HACCP International spoke very successfully at the recent BRC Global Conference in London to introduce the certification of the food safety status of equipment, materials and services sold into the food industry as the missing link in the holistic farm to fork food safety management process. A transcript of the speech has been provided and says it all:

HACCP International is a certification body which started life some 10 years ago in Australia. The organisation now has global reach with offices in the UK and Hong Kong to serve the growing world market for certification of non food articles – equipment, materials and services used by the food industry.

Although today’s audience operates rather differently, to certificate food processors who have obtained the standards necessary to meet the requirements of the BRC Global Food Safety standard, there are some key similarities to our purpose, which is to promote a culture of food safety, holistically across the food chain. Indeed the BRC Global Food Safety Standard itself demands that the suppliers of services and equipment are duly assessed as part of the supplier approval process and that equipment, especially food contact equipment, is safe.

The food safety hazards that may arise from the use of inappropriate equipment, materials and services is perhaps less well understood than those arising from food ingredients or processing errors. Imagine the potential consequences of installing an unhygienic hand dryer spreading droplets of contaminated water, laying an inappropriate factory floor that leads to product taint or using processing equipment that was never really designed to be easily cleaned.

These are hazards that can be controlled simply by specifying suitable items in the first place. Of course the assessment of food safety risks from such items can be conducted in house. This is perfectly acceptable but requires some in house expertise both of the material or equipment being installed and of the method to risk assess the hazards which do not arise from food. The alternative way and method of choice for many is to rely on supplier verification of fitness for purpose in a food room. One of the best ways to assure this fitness for purpose, just like the principle behind certification to the BRC Standard, is to seek third party approval.

The HACCP International evaluation process which, for successfully submitted non food articles, will lead to certification of that article, relies on a holistic risk assessment approach to analyse all potential sources of hazard and the controls put in place by the manufacturer. You can see from the slide behind me that not only do we assess the obvious, such as cleanability and toxicity, but also the more often forgotten hazard sources such as consequences of error in use or application, marketing claims and process controls to assure GMP in the assembly and manufacture of equipment or cleaning materials for instance. This provides the supplier with the means to demonstrate conformity to the customer who needs to mitigate risk as part of their overall HACCP based food safety management system.

We have already been chosen as the method of choice for validation and certification of a diverse range of equipment and material suppliers such as Dyson, Altro, 3M, Hoshizaki and Testo. We hope that during the course of the conference you will find the time to come and talk to us about the certification scheme. I must finish now and would take this opportunity to thank you all for your attention.

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