Food Production: Five strategies for successful compliance in food processing
The statistics are sobering. Every year, there are an estimated 4.1 million cases of food poisoning in Australia.
An Australian Institute of Food Safety ‘report card’, released for World Food Safety Day this year, says that one million of these food-borne illnesses are serious enough to require medical intervention. Almost 32,000 cases will result in hospitalisation. Every year, about 86 Australians will die from food-borne illnesses.
Putting aside the human cost, outbreaks of illnesses associated with contaminated food are a serious financial burden. A food business at the centre of an outbreak may be held legally responsible for injuries or lost wages. They may face prosecution by health authorities.
Even if the food safety breach doesn’t cause illness or death, just one embarrassing instance of compromised food safety can have swift consequences. One negative online review, one critical social media post, can destroy years of hard work and trust.
The only way to avoid costly lawsuits, penalties, reputation damage and business interruption is compliance.
With 20 years helping some of Australia’s most well-known food processing brands meet their compliance obligations, here are Chempower Australia’s top five strategies for successful food safety compliance, particularly when it comes to cleaning and sanitation solutions.
- Create a positive food safety culture
Culture starts from the top and flows down. As a quality assurance manager, the actions, attitudes and decisions you make will set the tone for everyone else in your business. Be clear and consistent about the importance of food safety, cleaning and sanitation. Make sure everyone in your organisation knows what is expected from them. Importantly, lead by example.
- Provide training
Your staff need to be equipped with the skills and knowledge on food safely obligations. They must be able to identify potential hazards, know how to prevent them – and what to do if they’re concerned there’s been a compliance breach.
Cleaning chemicals and sanitation systems are valuable tools in your food safety compliance regime, but need to be used properly, or can result in contamination or injury. Chemical cleaning solutions need to be backed by full face-to-face staff training and technical support.
- Keep records
Record keeping is one of the six core elements of a successful Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System (the other five core elements are hazard identification, hazard control, monitoring, corrective action and review).
If you look at just one area – the use of chemicals for cleaning and sanitation in a food processing plant – a premise will fail a Food Safety audit unless:
- safety data sheets are on site and readily available;
- decanted chemicals are properly labelled;
- chemicals are within use-by dates; and
- clear standard operating procedures for use of chemicals are available.
If you are using equipment such as automatic dishwashers, monthly validation reports are important to ensure your systems are working efficiently (which also helps keep costs under control). Record keeping also is important for identifying potential future problems by ensuring maintenance is done at the right time.
- Invest in the right equipment and products
As important as the systems in place for keeping a clean, sanitised food processing facility are, you need to pair those systems with reliable, robust chemical dispensing equipment. And you need fast, responsive support in the event something goes wrong.
Similarly, you need the right chemical products. Chemical concentrations may look and smell the same, but you won’t get the same results. (It’s one of the reasons Chempower Australia only uses its own products, blended in its Marrickville warehouse. We know exactly what goes into our chemical products, and exactly how to use them.)
- Lean on the experts
Seriously, there’s no point reinventing the wheel. Not when you can rely on an industry partner who has 20 years’ experience in helping some of Australia’s most well-known food processing facilities understand, meet and exceed standards around cleaning and sanitation. HACCP, WHS, Halal and Food Safety Standards are part of our everyday.
Making the switch
At Chempower Australia, we understand that changing your cleaning chemical supplier can be time consuming, but food safety compliance is not something that you can take chances on. We supply a total chemical cleaning service solution and cleaning accessories for your food processing facility.
Our benefits are clear:
- We design and make our own unique products in Sydney. We do not rely on third party manufacturers and delivery is direct from Chempower Australia.
- We use robust and reliable chemical dispensing equipment
- We support the products and equipment in your premise with specialists – not salespeople
- Where required, Chemtech Smart Technology chemical dispensing systems are utilised to validate product and service integrity.
- Chempower Australia’s Chemical Specialist(s) can provide periodic service reports, and if needed, manage stock levels and ordering to ensure continuance and consistency of supply
- We provide annual face-to-face staff training. Additional training can be provided as needed and focused on pro-active problem management. Your staff will be trained for the tasks they are required to undertake.
- Chempower Australia provides high visibility colour coded labelling which greatly reduces accidents and cross contamination.
When you partner with Chempower Australia, we’ll take appropriate steps to ensure that adequate planning and design processes have been carried out to avoid any unforeseeable health and safety issues. That means you have the ability to quickly and seamlessly solve emerging problems before they become costly.
At Chempower Australia, our business philosophy is simple: our success depends on your success.
This philosophy is reflected in the quality of our products and service, the excellence of our solutions and the competitiveness of our prices.