Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), a system used to determine potential food safety risks and create control points in every step of the production process to minimize the risk of food-borne illness.
The Food Safety Plan must include the processes below:
- Getting ingredients only from reputable suppliers
- Having preventive measures for cross-contamination during processing
- Using temperature control processes for deliveries
- Using proper labelling on all packages
- Including food safety education for the customer
Get Ingredients From Reputable Suppliers
Most meal kit companies order their ingredients from suppliers that are approved by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). The CFIA allows food establishments to receive their ingredients or pre-packaged foods from suppliers who meet the right requirements.
These suppliers may be required to do testing of their food ingredients to ensure they meet the standards to be called a Grade A food, a term used to label foods that are safe to consume.
You should be doing regular check-ups with their suppliers to ensure they are following the guidelines.
It’s important to control the cross-contamination of ingredients or food during handling. Cross-contamination occurs when ingredients that have come in contact with a pathogen are used for the production of other products. This can easily happen when handling ingredients in bulk.
Both the people handling the products and the working environment are at risk for cross-contamination. Cross-contamination risks are especially high when the products contain meat or fish.
The best way to prevent cross-contamination is to prepare fresh ingredients for each meal kit. Suppose you’re handling ingredients that may be cross-contamination. In that case, you should prepare them in a separate area and make sure that any equipment or utensils used for those ingredients are thoroughly cleaned.
Prioritise Temperature Control for Deliveries
Meal kit companies need to keep a close watch on the temperature of all deliveries and maintain the cold chain to the point of sale. The right temperature will minimize the risk of contamination or spoilage. The cold chain is the supply chain that ensures food stays at the right temperature, from production through to the final customer.
Food must be at the right temperature when they leave the manufacturer, and they must be kept at that temperature until they reach the customer.
Overall, meal kits are a great way for customers to create delicious meals and for restaurants to reduce labour costs. However, it comes with certain risks and some safety measures need to be taken. It’s also important to ensure all the employees are properly trained and educated on food safety. Make sure you’re following all the steps to keep your business safe.
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