Good Manufacturing Practice

Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) in the food industry is the series of controls used during production that are aimed at ensuring that all products are consistently manufactured to a quality appropriate to their intended use. GMP aims to produce safe and wholesome food through well-controlled operations that avoid waste and any type of contamination. It should be applied throughout the whole production and supply chain and covers areas such as raw material sourcing, hygienic design of buildings and equipment, production processes, food handling, storage and transport conditions, safety procedures, cleaning procedures and personnel hygiene. The ability to demonstrate the principles and measures involved in GMP and the actions that are taken at a particular manufacturing site are essential to show that all reasonable steps are taken to prevent errors and indeed offences from potentially occurring. The manufacturer of a food product must comply with the relevant legal requirements, including product composition, labelling, safety and hygiene. GMP is an overall system for control and maintenance of quality. In its broadest sense it shows that quality is the responsibility not only of the factory, or group of factories, but also of suppliers, contract manufacturers and all business partners. The principles outlined in GMP have been developed for large-scale food industries, but they apply equally well to retail and catering environments, albeit on smaller scales.

Ideally, production facilities that handle ingredients containing key allergens will be specifically designed and built to enable complete segregation between products containing key allergens and those that are free from those allergens. A factory that produces food containing allergens should ideally have the following properties:

• Dedicated equipment

• Screened-off manufacturing/packing areas

• Dedicated workwear and washing facilities

• Cleaning regimes and pre-use inspections

• Segregated storage areas

• Air flow management/negative air pressure in nut areas.

However, in practice many manufacturing plants are generally used for the production of more than one product, and often one of the products contains a key allergen. Where dedicated equipment is not available for one particular product that contains key allergens, additional controls need to be introduced to control the presence of allergens and prevent contamination of other products with key allergens.

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