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Positive Activities for Young People Team Leader, Luton Borough Council
Food Safety Consultancy
Choosing the Correct Food Safety Management System
Today I have been working with a local food safety enforcement authority. I was
sat next to a school caterer who ran several school restaurants. She was with her lead authority environmental health officer; both were working on the school caterer’s HACCP system, which was a long and detailed document.
Apparently the enforcement officer was interest in improving the HACCP system because it had too many critical control points, nearly 30. At first the process was quite interesting, but as morning became late afternoon, a serious headache came on. They had both managed to reduce the number of CCPs, but as the EHO asked questions and reviewed the procedures even more closely other weaknesses appeared that needed to be fixed.
When they had both gone I asked, how long have they been working on that HACCP plan and was shocked to discover they had over the last couple of months invested 5 working days and were still not near a conclusion.
The problem as I could see was that her operation was very simple, but her HACCP plan was more suited to a much more complex service. In my mind I went back to my HACCP post graduate certificate training with Carol Wallace at UCLAN. One of the first lessons was about choosing the right type of HACCP plan for your operation. There are many systems based on HACCP to choose from, Safer Food Better Business (SFBB), Cook Safe, Safe Catering and Menu Safe all being very popular for small businesses and for larger business assured safe catering and the USA’s FDA model Managing Food Safely. There is also the option to create a HACCP system and prerequisite program from scratch, but this is for persons who have had formal HACCP training.
Choosing the correct system for your business is vital, for a small food outlet, implementation can be done for less than £200, incorrectly many thousands of pounds. SFBB is the easiest system to install, each of the 5 modules taking an experience food manager approximately 1 hour to annotate to the business. Training for SFBB is on-line and is directly linked to the controls detailed in the system. If staff and the person maintaining the HACCP follow the on-line training and complete the food safe diary no additional training is required.
How I bet that the school catering manager wishes she had had sound advice when choosing her system, it may never work as well as she and her lead authority hope. Introducing any HACCP system without help from an experience practitioner is possible but can be very time consuming and rarely does the user get the most out of the system.
The FSA knew this when they first introduced SFBB. They provided funding for local authorities to offered mentoring and a consultant to help introduce the system effectively into a business. Such funding has now dried up, and assistance from local authorities thin on the ground.
I would recommend to anyone who is starting a food business or is running a food business with no HACCP system or one that is a poor fit with them to work with an experienced food safety practitioner. In the case of SFBB, just one day would be required to set the system up correctly and train the person responsible for maintaining the system. Of course if you choose RSA environmental health we will also provide follow up telephone and email support.
Anthony Bowmer, January 2012
RSA Food Safety Consultancy services include:
The benefits of using a Food Safety Consultant from RSA include:
- Improvement in standards of cleanliness, food hygiene and safety
- Peace of mind knowing that you are compliant with Food safety legislation
- Development of a food safety culture from all employees pulling in the same direction
- Well trained and competent staff means less management and supervision is required
- Less food wastage and problems with food pests
- Reduction in complaints
- Less risk of giving people food poisoning
- Higher star ratings from the Local Authority inspections
- Having a “Due-Diligence” defence should the need arise
For a full description of the services we offer to help you achieve the standards that you require, contact us now or speak to our friendly and knowledgeable staff.
Why use RSA for Food Safety?
RSA Food Safety has been operating since 1997, providing food safety advice to businesses of all types and sizes, from large hotels to small coffee shops and from food manufacturers to cruise ships. We are experienced across all sectors. We only use fully qualified and experienced Environmental Health Practitioners and Food Safety Consultants to provide you with the best advice available. In addition, because our services are tailored to exactly match what you require, we ensure that we are as cost-effective as possible.
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