How to draft a Manual for Good Manufacturing Practices?

Without doubt, Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) are the cornerstones for ensuring smooth operations throughout the food production chain.

In a nutshell, Good Practices are organization and hygiene measurements, and are key to ensuring food safety.

The Manual for Good Manufacturing Practices is the company's guide when it comes to GMP. It describes all the operations performed in the production, from equipment calibration to employee health.

If you work with the storage, distribution, manufacturing and sale of food and are implementing Good Practices in your company, you have probably wondered how to draft a Manual for Good Manufacturing Practices?

If this topic is still a big question mark for you, keep reading this post and learn the step-by-step process to help you draft a Manual specific to your business!

Do I need a Best Practices manual?

Offering customers safe and quality food is a prerequisite to win over customer preference, right? With this in mind, let's go to lesson #1: Brazilian law requires that all companies in the food sector use GMPs and that they be duly documented in a Manual.

Without the Manual for Good Manufacturing Practices, it’s not possible to obtain the establishment’s operation license from ANVISA - National Health Surveillance Agency.

Companies in operation that don’t have Good Practices implemented and documented, can be fined, shut down for a specific period, or even closed down permanently.

Furthermore, for those who want to supply large retail chains and restaurants, or export their products, having the HACCP methodology (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) implemented, along with Good Practices, is a prerequisite for obtaining this compliance certificate.

You might be wondering if there’s a ready-made template for this document. No, there isn’t! The Manual is unique for each establishment, because it’s structured according to the processes performed and its particularities.

For example, if you own a retail chain with more than one branch, however similar they may be, each unit must have its own individualized Manual.

Attention: Food traceability is one of the requirements for implementing Good Practices properly! If you haven’t delved into this topic yet, talk to one of our experts and we will explain how you can comply with this requirement.

What should my Manual contain?

Now that you understand that Good Manufacturing Practices are synonymous with Food Safety, let's go to lesson #2: Your manual must cover not only the cleaning of the production environment, but also the selection of suppliers, pre-preparation, preparation, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution, and how it’s displayed to be sold to consumers.

This, always taking into consideration the segment in which you operate, of course.

Retailers, for example, need to pay attention to a product display that prioritizes hygiene and the easy viewing for the consumer, a point that doesn’t need to be described in the Manual for distributors and industries.

Simply put, the Manual should be true to your work routine, encompassing at least the following:

  • Identification of the establishment
  • Documentation
  • Physical structure
  • Flowchart
  • Equipment and utensils
  • Qualification of suppliers
  • Production
  • Storage
  • Transportation and distribution
  • Environmental control
  • Waste management
  • Personal care
  • The production area’s hygiene
  • Standard Operating Procedures in attachments
  • Work instructions
  • Specifications, if used.

Drafting the Manual

When you buy a new appliance and want to understand how it works you turn to the instruction manual, right? It needs to be written in a clear manner so that anyone reading it can understand and follow the instructions.

The same goes for the development of the Manual for Good Manufacturing Practices, which must be drafted in an objective manner so that all production employees can understand it.

The Manual must be faithful to the physical structure and stages of the process, and must be kept up to date, reviewed at least once a year.

You’ll need to rely on the help from a technician qualified in food safety in order to draft the Manual, so that it’s compliant with the law and your company is prepared for a visit from the Sanitary Surveillance, for example.

As mentioned earlier, there’s no ready-made template that can be copied for the drafting of the Manual. To provide you with a reference and take the first step, we provide an example of a Good Practices Manual.

Remember that if this document is copied, it can generate nonconformities. Find a qualified professional to develop your company's Manual correctly.

Team Training

This is a fact: there’s no point in having a written Manual if the activities described in it are not applied in the daily routine.

Employees need to understand what Good Manufacturing Practices are and their importance. In addition, the responsibility of each employee related to his or her role must be made clear in terms of personal and work environment hygiene, uniforms, and the personal protective equipment (PPE) that must be used.

Employees can consult the Manual whenever they have any questions, since it’s the guide for the entire company.

Everyone understands that food is one of the most important factors in terms of people's health. Implementing Good Practices and structuring the Manual is a necessary step to give maximum attention to how food is handled.

Keeping the GMP Manual up to date is your commitment to employees and consumers. Only by doing so can we see "what" will be done, "when", "how" and "by whom", i.e. each employee is made aware of his or her responsibilities.