The strategic Bakery Industry Forum (BIF) within the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers and Allieds (BEMA) recently has taken on the task of developing an Overall Risk Assessment (ORA) checklist to help address a comprehensive list of aspects related to grain-based product manufacturing, including:

  • Risk Management
  • Environmental
  • Fire Protection
  • Industrial Hygiene and Safety
  • Technical Safety—Combustion and Thermal Safety
  • Technical Safety—Process & Pressure Vessel Safety
  • Technical Safety—Electrical Power Systems Safety
  • Technical Safety—Welding Safety
  • Technical Safety—Fire
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (U.S. only)
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation, DOT (U.S. only)
  • Security—Project
  • Structural Issues
  • Building Code Compliance
  • Food Safety and HACCP
  • Sanitation and Equipment Design
  • Quality Management
  • Product Development Functionality
  • Regulatory

In order to learn more about this BEMA BIF initiative, we reached out to Delia Justable, global sanitary compliance manager, Forbo Siegling, LLC, Huntersville, NC, and Karl Thorson, food safety and sanitation manager, General Mills, Minneapolis. Both are current members of BIF.


SF&WB: What is the Overall Risk Assessment tool?

Delia Justable: The Overall Risk Assessment (ORA) tool is a checklist that drives active discussion around food safety risk. It formalizes responsibility of tasks related to food safety risk and provides accountability of action needed to mitigate food safety risk.


SF&WB: What are its origins?

DJ: We identified an opportunity to provide a user-friendly tool to assess food safety concerns in manufacturing process. Karl Thorson (General Mills), Jeremiah Tilghman (Canyon Bakehouse) and I worked on this project last year and presented it to the BIF committee during our fall 2019 meeting.


SF&WB: How will this tool help improve upon existing methods of food safety risk assessment?

DJ: The ORA tool is designed to identify a project owner who ideally will coordinate the project task completion and reporting discrepancies. This tool identifies the food safety risk in a manufacturing process and assigned task to be completed by departments responsible.

By providing this resource, it is our intent to provide a tool that can help bakers and their suppliers access food safety risk within a manufacturing process. In addition to the ORA tool, Karl provided a supplementary tool aimed at providing guidance for early management of food safety and sanitary design.

Karl Thorson: Yes, the primary purpose of this tool is to mitigate food safety risk, but there are additional benefits. By standardizing the process and bringing the right cross-functional team members (internal and external to the plant) to the table, significant efficiencies can be gained. For example, alignment on cleaning method(s) as part of project early management will support the proper engineering of infrastructure design to support those methods (e.g., wet cleaning: slopped floors and drainage, hot water capacity, wash room space, proper ventilation, compatibility with chemicals, etc.). Upfront discussions will ensure that budget and timing needs are properly addressed for food safety and sanitation, including additional swabbing, testing, cleaning, hold and release criteria, etc.


For more information on the Overall Risk Assessment checklist, email BEMA at or call 913-338-1300.