Tag Archive for 'Food Safety Programs'

Ensure Staff Prepare Food Correctly – Even When You’re Not There

If you work in a professional kitchen, particularly in a demanding city like Melbourne, you know that every night there is a lot at stake. Not only do you need to make sure that you are putting out great food, you also need to ensure that you are subscribing to the highest standards when it comes to food safety and hygiene.

Illness, a loss of reputation and even legal action are just some of the negative side effects that can occur when you start playing fast and loose with food safety. As a restaurant manager you have a responsibility to make certain that your restaurant is doing all that is necessary to meet the various challenges that food safety poses.

The first thing that you need to think about is education.  No matter how experienced your kitchen staff are, make sure that they have all the information they need to be able to conduct themselves appropriately in a food preparation location.

Some food safety procedures are fairly straightforward, others are not.  Make sure that everyone on the floor understands the measures that are taken and why they are necessary. Also make sure that they understand that no matter what kind of rush they are in, this is not something that they can be lax about!

Another area that you consider is proper food storage. While of course you will be able to set some things up to run permanently, like the temperature of your refrigerator or freezer, also keep in mind that there are things that need to be done to ensure that food is not contaminated before it even gets to the cook!  Remember, for instance, that meat should always be stored on the lowest shelf possible, as there is a chance that even a slight drop in temperature will cause it to melt and drip, contaminating the food below it.  Also, raw food and cooked food must always be kept separate.

Your staff must also be aware of the fact that they have a responsibility when it comes to keeping their areas clean.  For instance, dishes, utensils and surfaces need to be cleaned and dried, with a strong preference for things to air dry. Similarly, all equipment that comes in contact with food needs to be sanitized in some fashion between tasks and before every use.  All equipment that comes in contact with food, whether it is for transporting the food or serving or preparing it, must also be cleaned.

The consequences of taking food sanitation too lightly can be severe.  You have a responsibility to ensure the safety of your guests, and a failure to do so can result in some extremely negative consequences.

Remember that consulting with an expert can save you a great deal of grief down the road, so if you are feeling nervous about the issue, make sure that you consider the services of a food safety expert who can offer valuable advice, perhaps even provide a suitable food safety program, to ensure that your restaurant runs smoothly and meets or even exceeds the food safety legislation. Peace of mind in this area will enable you to focus on providing your customers with the most enjoyable dining experience possible.

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

How to Keep Your Food Preparation Area in Full Legal Compliance

If you operate a business in which food is a main staple, food safety should be at the top of your priority list. Not only do you have the legal requirements to keep your kitchen and food preparation areas in good, safe conditions. But you also have an obligation to your customers to keep the things they eat and go into their mouth, clean, safe, and of the highest quality.

Health departments and food safety departments outline all requirements; food safety procedures and kitchen procedures that must be followed by every establishment. What happens if you do not follow these requirements? Well, most importantly you run the risk of hurting your customers. All it takes is for one customer to have an illness or unsanitary problem with their food and your business could take a downfall.

When it comes to commercial kitchen food safety, there are requirements to meet in regards to food storage, food preparation, and safe food handling. These requirements are all geared towards preventing illnesses and diseases that could arise when food is improperly handled, cooked, and stored.

Some food safety requirements within Australia include:

Keeping foods that are deemed potentially hazardous at the correct temperature. In most cases, it is really straight-forward. If foods must be frozen, freeze them at temperatures below 5 degrees Celsius. The guidelines also dictate storage of food. Not only should it be stored at the correct temperature, but it should also be stored to provide protection from any contamination and within conditions that will have no affect on the food in terms of suitability and safety.

There are also regulations that dictate how to reheat food. Foods that are deemed potentially hazardous should be reheated quickly. The foods should be heated to at least 60 degrees Celsius and done so at a rapid pace.

If you are displaying food, you should make sure that you are using different serving utensils for each type of food. Cross food contamination is perhaps the easiest of all contamination processes so it should be carefully guarded against.

With the number of laws and regulations provided in regards to food safety, it can be easy to forget or overlook. However, you need to remember that all it takes is just one bad review or a customer to have a negative experience to ruin the reputation of your business. Therefore, it is a good idea to seek advice from a reputable food safety business in order to help you keep your kitchen safe and your equipment in meeting legal standards.

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

AGB Solutions client Travel Essentials achieves HACCP certification

AGB Solutions are pleased to announce that Travel Essentials Pty Ltd have achieved HACCP certification. Travel Essentials Pty Ltd is a Melbourne-based company that supplies portable catering packs and corporate gifts under the Travelfare brand. The company’s focus is meeting the needs of travellers with innovative, quality solutions.

Examples of these solutions are contained below:

Red wine pack

Breakfast to go pack

Horse racing carnival pack

Red wine pack

Breakfast to go pack

Horse racing carnival pack

Pamper pack

Travel Essentials commenced business in late 2004, primarily supplying breakfast packs for guests in hotels and serviced apartments. Later, the company began providing packs for conferences, events and as corporate gifts.

Angus McLeay, Managing Director of Travel Essentials tells me that “Our packs are ideal for off-site venues, travellers and major events. They are light, easily transported, typically shelf stable, and can suit a wide variety of purposes…Travelfare packs have been used on trains, for convenient breakfasts, for day trip snacks, bus groups and for arrival / welcome gifts for delegates.” A perfect example of the style of Travelfare packs is the new Pamper pack (photo above) – a collection of pampering tools for travellers, safe to take on board in hand luggage, and a presentable corporate gift – all for $10.00 (inc. GST).

As well as traveller packs Travel Essentials can custom make packs to suit client needs for Corporate retreats, events and Promotional Kits.

Travelfare packs have featured in the New Products Showcase at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Exhibition (AIME 2008), the packs have also been shown on travel segments on Channel 10’s “9am with David and Kim”, and on Channel 7’s “Coxy’s Big Break”.

Travel Essentials was a finalist in the Quest Serviced Apartment Supplier Awards, 2007 and has Preferred Supplier status with a number of national accommodation chains and ANZ Bank.

If you are interested in any of these products, you can contact Angus McLeay:

P: (03) 9804 0099

E: angusmc@travelessentials.com.au

W: www.travelessentials.com.au

Travel Essentials Pty Ltd contacted AGB Solutions late last year, as one of their main customers (the Accor Hotel Group) had decided that all suppliers of food and beverages needed to be HACCP Certified. Now Travel Essentials Pty Ltd, is not what we would call a “typical” client. When we commenced the development of HACCP for Travel Essentials Pty Ltd, they only had one employee. That’s right ONE employee. Many companies I speak to think that HACCP is only for big companies. We have implemented HACCP for fourth generation family businesses to start up businesses with only one employee. HACCP is an internationally recognised preventative management system, and the same principles apply to multi national companies. Travel Essentials Pty Ltd have been able to implement these principles to their business, ensuring that their products are safer than their competitors.

In fact, one of Travel Essentials Pty Ltd main competitors advertises that their packs “(company name) offers it’s clients leading brand name products produced in HACCP accredited premises”.

Now this is a warning for everyone. This company WASN’T HACCP certified. When quizzed on their HACCP status, they repeated the above statement, which I found confusing. When I quizzed them further, they clarified the statement by saying that they were NOT HACCP certified; they were only stating that their suppliers were.

How many of your suppliers may be telling you the same thing? We suggest that you get a copy of their HACCP certificate to verify certification, and update your copy when it expires. Some companies loose their HACCP certification. It is also important to check the scope that is on the certificate, to ensure that it covers the products they are supplying you. Some companies get parts of their business or particular products HACCP certified, rather than their entire production range.

If you are thinking that you need HACCP, please contact Gavin now: gavin@agbsolutions.com.au or download our HACCP Whitepaper from www.agbsolutions.com.au.