Food Production Systems

Food Production Systems

A food production system has three parts...

  1. Input: The different ingredients, materials, machinery and items which go into the system.
  2. Process: The different things that happen to the Input which change it into the Output.
  3. Output: The finished food product.

For example: when making cakes the food production system would be...

Input: Process: Output:
Eggs, sugar, flour, etc. Beating, baking Fairy cakes
Food Production Systems

Care must be taken at all stages of a food's development - from production through to consumption - to ensure that it is safe and of high quality.

This table shows you what precautions are taken during the food production process...

Production: Raw materials must be of high quality.
Storage: High-risk foods should be stored below 5 degrees Celsius.
Preparation: Equipment and food handlers must comply with hygiene regulations.
Cooking: Food must be cooked thoroughly to prevent food poisoning.
Transportation: Temperature control may be necessary for high-risk foods.
Serving: Food must be kept below 5 degrees Celsius or above 63 degrees Celsius.
Food Production Systems

If a food manufacturer wishes to produce products which are of high and consistent quality s/he will need to identify areas of production where inaccuracies (hazards) could occur. These inaccuracies are known as hazards.

The food manufacturer must then design checks to be put into place to prevent hazards from occurring.

For example...

If a packet of cookies is to contain biscuits which are identical in weight, shape and appearance, regular checks will be needed throughout the production process. Variations would not only be unacceptable to the consumer, but may actually break the law (for instance, if weights were not as stated on the packaging).

The first stage will be to write a product specification, which will lay down the exact details of a product - for example, its size, shape, colour, storage life and packaging.

The manufacturer will then carry out a risk assessment that will identify what could go wrong and then specify how the problem will be dealt with.

This whole process is usually known as H.A.C.C.Ps:

Food Production Systems

A team of people will identify the hazards, which could be from micro-organisms, chemicals, people or machinery.

A CCP (Critical Control Point) could be any part of the production process, which could affect the finished quality of the product.

For example...

Weighing of ingredients Before and after preparation/cooking.
Time Of cooking, chilling, mixing, etc.
Shaping Of mixtures, division of dough, etc.
Temperature Storage of foods, cooking and chilling.
Consistency of mixtures During making and when cooked/chilled or stored.
Hygiene Of raw ingredients, food handlers, machinery and the finished dish.

Each of the CCPs will have a tolerance level - for example, food could be cooked for between 20 and 22 minutes. These may also be known as critical limits.

Once these CCPs have been identified, checks can be put in place that will monitor a product's progress through the production process.

These checks could be...

  1. Visual: Checking decorations on cakes, or the colour of a mixture.
  2. Electronic: Fridge/freezer thermometers, timing devices.
  3. Scientific: Carrying out microbe checks on equipment.

Many of these checks can be monitored by computer and require very little intervention from food production workers. Continuous monitoring will give feedback on all stages of production and action can be taken quickly to remedy any problems. Early detection of problems can prevent waste of ingredients and reduce the need to shut down the whole production line, which would be both costly and time consuming.

This is the method used to check and test a product as it is made.

When a product prototype gets into production, the following checks need to be made...

  • Quality of ingredients
  • Working to designated tolerances (for instance, exact size/weight/viscosity/etc.)
  • Sizes/thickness/quantities
  • Shape
  • Texture
  • Colour
  • Uniformity

You can show how quality control is achieved in your design folder by...

  • Identifying the stages in the production of your food prototype.
  • Using the list given above to prompt ideas for checks.
  • Thinking about how you can carry out checks for quality at each stage.
  • Describing the checks that you will make.
  • Showing how you will correct problems after checks have been made.

These are ready-prepared ingredients used during the manufacture of the food products.

For example: Pizza bases, flaky pastry, mayonnaise, grated cheese and chopped vegetables.

Food Production Systems

Advantages of using standard food components:

  1. Products are of a constant quality, size, shape and flavour.
  2. It saves time and therefore money.

Disadvantages of using standard food components:

  1. Products must be available, in the right quality, whenever they are required.
  2. Food producer has no input into the quality or production of the standard food component.
  3. Prices may rise without warning.