JIS News

The Scientific Research Council is encouraging factories to carry out good manufacturing practices (GMPs) as the nation continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The SRC assists food processors with developing GMPs and implement a food safety programme for their products.

“Manufacturers need to ensure that whatever food product they produce meets the bacterial load, so that the commercial finished product is safe for the market. They should follow all their GMP processes and do not skip steps, especially during this period when staff attendance may be lower than average,” Project and Quality Management Systems Manager, SRC, Marcia Henry, told JIS News.

Mrs. Henry informed that the SRC works with manufacturers to ensure they exercise GMPs by conducting gap audits and helping entities to implement corrective action programmes to address gaps identified within their system. However, as it relates to certification, the Bureau of Standards is the responsible entity.

“We help them to identify the hazards associated with the development of their products and where the critical control points are in their process for producing products they sell. The SRC also assists in drafting process schedules, so that manufacturers can meet the regulatory requirements set locally and by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” she added.

When testing products, the SRC analyses each step in the manufacturing process to ensure that the microbial load is reduced to an acceptable level during various stages of the process.

Mrs. Henry noted that GMPs can be used to reduce the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) within the manufacturing space.

“The general food-safety systems that are in place prevent the contamination of food during manufacturing and should be coupled with the government regulations on the coronavirus, to ensure that the sterility of the factory or health of workers is not compromised,” she explained.

Mrs. Henry said that increased handwashing and changing of garments worn outside of the plant before entering the manufacturing zone are a few measures manufacturers should be observing.

Although food manufacturers were practising a high level of sanitisation before COVID-19, Mrs. Henry is still encouraging them to be diligent and identify possible areas where they can implement additional measures to limit the spread of the virus within the workplace.

“Restricting the sharing of gears and encouraging persons who are feeling unwell to stay home, as well as rearranging the lunchroom to adhere to social distancing protocols, are a few other ways manufacturers can limit the spread of the virus within the manufacturing zone,” she shared.

Mrs. Henry pointed out that there is no evidence to suggest that COVID-19 is transmitted from humans to food, as the virus is primarily transferred from human to human, so it is highly unlikely that someone can contract the virus from poorly packaged foods.

She is, nonetheless, encouraging consumers to wash food cans and packages before opening them.

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