The grain milling industry is committed to food safety. We take very seriously our responsibility to ensure that the wholesome foods produced in our mills are not compromised.
Food safety programs in the grain milling industry are designed to help maintain product integrity. Anticipating and preventing unintentional contamination before it occurs is the foundation of the modern, science-based process. Food safety programs may include:
Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point Programs
Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Point (HACCP) is a prevention-based food safety system that identifies, monitors and prevents specific food safety hazards that will adversely affect the safety of food products if not properly managed. HACCP plans identify potential food safety hazards so that key actions can be taken to reduce or eliminate the risk of those hazards. Prevention is the most effective means of ensuring food safety.More than 150 countries have adopted HACCP, making it the global standard in food safety programs.
HACCP programs include pre-requisite programs. The pre-requisite programs include inspection and testing of raw grain as it arrives at the mill, sanitation programs, pest control programs, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), traceability and recall programs, shipping and receiving procedures that cover truck and railcar inspections and sealing, chemical control programs, allergen control programs, customer complaint responses, lab testing procedures, preventative maintenance programs, machinery and equipment programs, supplier programs and grounds and facilities programs. In addition, testing is performed on in-process products.
Good Manufacturing Practices
Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) address the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing processed food. As sanitary and processing standards for producing safe and wholesome food, GMPs are an important part of regulatory control over the safety of the nation’s food supply. GMPs also serve as one basis for U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) inspections.
Food Defense Programs
Food defense programs ensure security of the mill structure. These programs include a combination of requirements for employee background checks, visitor policies, vendor policies, and locked or controlled access to the grounds and buildings.
Routine self-audits ensure that the programs in place are being followed and monitored correctly. Independent third party auditors verify that the procedures stated in the programs are being followed. They also perform a physical inspection of the facility to ensure that the programs and procedures are reflective of industry and company standards and requirements.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention food safety guidance for consumers
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) remind consumers that they should not eat raw food products that are intended for cooking or baking before consumption. Consumers should use safe food-handling practices when preparing such products, including following package directions for cooking at proper temperatures. For more information on food safety, visit http://www.foodsafety.gov.
Flour is milled from cereal grains, such as wheat, which are grown outdoors in fields in a natural environment. As with any crop grown and harvested outdoors in fields, wheat is subject to elements present in the natural environment, which can include pathogenic microorganisms such as bacteria that can cause foodborne illness.
Although dry flour does not provide an environment that is conducive to microbial growth, it is important to understand that flour is a minimally processed agricultural ingredient and is not a ready-to-eat product. Flour is not intended to be consumed raw.
The heat processes of baking, frying, boiling and cooking are adequate to destroy any pathogens that may be present in flour and eliminate any potential risk of foodborne illness.