Ricochet News

Get serious about food safety

By Jo-Anne Hanekom: Senior Food Safety Consultant - Oct 17, 2018
Get serious about food safety

Recently a number of foodborne illnesses occurred worldwide which aroused concern and anxiety within the food industry. This, in turn, placed food safety under the spotlight. Most of these foodborne illnesses are caused by mishandling or improper preparation and/or storage of food by food handlers.

In order to ensure proper food safety and to prevent food contamination, all food related businesses including food service organizations should comply with the existing food regulations as well as prepare their own Food Safety Plan (FSP). The FSP should be based on the principles of the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) system.

HACCP adopts a proactive approach to anticipate the occurrence of potential problems during the food production process and to implement measures designed to prevent the occurrence of these problems.

An FSP is designed to identify and prevent possible food safety problems (hazards) in order to enhance food safety. The problems may relate to a multitude of factors which may include: the purchase, receiving, storage, preparation, cooking, packaging, transport or display of food.

Appropriate implementation of the FSP elements, together with the application of some basic practices (e.g. cleaning and sanitation, personal hygiene, pest control, waste disposal, and staff training), will certainly prevent food safety problems during the food production activity.

Supplier management plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining sustainability. Compliant suppliers with proper traceability procedures are critical to any successful company’s food safety vision.

Adequate training and distribution of information to both the public and food-related businesses, will create a better understanding of how food can become contaminated and how foodborne illnesses can be avoided through proper food-handling procedures. Each food business must decide what training their food-handlers need by identifying the highest risk areas of their workplace that are most likely to be affected by food hygiene and general safety.

Consequences of food-poisoning

Management of all food enterprises must realise the importance of implementing and maintaining a good food management plan. Reducing food safety should not be considered when trying to cut financial costs as this will have a devastating impact on the business and the economy. The consequences of food-poisoning and other related medicals conditions due to a lack of proper food safety practices may be the cause of many negative, financial and emotional disasters.

Consumer complaints should be a priority as this reflects possible issues that may be overlooked by management during food production. Depending upon the results of the investigation, appropriate amendments to the FSP should be made where necessary with immediate effect to prevent occurrence.

There is a variety of worldwide food safety regulations, the most popular systems are ISO22000 (International Organization for Standardisation), BRC (British Retail Consortium), IFS (International Food Standard), Global G.A.P (The Worldwide Standard for Good Agriculture Practices) and lastly HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point). Although these standards provides guidance on how you should manage your operations, the key lies in good management principles.

Management must drive the moral obligation of providing a product that is safe for all to enjoy whether they are a small, medium or large enterprise. Get serious about Food Safety and ensure the Everyone Goes Home Healthy and Safe.

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