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ARE ALL FOOD SYSTEMS GO?

We’re committed to developing and maintaining food safety systems that are certification ready. Mark Sterling, National SHEQ Manager, and Lerina van Zyl, Food Safety Systems Auditor, explain the different processes:

With the rise in the number of incidents related to food recalls and food-borne outbreaks, the need for food safety processes (supported by a certified Food Safety Management system) also increases. Of course, this applies to food manufacturers. But it also includes restaurants and any business that prepares, stores or transports food.

 

Ecowize takes pride in delighting its customers with our wide range of services. A fundamental part of that range is the design and implementation of these Food Safety Systems. We also work with our customers to verify that their facilities conform to food safety requirements, to offer training and guidance (ensuring correct application) and to conduct follow-up visits and internal audits that confirm the system is adequately implemented and ready for external auditing. Let’s have a deeper look.

 

It all starts with the design of a food safety management system that is tailor-made to each customer’s scope and system requirement (such as FSSC22000, ISO22000, IBL, FSA, KFC, BRC or other). This process can take up to six months before completion, during which staff training (on food safety awareness and the application of the system) takes place.

 

We also supply a guidance document to the food safety team leader and advise on structural or procedural amendments to make sure that the facility is audit ready. It doesn’t end there: we follow-up and visit the site after at least 3 months after handover and support the solidification of the system with an internal audit and report. This gives a good indication that the facility is ready for certification.
As some facilities do not have the resources to conduct their own internal audits in preparation for certification, we provide and objective and competent audit. This allows facilities to identify opportunities for improvement and confirms the current system implementation status.

Training and awareness, a key pillar for any successful system, is provided through various offerings based on the food safety requirement of the facility. This can include basic training for manufacturing staff; food safety training for the Food Safety team; corrective action and root-cause-training for the quality team, supervisors or management; allergen awareness training; as well as Food Fraud or Food Defence training; and basic microbiology training to understand the bacterial risks within the food facility.

 

Training is conducted on site, within times that work for the facility – this can be done in small groups to accommodate shifts or in a single session. It takes the form of interactive discussions, videos and presentations and is supported by a proficiency test, a certificate of completion and the inclusion of supporting documents as evidence of adequate training.
Consulting is another part of our offering and is supplied based on the needs of each customer. When facility layouts change or new areas are built, we conduct a site assessment accompanied with a detailed report to guide managers in making sure that they still meet the requirements for certification.

Ultimately, systems need to be relevant to the product, industry, environment and supply chain that it serves. Ecowize is a hands-on partner in working with our clients to achieve this. Recently, we worked with a customer who had a dream to manufacture and supply a certain product to market. However, with limited food safety expertise, current product or facility, there was a crucial need for an expert in food safety.

 

That’s where Ecowize stepped in. Walking this journey with our customer, we’ve helped them develop the product, design a facility conforming to food safety requirements, trained employees with no relevant food safety background and developed a complete Food Safety Management System that conforms to FSSC22000 requirements.

 

As you can imagine, with no prior experience, this amounts to what could be an overwhelming mound of new information, processes and records. But, with our continuous guidance, we are proud to have supported their peace of mind in their new journey – as the expert in the field. We will continue to do so, as they develop their food safety culture through continuous application and food safety awareness.

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