Welcome to episode 36 of HACCP Mentor Review where this episode we discuss bushfire contingency, organising your verification activities, calibrating product scales and how to reduce stress in a multi-standard audit.
This week I have experienced extremes of weather conditions from working down in southern Victoria and having to wear a jumper and socks to bed to returning home to Newcastle only to experience some of the worst bush fires this season. Because of the fires, many of our roads in and out of Newcastle were closed. Newcastle airport was also closed for a day and a half. I was lucky to change my flight and get back home before the airport was closed. Now you are probably wondering why I am telling you this. If your food business was subjected to this type of crisis, would you manage? If the roads were blocked and staff or supplies could not get through, have you got contingency plan in place? Take a moment to check if you have considered these questions in your crisis management or business continuity plan.
As part of the HACCP process and HACCP audits, all businesses have to undertake verification activities. Verification activities can include things like micro testing of finished product, water testing, internal audit and undertaking a mock recall. Keeping track of all these activities and making sure they are completed can become an issue if you are not organised. I find that the easiest way to track verification activities is to use the calendar on the computer. I schedule the date that each activity is due and it sends a reminder via email of what has to be done. Another method that I have seen used when I audit, is spread sheet with activities plotted on an excel calendar. This works well as you can also print out the spread sheet and stick it to the wall in your office.
The action for this episode is to go around and check that your scales have been calibrated. Use your calibration schedule to also make sure you have documented the scale name, serial number, location and tolerance.
With more and more customers and retailers wanting to undertake their own food safety and HACCP audits, your food business may be subjected to multi-standard audits. The client that I audited in the past week was audited to four (4) different standards in the one audit. It can become a bit over-whelming for the auditee to be part of this kind of audit but the stress can be considerably reduced if you are organised. The number one thing you can do is map all of your HACCP food safety system to the requirements of each of the standards that you get audited against. By this I mean, go through each clause of the standard and match or reference where in your HACCP Food Safety Quality Manual where this requirements is covered.
Well that wraps up episode 36 of HACCP Mentor. I hope that you have got something out of it and as always l would love to get your feedback. Leave a comment below on how you organise your verification activities. Until next time, I am Amanda Evans from www.haccpmentor.com