Tag Archive for 'Food Safety Audits'

Food Safety Audit Update

In my previous post, I sent you information on the new audit guidelines for Vulnerable Persons (VP) in NSW.

At the session, John Fallon from the New South Wales Food Authority (NSWFA) explained that there are only 22 approved external third party auditors in NSW.

He provided an enforcement update on all VP audits that have been conducted (by NSWFA employed auditors and external third party auditors).

He indicated that the top TWO problems encountered during audits were:

  • Ineffective monitoring records
  • Not complying with there food safety program

#1 Non Conformance: “Ineffective” Monitoring records

This included:

  • Not having records in place
  • Missing records or records not available
  • Completed records not identifying issues (i.e. Temperatures recorded outside critical limits)
  • No recorded corrective action when problems were identified
  • Supervisor signing off on incomplete or incorrect records

It is stated in the VP Guidelines that IT IS a requirement for someone to check all completed records. Even though it is not a requirement for records to be signed, we certainly recommend this practice to our clients.

We have a client who purchased from a newsagent, an “APPROVED” stamp and the person doing the checking stamps the monitoring record and signs above where it was stamped. I think this is a simple and effective means of verifying your records. You still need to make sure that the person who does the “approving” actually checks that the record has been completed correctly.

#2 Non Conformance: “Not complying with their food safety program”

Remember a couple of days ago I told you that your program should:

“Say as you do” and you should “Do as you say”.

Consistent areas where Corrective Action Requests (CARs) were raised included:

  • Labeling techniques used
  • Content of an internal audit – The internal audit process did not include a review of their food safety program. (Note: The findings of the internal audit should reflect what is found at an external audit)
  • Good manufacturing practices
  • Allergen management

The NSWFA will continue to monitor ALL Vulnerable Persons facilities (including businesses with Third Party Auditor (TPA) approval) and the Proprietor of the facility is responsible for ensuring that an audit is organised.

All VP audits conducted in NSW are reported electronically to the NSWFA. Every month, the NSWFA runs a report on facilities that are overdue for an audit. The following process is applied:

  • If overdue by 3 months they will be sent a “reminder letter”
  • If overdue by 6 months they will be sent a “warning letter”
  • Failure to comply will result in a $1320 penalty for corporations
    and $660 for individuals.

All scheduled audits must be conducted within the allocated 6 or 12 month period.

Your license cannot be renewed if there are any outstanding audits that have not been conducted.

Outbreak: A Food Professionals Worst Nightmare

If you have cooked in or run a restaurant in Melbourne, you know that you are playing to a tough crowd!  Not only does the city have great restaurants serving all types of food at a range of prices, but you will also find that it is a town with a long memory.

If you give your customers a great dining experience, you can bet that they will be back for more and that they will tell their friends, but if you mess up, word is certainly going to get around. Every restaurant manager fears a food poisoning outbreak, but if you work in Melbourne, you may have more reason than most to be frightened of it.

When you are looking at a food poisoning outbreak, you are looking at your restaurant getting a lot of publicity that it doesn’t need. You’ll find that you may be risking a citation or a warning at best, and complete shut-down at worst. This is how important adequate food safety and hygiene is to your restaurant.

Guests who are unlucky enough to eat at a time when your food safety isn’t as high as it should be may become quite sick, and while many cases of food poisoning can be quite mild, others are extremely severe or unpleasant. This is most common when children or people with weakened immune systems are exposed to tainted food.

Bacteria may easily exist on raw food like eggs, seafood, uncooked rice, or even raw vegetables.  For the most part, good washing practices and cooking will take care of the problems there, but if these foods come into contact with food that has already been prepared, the bacteria are able to pass themselves on. Some bacteria can even be transferred through unwashed hands onto food that is ready to serve. Other pathogens or bacteria will develop on food that as been allowed to grow too warm or that has begun to spoil.

There are many different ways to prevent a food poisoning outbreak. The first and most obvious thing that you need to think about is the fact that your staff need food safety training: to be taught how to handle and prepare food. Strict regulations about hand washing and sanitation on the food preparation floor are things that you really need to drill home.

You will also find that good storage, where raw food is never permitted to come in contact with food that is ready to serve is something that all staff need to be aware of. It is important to establish routine to ensure that staff form good hygiene habits.

The truth of the matter is that there is a multitude of different ways that a food poisoning outbreak can occur, but you don’t need to live in fear. Most restaurant managers aren’t experts in food safety, which is why they will enlist the services of a good food safety expert before anything goes wrong. If you want to make sure that nothing gets overlooked in the food safety of your restaurant, talk to an expert.  If you are cooking in Melbourne, you already know that you are playing to a tough crowd, so don’t make it any harder than it has to be!

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or through his website at www.agbsolutions.com.au.

Gavin’s Success is No Accident

Featured in Food Processing News

Recently, Food Processing News did a write up about me – Gavin Buckett, in their Spring 2008 edition. While I generally avoid the limelight, I thought I might share the story with you, my devoted blog readers.

Here goes:

Gavin Buckett completed the Diploma of Food Technology in 2002 and the Diploma of Confectionery Manufacturing in 2003.

Gavin found a passion for food through a part time job while studying Accounting in 1989 and has been involved in the food industry ever since. Fifteen years cooking included winning the Blue Flame Award for Victorian Apprentice of the Year and the Daryl Cox Memorial Trophy. Work also included stints in Singapore and Malaysia.

In 2003, while still cooking, Gavin gained tertiary qualifications in Food Technology and Confectionery Manufacturing at William Angliss Institute.

Gavin is a registered food safety auditor and food safety trainer and specialises in the preparation of HACCP certified food management systems and food allergen management solutions.

“I went to William Angliss Institute for a couple of years studying Food Technology and Confectionery Manufacturing. At the graduation dinner for the course, I was talking to the course coordinator and he gave me the contact details of someone who he said I should call. So I rang her up and introduced myself. She had a client who needed help achieving HACCP accreditation and had too much work on. We developed a relationship and I began to take on her overflow work.” That’s how I started my business in 2003 – totally by accident! I made one phone call and all of a sudden I needed an ABN.”

“I started AGB Solutions Pty Ltd with my wife, Angela in 2005. We are a specialist provider of Food Safety Solutions and Quality Assurance Services to all areas of the food industry including food and beverage manufacturers, distributors, restaurants, caterers, hospitals and aged care facilities to name just a few.”

Future plans for AGB Solutions include working closely with the DHS on the allergen training project, preparation of web based manuals for commercial and domestic clients, an increased range of specialised food safety products and regular food safety based workshops.

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or through his website at www.australianfoodsafety.com.au.

HACCP Clients in 3 States

3 Different businesses in 3 states achieve HACCP in
the one week!

What a busy week the last week of September 2008 was for AGB Solutions. AGB Solutions had three clients all have their HACCP implementation audit in the same week. There were a number of unique points about this achievement:

  1. It was the first time that we have had three implementation audits in the same week
  2. It was the first time that we have had a non food business achieve HACCP certification
  3. It was the first time that we have had a non Victorian client become HACCP certified

In fact ALL three clients were non Victorian businesses. We are certainly proud to let you know that we have now had HACCP programs certified in Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania. In fact we are not stopping with these three clients. We are currently in discussions with prospective clients in Sydney, Adelaide, Launceston and on the Sunshine Coast, as well as a number of Melbourne and regional Victoria based businesses.

AGB Solutions would like to congratulate the following companies on achieving HACCP Certification:

  1. QT Trading Pty Ltd in Sydney.
  2. Humico Pty Ltd on the Gold Coast
  3. Central Choice Foods in Launceston

I will be creating separate blogs in coming weeks on all three companies, however in case you can’t wait to know what they do:

QT Trading Pty Ltd is an importer and wholesaler of a range of black and green leaf tea products produced by the German tea house Ronnefeldt. Ronnefeldt was established in 1823 and is engaged in blending and packaging of teas grown and processed in the most popular tea grouping areas such as India, Sri Lanka and China. QT Trading has the Australian, New Zealand and Fiji distribution rights for Ronnefeldt Tea, and supply exclusively to guests in 5 star hotels, boutique accommodation, casinos’ and guest houses. These include:

  1. Accor Hotel Group (Sofitel and Novotel)
  2. Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt Hotels
  3. Crown Casino
  4. The Windsor Hotel Melbourne

If you are interested in tea check out www.ronnefeldt.com and contact Igor at ronnefeldt@optusnet.com.au. My favourite tea is the Irish Malt variety (The extravagant aroma of Irish Whisky with a hint of cocoa blended with a malty Assam tea). YUM!

Humico Pty Ltd provides environmental solutions for any business utilising refrigeration like hotels, restaurants, hospitals, butchers, cafes, supermarkets etc.

Humico Pty Ltd supply and service a humidity and bacteria control filter that when placed into a refrigerated environment between -20˚ C to +15˚ C; functions as a humidity buffer by controlling humidity levels to assist refrigeration equipment to achieve optimal storage conditions FASTER and more EFFICIENTLY, REDUCING COSTS and INCREASING PROFITS!

A non toxic filter that reduces your energy costs and servicing AND increases the shelf life of the contents of the refrigerated environment, that has AQIS approval for use in meat establishments, is HACCP Certified and has service technicians Australia Wide? Think you want to find out more? Check out www.humico.com.au contact Steve Dods at steved@humico.com.au.

Central Choice Foods is an eighteen month old Food Warehouse and Distribution Company that is owned and operated by Tasmanians that services the northern part of Tasmania within the 063 and 064 telephone area codes.

Central Choice Foods does not carry thousands and thousands of products like some other wholesalers. They instead specialise in a core group of products including:

  1. Smallgoods
  2. Fresh and frozen meats
  3. Frozen Fish and seafood products
  4. Frozen Poultry
  5. Frozen Cakes
  6. Pastries and puddings
  7. Cream and cheese
  8. Biscuits
  9. Condiments including honey, vinegars, mayonnaises and sauces
  10. Antipastos

Central Choice Foods are also an approved distributor of Primo Smallgoods.

Are you in Northern Tasmania and want to be serviced by a HACCP certified family owned company? Contact Debbie Ratcliffe now at debbie@centralchoicefoods.com.au.

Are you wanting to join this list of HACCP Certified businesses?

Contact Gavin NOW and find out why Steve from Humico stated that AGB Solutions provided

“Great service and was genuinely interested in the success of the program that was designed for our company”

and why Igor from QT Trading emailed us in the middle of the night to tell us:

“Thank you very much for the congratulations that you sent to me. Your contribution to our successful certification was the main factor in QT Trading achieving HACCP certification.

I appreciate your offer to assist me with the verification activities for the next twelve months; in fact it is gladly accepted! There is no doubt that our business needs your expertise in the food industry and being associated with AGB Solutions Pty Ltd makes me feel like I am always playing for the winning team!  Please find attached the completed feedback form. I did not have any other opinion but to mark your performance as “exceptional” across the board.”

Gavin can be contacted at gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or by calling 0422 922 883