Establishing and Expanding Brewery Food Safety Programs

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All breweries have food safety regulatory obligations and should consider creating food safety programs that go beyond just the regulatory requirements. Whether you are a packaging brewery, taproom brewery, or brewpub, you should be frequently reviewing and putting into action measures to keep your products free from hazards and your customers safe. Although beer is typically inherently safe from typical food-borne pathogens, there are other hazards, such as chemical, physical, and allergen contaminants, that need to be controlled and mitigated within your processes. Additionally, if any of these inherent safety controls are changed or removed due to new innovations and production techniques, your risk potential may increase and require you to reevaluate your food safety controls.

Food Safety Foundations

Develop a familiarity and basic understanding of what safety controls are inherent to beer, and why they are important when evaluating food safety in your brewery.

Good Manufacturing Practices and FSMA Compliance

Current U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations require all breweries to have an active food safety program with a developed Good Manufacturing Practices for Craft Brewers (GMPCBs) system in place. From there, it can be overwhelming figuring out what is legally required of your brewery as you navigate FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) laws. The Brewers Association (BA) has developed a comprehensive set of tools to help members navigate the ins and outs of food safety regulations, and get you started on developing your in-house documentation.

Brewery Traceability

Responsibility to maintain food safety doesn’t stop once the product leaves the production facility. If for some reason, be it a safety hazard or quality issue caught after the product enters the market, you need to recall a product, you will need another set of tools—known as traceability—in place as well. The BA has developed resources for its packaging members on how to get started.