Sanitation Standard Operating Procedures is the common name give to the sanitation procedures in food production plants which are required by the Food Safety and Inspection Service of the USDA and regulated by 9 CFR part 416 in conjunction with 21 CFR part 178.1010. It is considered one of the prerequisite programs of HACCP.
A clean surface is defined as being free from soil (e.g. food residues), free from bad odours, be non-greasy to the touch and have no visible oxidation (e.g. rust). A sanitized clean surface is defined as a clean surface that is substantially free from pathogenic microorganisms and undesirable numbers of spoilage microorganisms. Cleaning prior to sanitizing is recommended as it increases the effectiveness of the sanitizing step. Effective cleaning and sanitation programs are required to achieve the correct level of hygiene in food handling or production facilities. If these are not adhered to there is a greater risk of food becoming contaminated by pathogenic or spoilage microorganisms.
Food processing is a procedure in which food is prepared for consumption. People often use this term to refer specifically to making packaged foods, but technically anything which transforms raw ingredients into something else is a form of food processing, ranging from grilling vegetables in the back yard to making television dinners in a food manufacturing facility. The food processing sector employs large numbers of people, many of whom are unskilled labourers. There are several purposes to food processing. The most basic goal is to prepare food which is palatable. This can include processing ingredients which are not safe to eat raw, flavouring foods to make them more interesting, and making dishes which comply with cultural and religions norms surrounding food, in addition to addressing issues such as allergies. Food processing is also usually intended to make food which is nutritious, and can include activities such as food fortification, in which vitamins and minerals are added to food during processing to increase the nutritional value. Safety is also a major concern in food processing, especially industrial food processing to create packaged foods which are sold commercially. These facilities can be easily contaminated and the contamination can quickly spread, causing widespread illness. Part of making food safe includes processing it to remove any potential risks, such as bacteria in milk, in addition to maintaining strict safety procedures to reduce the risk of introducing harmful organisms during food processing.
Benefits of food processing include toxin removal, preservation, easing marketing and distribution tasks, and increasing food consistency. In addition, it increases seasonal availability of many foods, enables transportation of delicate perishable foods across long distances and makes many kinds of foods safe to eat by de-activating spoilage and pathogenic micro-organisms. Modern supermarkets would not exist without modern food processing techniques, long voyages would not be possible and military campaigns would be significantly more difficult and costly to execute. Processed foods are usually less susceptible to early spoilage than fresh foods and are better suited for long distance transportation from the source to the consumer. When they were first introduced, some processed foods helped to alleviate food shortages and improved the overall nutrition of populations as it made many new foods available to the masses. Processing can also reduce the incidence of food borne disease. Fresh materials, such as fresh produce and raw meats, are more likely to harbour pathogenic micro-organisms (e.g. Salmonella) capable of causing serious illnesses. The extremely varied modern diet is only truly possible on a wide scale because of food processing. Transportation of more exotic foods, as well as the elimination of...