Bits and Bites – September 2020

Welcome to the September 2020 Edition of Bits and Bites from HACCP Mentor. Read on to see recaps of things you may find useful including free resources, upcoming virtual training and interesting reads and recalls.

Ask Me! With HACCP Mentor

How do you work out a testing sample size?

Where can I find information pertaining to sample size? For example, if I had 100 kg of strawberry jelly and wanted to test for yeasts and molds, how much sample should be collected to be representative of that lot? [Elizabeth R.]

Sample sizes can vary and there are no hard-set rules. It depends on the food product and also on any governing laws around sampling. For example, in some instances, it will state how many samples are required. I would recommend that you sample to a size that will give you the most confidence in the result and also one that is representative of the product/batch that you are testing.

There are statistical models that you can use and I have found a great tool with a really easy explanation. You can access this by clicking here.

Are certain HACCP certificates more valuable than others?

I’m interested in going into the field of auditing and would like to set myself apart by already having some certifications under my belt. I’ve seen various course offerings from different sites ranging in price from $125 to $1000 for a HACCP training. Why the enormous range in fee? Are certain HACCP certificates held in higher regard than others? Please help… Any guidance is greatly appreciated! I just want to find the most comprehensive (and affordable) course to complete so that I can show value and knowledge to any audit position I apply for. [C. Williams]

When it comes to HACCP training – not all are equal but it really depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you are looking to upskill and gain a qualification, look for a HACCP course that is accredited against the International HACCP Alliance and provides the gold seal with their certificate. You can ask to see their approval at any time. You can see ours at:

As prices are not fixed, it is up to the training provider to set their own price. They may base this on many factors including the length of the course, competition in the market or the value of the information trained. Our HACCP Principles and Application course is accredited and recognized globally. Click here to learn more about the course.

Interesting Reads and Recalls

Aflatoxins in the U.S Food Supply

Not many of us know that aflatoxins contamination has been recorded as contributing to 25% of estimated loss of the world’s food supply. However, some of us may see aflatoxin in the news every so often being associated with food recalls. These food reliability and safety issues are why aflatoxin is on the radar of government organizations such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the European Food Safety Authority. There is a great little video included in this post that provides a quick overview of what aflatoxins are, implicated food sources and relevant control measures. [Read More]

Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Peaches Shipped Worldwide

A California fruit company shipped peaches, now linked to a Salmonella Enteritidis outbreak in the U.S. and Canada, to at least 14 other countries around the world. The peaches were distributed in bags and in bulk bins, according to an update from the U.S. FDA. As of August 27, 2020, 78 U.S. illnesses have been reported, with 23 hospitalizations. No deaths have been reported. The manufacturer has recalled the product and at least two countries, New Zealand and Singapore, have issued recall alerts for the peaches. [Read More]

Mystery Mailings of Seeds Continue Worldwide

People around the world continue to receive unsolicited packages of seeds that appear to be coming mainly from China. The U.S., Canada, Israel, Poland, Japan, Ireland, Germany, Australia, the U.K., and France are some of the countries affected.

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection, FBI, and state departments of agriculture are investigating. The main concern is the potential for the seeds to introduce damaging pests or diseases that could harm U.S. agriculture. [Read More]

Implementing VACCP and TACCP

HACCP Mentor has released new virtual training to help you and your business to understand and implement the requirements of VACCP and TACCP. The course covers:

  • Identifying different types of threats in your food business
  • Determining vulnerability points in the food supply chain
  • Conducting VACCP assessments
  • Conducting TACCP assessments
  • Developing mitigation strategies to prevent threats and vulnerabilities
  • Documenting VACCP and TACCP plans for your food business

For more information and to find out when this course is running please visit the Implementing VACCP and TACCP course page.

From the Podcast

It was an honour to join fellow food safety professionals Connie Landis Fisk, Charles Kalish, Michael Kalish in Episode 77 of Food Safety Matters. This podcast, hosted by Food Safety Magazine, features a panel of the Food Safety Preventive Control Alliance (FSPCA)’s lead instructors discussing virtual food safety training in the age of COVID.

Free Resources

COVID-19 Checklist

To assist the food industry as it navigates changes to operations related to COVID-19, the FDA has teamed up with OSHA to develop the “Employee Health and Food Safety Checklist for Human and Animal Food Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The checklist pulls from existing guidance provided by the FDA, CDC, and OSHA and serves as a quick reference to help the food industry assess employee health, social distancing, and food safety within workplaces as operations may be impacted by COVID-19.

Food Safety Live 2020

The requirements for compliance training are built into every recognised GFSI certification programme. There is also plenty of data to support that a well-trained team leads to better job satisfaction, morale, motivation and efficiency. But how do you achieve this, not only on a tight time and financial budget but also in a way that fosters engagement, skill enhancement and knowledge retention?

Food Safety Live is scheduled for 14th October 2020 and I have the pleasure of kicking off proceedings with a talk on ‘Modern learning options to educate and upskill your food handlers’. To register for this FREE virtual conference, head over to the International Food Safety and Quality Network to register.

Upcoming Live Training – September 2020

The following live instructor-led courses are scheduled for September 2020.

To secure your place just head over to the HACCP Marketplace to learn more or click on the individual course links above.

Get free HACCP advice and updates

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