Food Safety and Protection

How to engage management in HACCP food safety

Welcome to this episode of HACCP Mentor Review (the new format). Thanks for all of the emails in the past week about the new format – I am glad you like it. IN this episode we check out getting the team on board with the whole HACCP food safety audit compliance concept, identifying non-conformances, why scales need to be protected from damage and I share a story that motivates me to stick at being a food auditor.

Who is who in the Zoo – How to engage management in HACCP

At the multi standard audit that I completed last week I took a different approach in way that I conducted the opening meeting. The reason that I did this was to ensure that I had staff engagement and management accountability for the audit and compliance process. For this particular food manufacturer, I was undertaking an audit against SQFv7.1, Level 3 plus an additional 3 retail standards. All of these standards have common compliance themes running through them. I wanted to show this business that it is not just the QA department responsible for the management and implementation of the HACCP food safety system, but instead a group effort.

Who is responsible for what?

I started out by writing up on the ‘whiteboard’ the different areas for compliance. This included pest control, cleaning, labelling, product traceability, product recall, maintenance, calibration, HACCP, Receival (goods inward), dispatch (goods outwards), New product design and development, allergen management, training and procurement/supplier management. I then asked each member of the management team who were present in the room to go and write their name against the area(s) that they are responsible for. If there were areas not covered, the person who was responsible for that area was requested to be present for the opening meeting.

Do you know what the requirements are for your area of responsibility?

To find out the level of knowledge of the responsible management team I asked the question “Do you know what the requirements are for your area of responsibility?” I then also asked if they had read the actual audit compliance standard for their individual area of responsibility. I was not surprised by their honest answer of ‘no’. A copy of the applicable audit standards were provided for each manager to then photocopy and read the sections applicable to their responsibility. It was also a good opportunity to understand ‘why’ auditors ask the questions that they do and what the rules are that the food business is being audited against. When everyone contributes to reading and knowing what is required, there is always better implementation and HACCP food safety compliance.

So, how does your business fair? Run this short activity with your management team to get better engagement and acknowledgement of responsibility. Please let me know how you go by leaving a comment below this post.

From the Vault – Identifying Non Conformances

Dealing with non-conformances is an integral part of managing a HACCP food safety system. If non-conformances are ignored or not investigated correctly, your food business can be a serious risk of sending out contaminated product to your customer. Take a look at “Investigating non-conformances” this weeks from the vault.

Check it out here – Non conformances

Protecting weighing scales from damage

All GFSI standards have a compliance section around calibration. As part of this any type of measuring and monitoring equipment is required to be protected from damage. This is to ensure that the equipment is able to sufficiently provide accurate results in what you are measuring. Any type of damage may adjust settings which can result in incorrect measurement. An example of this would be weighing finished products on damaged scales. You put your legal compliance at risk for weights and measures of the finished product.

Defining Gluten Free

There is a rise of gluten free products flooding the market place but what does gluten free really mean? Check out these links to see how different countries legislation defines the term gluten free.

USA – Click Here

Australia – Click Here

UK – Click Here

Do you listen to your food auditor?

Now I must admit, I am not one of the most loved food auditors getting around and I often get barred from going back onsite due to my ability to comprehensively find holes in compliance and food safety systems I am auditing. I do not apologise for my audit style as I see my role in helping the business to identify risks so they can take appropriate action to prevent things from escalating further. My thought process on this goes way beyond mere compliance with an audit certification standard. I recently received some feedback from a company that had been subjected to a food recall. I had previously identified and questioned verification around the very issue that resulted in the food recall. I was thanked for my audit role and for identifying areas of risk that had not been considered in full previously. For me, this was a great acknowledgement of what I am trying to achieve in the food industry everyday – risk identification and management for food business and a safer product for consumers.

Wrap Up

That wraps up another episode of the new look HACCP Mentor Review. As always, it you have any comments please use the comment system below this post. Until next time, I am Amanda Evans from


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