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Producing Superior Quality Food To Protect Customers

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The last couple of years have provided ample evidence that control of food safety is critical. Recent media reports have clearly shown severe shortcomings in the food industry that have threatened consumers’ health and safety.

Unsafe food is a risk for all of us – consumers can become seriously ill and the food industry can face costly corrective actions. These ongoing problems cry out for additional tools to reduce or eliminate risks. Communication and raising awareness of potential hazards throughout the entire food chain are crucial as food safety is a joint responsibility for all participating parties.

The ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System aims to ensure that there are no weak links in the food supply chain.

Since ISO 22000 was first published in 2005, the standard has been well received by the food industry but new food safety risks prompted the need for a revision. The latest edition was published on 19th June 2018 and maintains a strong link to the Codex Alimentarius standards. It also addresses emerging food safety challenges and aligns the strategic direction of an organisation with its Food Safety Management objectives.

TAILOR-MADE APPROACH


The ISO Food Safety Management System is flexible and can be used by all organisations in the food chain. By using the standard the food industry shares a common food safety language, thus reducing the risk of critical errors and maximising the use of resources. Enterprises that can apply the standard include:

  • Growers
  • Transporters
  • Packagers
  • Processors
  • Retailers
  • Bottlers, and
  • Restaurants

EFFECTIVE LEADERSHIP IS VITAL FOR RESILIENCE

Food companies applying the ISO Food Safety Management System will be able to:

  • Embed and improve internal processes and provide consistently safe food.
  • Provide confidence that their organisation’s practices and procedures are effective and robust.
  • Assure customers and other parties through the certification process that food safety hazards are controlled and that their enterprise can provide safe products.
  • Continually improve their Food Safety Management System by reviewing and updating the system at planned intervals so that all activities related to food safety are always optimised and effective.
  • Ensure adequate control at all stages of the food supply chain to stop the introduction of food safety hazards.

AUDIT AND CERTIFICATION

To increase the acceptance of the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System and ensure that accredited certification programmes are implemented in a professional and trustworthy manner, the technical specification: ISO/TS 22003:2013 Food safety management systems – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of food safety management systems was published in 2007 and reviewed in 2016.

IFS, BRC, ISO 22000 - WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the International Featured Standard (IFS) are standards that are recognised by many European retailers and are now required from suppliers of private-label goods.

BRC and IFS include provisions to prevent malicious acts (food defence) and to manage the authenticity of raw materials (food fraud). This is not the case with ISO 22000:2018 but the 2018 version allows for these provisions to be incorporated into the Food Safety Management System.

LINKS BETWEEN FSSC 22000 VERSION 5 AND ISO 22000

FSSC 22000 or Food Safety System Certification 22000 is a certification system, which incorporates ISO 22000 and other requirements, in particular food fraud and food defence. FSSC 22000 is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and can be used by many agri-food businesses.
All of the GFSI-benchmarked Food Safety Management Systems are based on the following three components which must function as a system to minimise the risks for creating a food safety incident:

  • HACCP
  • PRPs
  • Other requirements needed for a management system

FOOD SAFETY AND RISKS - WHAT'S NEW?

Risk-based thinking plays a central role in the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety standard. Organisations are given the tools to assess, identify and evaluate food safety hazards and address how to reduce their impact on consumers. ISO 22000:2018 follows the risk management principles outlined in the ISO 31000:2018 Risk Management standard but there are differences between the two standards.

Download our FREE Guide to learn about the importance of Risk-based Thinking in Food Safety Management.

A SNAPSHOT OF HOW ISO 22000 REDUCES FOOD SAFETY RISKS

Better processes
Dynamic control of food safety hazards through HACCP and PRPs is a cost-effective way of controlling food safety, from ingredients to production, storage and distribution.

  • HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process.
  • PRPs (Prerequisite Programmes) stipulate the prerequisites for producing safe food in various food sectors.

Better competence
Workers learn good hygiene practices through training programmes.

Better infrastructure
Sites, production flows and factory layouts are arranged for satisfactory sanitary conditions.

Better planning
A clear project plan defines how, when and by whom risks and objectives should be managed.

Better teamwork
Effective communication helps employees work towards the same goal of food safety.

Better leadership
Management shows commitment to food safety through policies, resources and actions.

Better performance
Management reviews performance and objectives regularly to drive continual improvement

Better documentation
Food safety policies, procedures, work instructions and records are carefully documented for reference.

Click here to read about ISO Document and Control procedures and Software Solutions.

The ultimate goal of the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System is to put good quality, safe food on the tables of consumers. Now that’s something to celebrate! Bon appétit!

GETTING STARTED WITH FOOD SAFETY MANAGEMENT

Are you ready to update your Food Safety Management System?

Risk ZA offers a wide range of ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Training courses. Grow your skills by attending our courses which are presented by leading industry experts. Click here to check the training course schedule and find the one that suits you best.

For more information and assistance, please contact our friendly team on
+27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com.

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Win Global Customer & Consumer Trust with ISO FSSC 22000:2018 Food Safety Certification

Food production in Africa is second only to the oil and gas industry with South Africa in the lead as the most advanced food and beverage market on the African continent. Research by Frost & Sullivan estimates growth in this sector of between 4% and 7% by 2020.

South Africa’s food industry, however, faces diverse challenges that are holding it back from reaching its full potential. Food safety is one of these issues. The rapid spread of the deadly listeria outbreak reminds us that a similar crisis could easily strike again if there are slips in food safety and hygiene.

Download our FREE GUIDE: ISO FSSC 22000:2018 – How To Get Started, to find out more.

Foreign competitors like McCain Foods have impressive ISO 22000:2018 food safety and quality management systems in place. Each food production site at McCain’s boasts around 3 000 routine quality controls every day, the type of assurance customers and consumers want. The iconic South African brand Nando’s that have made it big internationally, emphasises the importance of staff training. This investment pays dividends. David Beckham eats there, and they’ve received numerous food quality awards. Nando’s also enjoys lower than average employee turnover for the sector.

To compete more effectively, local food organisations will need to consistently offer cheaper, safer and higher-quality products. This necessitates improving processes and avoiding scandals.The ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems standards have been developed specifically to safeguard safety and quality in the value chain. The ISO FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification Scheme is similar to ISO 22000:2018, but it includes additional requirements that strengthen the management system.

WHAT IS FSSC 22000?

The FSSC 22000 is an ISO-based food safety management system (FSMS) certification scheme that is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). Recognition by the GFSI is a signal to other food manufacturers and retailers that your FSMS conforms to the best available and most current quality and safety requirements.

Version 4.1 of the Scheme was released on January 1, 2018, and certification audits are conducted to this version. These new additions bring the FSSC 22000 up-to-date with the requirement of the US’s FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The focus of the FSMA has shifted in emphasis from reacting to food borne illnesses to preventing them, which is precisely the aim of ISO’s Food Safety Management Systems standards. An organisation that plans to become certified, needs to develop a documented FSMS, which is a crucial component of the management system.

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR FSSC 22000 CERTIFICATION?

Manufacturers that are ISO 22000:2018 certified can obtain full GFSI recognised FSSC 22000 certification by meeting the requirements of the technical specifications (ISO 22003) for sector PRPs and additional FSSC 22000 scheme requirements. Other sector-specific PRPs are available for catering, farming and the packaging industry.  

What are PRPs?

PRPs are an important part of the ISO food safety management standards and audit schemes. A PRP addresses situations within the operation that ensure that hazards are controlled. PRPs are usually managed system-wide compared to Critical Control Points (CCPs), which are product or line specific. Well-designed PRPs provide a solid foundation for an effective Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) program.

The ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Standard defines PRPs, in Section 3.8, as follows:

“basic conditions and activities that are necessary to maintain a hygienic environment throughout the food chain (3.2) suitable for the production, handling and provision of safe end products (3.5) and safe food for human consumption.”

Food processors have three challenges when it comes to developing these programs:

  1. Developing and implementing effective programs.
  2. Maintaining those programs once they have been implemented.
  3. Ensuring that the programs are maintained and will stand up to auditor scrutiny.

We explore developing and managing PRPs, and how to Certify to the World’s finest Food Safety Scheme in our Guide: ISO FSSC 22000:2018: How To Get Started.

 

FSSC GLOBAL MARKETS PROGRAM

The FSSC 22000 Foundation launched the Global Markets Program in January 2017 to suit the needs of food manufacturers and their customers to achieve a conforming food safety system based on minimum food safety requirements.

The Program is based on the GFSI Global Markets Program, and organisations can achieve GFSI recognised certification in 3 steps: foundation level, intermediate level and GFSI recognised certification. The Program is suitable for small food manufacturing organisations like startups or medium-size organisations, especially in emerging markets like South Africa.

FSSC 22000 - QUALITY CERTIFICATION

A voluntary ISO 9001:2015 module has been added to the FSSC 22000 Scheme, making it possible to integrate quality management into the FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System and combine certification.

What are the benefits of FSSC certification?

The FSSC 22000 Food Safety Certification Scheme assists organisations to:

  • Managing risks by providing robust food safety hazards management system.
  • Maintain current customers. Certified companies are asking suppliers to achieve certification.  
  • Large retailers and manufacturers are also asking for certification of their suppliers. Certification opens up a wider market for your products.
  • Certification prepares organisations to meet the requirements of regulators, clients and customers.

WHY WORK WITH RISK ZA?

We work with you to tailor training courses to the specific needs of your Food Safety Management System. Our experts can help you to comply with regulatory requirements and ensure the effective performance of your processes and systems. Contact Risk ZA on +27 (0) 31 569 5900, email info@riskza.com or visit www.riskza.com.

DOWNLOAD OUR FREE GUIDE

Download our FREE Guide: ISO FSSC 22000:2018 – How To Get Started, to find out more.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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SA’s FOOD SAFETY SYSTEM NEEDS URGENT ATTENTION

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Can consumers ever be sure that the food they eat is 100% safe? In short, the answer is, no. We live in an environment where we are constantly exposed to bacteria. However, the recent deadly listeria outbreak, which killed over 200 people in South Africa, has been a major eye opener. Consumers are not only questioning food safety standards, but rightly insisting on a tougher approach to food safety.

Our FREE downloadable guide ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Implementation explores the steps necessary for a successful compliance.

After months of testing and cleaning at its Polokwane facility, Tiger Brands CEO Lawrence MacDougall has said that they will probably never know how the deadly ST6 listeria strain entered the facility. He has confirmed, however, that the factory followed all existing protocols and requirements in SA. Since the outbreak Tiger Brands has worked with international and local experts to further improve safety and prevent another outbreak, including changing the way its factories are arranged, and adopting technologies to reduce bacteria loads. Fallout from the listeria crisis has caused immeasurable harm to the brand, and this is the type of storm that only a giant like Tiger Brands can weather. For smaller food producers and suppliers in the value chain, the impact has been huge.

While the root causes of the listeria outbreak continue to puzzle scientists and industry experts, the frequency of these tragic food poisoning incidents, and loss of life, points to serious problems in the food supply chain. Head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Food Safety and Zoonoses department, Dr. Kazuaki Miyagishima, reduces food contamination in Africa down to:

  • Poor food preparation;
  • Poor hygiene;
  • Inadequate conditions in food production and storage;
  • Lower levels of literacy, education and training; and  
  • Insufficient food safety legislation or implementation of legislation.

If consumers want safer food – and they do – where do we begin to find answers to solve these problems?

Improving Food Safety and Quality in South Africa

Food regulatory systems are the cornerstone of public health the world over, and South Africa is no exception. Numerous food-related regulations, grouped under the National Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act, are in place to protect consumer health. Government has also tightened industry regulations following the listeria outbreak, and processors of ready-to-eat meat products are now required to implement a hazard-analysis and critical control point system, by March 2019. While not all of these food safety regulations and systems apply to all sectors in the food industry, the following levels of protection should be in place where applicable.

A valid certificate of acceptability

A valid certificate of acceptability is issued by the local municipality in terms of Regulation 962 of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics & Disinfectants Act. Its general hygiene requirements are basic, and it should ensure a facility is adequately designed and constructed to handle food. The regulation emphasises the importance of training food handlers, which is often a weakness in food safety systems. It also places the full legal liability for food safety on the person in charge. New requirements of the draft regulation known as R364, are far more stringent, and bring South Africa in line with the US and Europe.

Prerequisite Programmes

The majority of food hazards can be controlled by PRPs, which are the foundation for the HACCP system. Once the PRPs are in place, HACCP based procedures focus on controlling the steps in the production process which are critical to ensuring the preparation of safe food.

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point System (HACCP)

Any company involved in the manufacturing, processing or handling of food products should use HACCP to minimise or eliminate food safety hazards in their product. The HACCP system reduces the risk of safety hazards, and requires that potential hazards are identified and controlled at specific points in the process. As mentioned earlier, the HACCP regulations have been amended to include ready-to-eat meat and poultry processors, which have until 14 March, 2019 to comply.

FSSC 22000 Food Safety System Certification

The FSSC 22000 Food Safety Management System Certification Scheme uses the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems requirements for food safety, and the ISO Technical Standards for PRPs. Certification is recognised by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), and it affords food producers and food packaging manufacturers worldwide recognition for their food safety systems.

British Retail Consortium Food Safety Standard

The BRC Food Safety Standard provides prescriptive guidelines as to how food safety should be addressed. ISO FSSC 22000:2018 offers a good framework against which an organisation can develop its own food safety management system, and allows the organisation to choose the best way to control its own system.The BRC has a simple certification process, and only requires an onsite audit, whereas the FSSC 22000 certification standard requires a stage 1 and 2 audit, both to be done on site, plus periodic surveillance and unannounced audits. The role of certification bodies in supporting the food safety system has been identified as an area for improvement in the lessons learned from the listeria crisis.

Food Growers and GlobalG.A.P

GLOBALG.A.P. (Good Agricultural Practices) is a farm assurance programme, and a partnership between agricultural producers and retailers that endeavours to establish accepted standards and procedures in the agricultural sector. It is widely-used, and many customers for agricultural products require evidence of GlobalG.A.P certification as a prerequisite for doing business. The standard was developed using the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) guidelines, and is governed according to ISO/IEC 17021-1:2015 for certifications schemes.

ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management System

As we have discussed, food safety is all about preventing, eliminating, or controlling foodborne hazards so that food is safe to eat. There are many guidelines to follow and legal requirements in place. However, there has not been a single, internationally recognised food safety systems standard that applies to every link in the supply chain, and that worked regardless of local laws and customs. That is, not until June 2018, when the ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Standard was released.

In the short time since its release, ISO 22000:2018 has become synonymous with food safety worldwide. The ISO standard renders food safety management into a process of continuous improvement, which aims to prevent or eliminate food safety hazards or, if they can’t be completely eliminated, bring them within acceptable limits. It integrates the principles of the HACCP system, and incorporates steps developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission, a subgroup of the WHO. Furthermore, ISO 22000:2018 combines the HACCP plan with prerequisite programmes. To have a complete quality management system in a food organisation, ISO 9000:2015 and ISO 22000:2018 can be integrated.

Food safety is not guaranteed by virtue of a standard. However, with compliance to ISO 22000:2018 throughout the food supply chain, consumers can have greater confidence in the safety and integrity of the food supply system, and can be reasonably assured that the food they purchase is safe for them and their families to eat.

Our FREE downloadable guide ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Systems Implementation explores the steps necessary for a successful compliance.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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New: ISO 22000:2018 Food Safety Management Standard released

Food Safety Management Standard
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Since the release of ISO 22000:2005 the food supply chain has become global, and serious food safety incidents have left consumers questioning who they can trust to ensure that what they eat will not harm them.

Globalisation of the food chain has resulted in new food safety risks and hazards, and different regulatory requirements to that of the food’s country of origin. This necessitated the International Organization for Standardization’s revision and modification of ISO 22000 so as to bring it up to date with today’s food safety requirements.

If your organisation is applying ISO 22000:2005, many of the requirements in ISO 22000:2018 will be familiar. However, there are numerous changes to the Standard that you must prepare for in order to transition and comply with the new Standard.

Major changes to ISO 22000:2018

High-level structure

ISO 22000:2018 adopts the high-level structure common to all ISO Standards. The new structure assists with the inclusion of the Food Safety Management System (FSMS) with other management system disciplines, such as ISO 9001:2015. The High-level structure affects the system scope, top management involvement, documentation of the system, application of the risk-based approach to organisational needs, and creates a clear focus on the process approach through the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles.

Food Safety Management

Context and scope

Upstream and downstream issues affecting customers and consumers, and suppliers of products and services need to be considered. The scope of the FSMS may need to include issues such as food fraud, food terrorism and legal issues, which would affect the management of food safety risk for the management system and the product/process operations.

Management involvement

Top management must demonstrate leadership and commitment to food safety, and set the policy and business objectives. Management needs to oversee the system planning, communication, resource provision and ongoing improvement by reviewing the system’s suitability, adequacy and effectiveness.

Risk management

Managing risk is crucial to the food business. Hazards, usually diseases, can jeopardise an entire food chain even when the hazard is present in a single step in the process. Risk management in the food safety system is no longer limited to the use of hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) principles at the operational level. Food safety risks such as food terrorism must be identified at the management system level and this has implications for business planning, management objectives and identifying improvement opportunities and the allocation of resources.

food safety system

System support

Requirements relating to basic system elements are clarified and strengthened. Resource planning is required along with tighter controls over external contributors to system development. Competence of internal and external personnel is more fully explained, and a system for greater control of suppliers of goods and services must be established.

Operational processes

The revised Standard includes two Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycles. The initial cycle applies to the management system, while the second PDCA cycle addresses operations, and covers the principles of HACCP defined by the Codex Alimentarius, the Food Standards Programme which sets food safety guidelines for governments. The introduction of two PDCA cycles really helps to bring ISO 22000:2018 up-to-date with market needs.

Evaluation and improvement

Requirements for evaluation of the performance of the FSMS by monitoring, measurement, auditing and review are retained, with emphasis on the use of a more integrated, systematic approach to performing these activities across the whole system. Evaluation outcomes are aimed at the prevention of failure in the food safety management system to improve the effectiveness of the system.

External stakeholders

External stakeholders in the FSMS include customers, vendors, regulatory authorities, certification organisations, emergency responders and personnel affected by the performance of the organisation relating to food safety.

food safety management

Auditor transition

External system auditors will be among those most affected by the revision. Third party auditors will need transition training to cover the two main changes to the revised Standard, which include, the adoption of the ISO high-level structure and the technical changes in the requirements.

Closing thoughts

ISO 22000:2018 will affect the global food industry, and if this results in greater protection from food safety hazards for the global public, the new Standard will have achieved its objective. Organisations certified to ISO 22000:2005 have until June 2021 to transition to the new Standard.   

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email Risk ZA at info@riskza.com or contact us on 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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Deadly Listeria outbreak: Can ISO 22000 and preventative controls improve food safety?

Deadly Listeria outbreak: Can ISO 22000 and preventative controls improve food safety?

Calls for tougher food industry standards after deadly listeria outbreak - can ISO standards and preventative controls improve food safety?

Tiger Brands’ CEO Lawrence MacDougall announced in a press statement shortly after  Enterprise Polony was withdrawn from supermarket shelves, that tougher food safety standards are needed not only in South Africa but worldwide.

Food product recalls are at an all time high, which may or may not be good news.

Improvements in pathogen and risk detection technology and better regulatory oversight go some way to explaining the increase in recalls. But in the United States, undeclared allergens in foods topped the list as the major reason for food recalls.

Bacterial contamination – Salmonella and Listeria Monocytogenes – as well as undeclared substances and extraneous material found in foods also featured high in the April food recall report released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS).

Fresh produce, meat, seafood and poultry pose the greatest health risks.

The U.S. Agriculture Department has placed fresh produce, meat, poultry, and seafood on its ‘watch list’, as these foods pose the greatest potential health risk and are the cause of most foodborne illnesses, hospitalisations, and deaths.

Six people in Europe died in March from eating frozen corn contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes, and consumers were warned to avoid eating romaine lettuce after an E.coli outbreak in 13 U.S.states and Canada was traced to Canadian grown lettuce.

Listeria outbreak in South Africa

The World Health Organisation (WHO) announced in April 2018 that the world’s worst Listeria outbreak was showing a downward trend in South Africa but it expected more cases.

Laboratory results revealed that in most cases people had become ill after eating polony containing strains of Listeria belonging to L. monocytogenes Sequence Type 6 (ST6).

Tiger Brands’ own laboratory tests confirmed this finding.

A total of 1,024 cases and 200 deaths from all provinces across the country were reported by the National Department of Communicable Diseases in May 2018.

But the death toll could be much higher as importers of Enterprise and RCL Foods products in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region‚ do not have the testing and monitoring facilities to detect listeriosis cases.

Listeria was also found at RCL Foods’ (Rainbow Chickens) Wolwehoek factory in Sasolberg.

The WHO believes that the number of people infected could indicate more than one source of the outbreak.

Listeria outbreak is a disaster for the entire ready-to-eat meat industry.

At the peak of the Listeriosis outbreak 80 tons of recalled polony were being destroyed daily.

Enterprise shut down its Polokwane and Germiston facilities ceasing supply to trade while it explored the source of the outbreak and did a deep cleaning process.

Tiger Brands and RCL Foods share prices tumbled on the JSE, and Alec Abraham, a senior equity analyst at Johannesburg-based Sasfin, said that the weakening of the share prices  would likely be sustained.

More than six countries imposed trade bans on products from South Africa, resulting in losses of over R100m in sausage exports alone.  

The outbreak has caused around R1 billion in losses to the pork value chain so far due to the changes in consumer perceptions of pork. Half of the pork industries meat is used in processed products, according to the South African Pork Producers’ Organisation.

“The pork industry suffered a severe blow following the recent outbreak of listeriosis,” said Paul Makube, senior agricultural economist at FNB Agri-Business.

Tiger Brands’ CEO Lawrence MacDougall said, “We are making every effort to ascertain how ST6 arrived in our production facility in Polokwane, despite us adhering to all the prevailing industry standards.The Listeriosis outbreak has been a terrible blight on the entire ready-to-eat meat industry. It is imperative for the entire industry to come together to agree on an appropriate standard with government. It is not a problem which is unique to South Africa or for that matter Enterprise Foods.”

The Democratic Alliance (DA) blamed Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for a ‘lack of political will and clarity’ for not getting to the bottom of the Listeriosis outbreak sooner, and that the outbreak pointed to, ‘a broader neglect of proper food safety mechanisms on the part of government.’

DA member of parliament Evelyn Wilson said the record of the world’s largest listeriosis outbreak was ‘not one to be proud of’ and blamed it on a shortage of environmental health inspectors, saying the outbreak could have been avoided if factories were inspected every three months.

In the midst of the crisis and finger-pointing, the Department of Health announced that it would help victims of the Listeria outbreak seek legal restitution, and a class action has been filed by human rights attorney Richard Spoor and Bill Marler of U.S. food safety law firm Marler Clark.

Marler has represented thousands of people in claims against food companies and has harsh words for food and beverage producers.

“If you cannot make mass produced produce safely – don’t sell it. If you put a defective product into commerce and you harm someone, you are responsible. To suggest otherwise, is legally and morally wrong.” – Bill Marler

Estimates are that the listeria outbreak could end up costing Tiger Brand’s in excess of R800m.

Can ISO Management System Standards and preventative controls improve food and beverage safety?

In short, yes. If food and beverage producers pay attention to the big picture and improve food safety through the entire supply chain, food will become safer.

ISO standards and preventative controls encourage food companies to adopt comprehensive monitoring during every step of the food production process.

Risk assessments create higher food safety awareness among producers and food handlers. Increasing food safety awareness also increases people’s awareness of food quality,  as the two go hand in hand.

Food safety and quality management systems provide the framework for record-keeping, training hazard analysis (food safety), prerequisite programs, and so on, which are required in the mandatory preventive controls rules.

Software applications eliminate or reduce paperwork and actively manage food safety and quality by tracking data, which makes analysis easier and, therefore, the management of food safety and quality more efficient.

The ISO 22000 family of International Standards addresses Food Safety management.

ISO 22000 is a certifiable standard and sets out the requirements of a Food Safety management system. Everyone in the food supply chain from farmers and manufacturers to retailers and consumers, can benefit from the guidelines and best practice contained in these ISO standards, which cover everything from food harvesting to product packaging.

The internationally agreed standards help food producers meet legal and regulatory requirements for food products that cross national boundaries.

Issues relevant to consumers such as food safety, nutritional labelling, hygiene, and food additives are also addressed by these standards, which give consumers the peace of mind in knowing that the food they eat meets high standards for safety and quality and contains what it says on the label.

What should food and beverage producers do?

In view of the massive financial losses and reputational damage facing food giant Tiger Brands and the RTE value chain, can any food producer, retailer or anyone involved in the food chain afford not to implement food safety standards or at the very least re-examine Food Safety Management Systems across their entire operation?

Risk ZA offers training courses and consulting services in Food Safety, Quality Management and Risk Assessments for companies that wish to implement or improve on their Food Safety Management practices.

Visit our training course schedule for course details and booking information.

For more information or guidance on which ISO standard(s) and services would best suit the needs of your organisation, please email RISK ZA at: info@riskza.com or contact us on: 0861 Risk ZA / +27 (0) 31 569 5900.

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