Food Safety and Protection

Contaminated food can kill consumers

When I start talking about the importance of food safety and compliance, a common reply by the food business is “But we have never killed anyone or made anyone sick”. In this episode of HACCP Mentor Review join us as we delve into this statement along with cover defining recall and product withdrawals, the value of networking and the new segment called hazard spotlight.

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Welcome to Episode 31 of HACCP Mentor Review. Lots to get through this episode where we cover defining recall and product withdrawals, the value of networking, killing people with food and the new segment called hazard spotlight.

Food Product Recall V Withdrawal

The majority of food standards and food legislation require your food business to have a plan in place should you ever have to remove your product from the marketplace. A key requirement of this process is to understand the difference between a recall and a withdrawal.

Firstly, they both require the removal of your unsafe or illegal food product. When a food recall is initiated normally means that the contaminated or illegal product has been already sold to consumers. The public will then need to be informed on how to deal with the food. A food withdrawal is normally initiated when the food has not made it to customers. This usually only involves food suppliers and food retailers.

Please refer to the legislation in your country of operation to get further definitions.

The value of Networking

Last week I spent 4 days hanging out with my auditing colleagues at our six-monthly training and calibration session. I love getting together and catching up, but more importantly it gives us the opportunity to discuss issues as a group and to problem solve. There is so much value in having a regular get together with a lot of the communication occurring in session breaks and after we have wrapped up for the day. The auditing company that I audit for (BSI incorporating NCSI) are a clear leader in supporting their auditors regardless of if they are company employed or contractors like me. Let me know how you keep up-to-date with the latest information for your industry by leaving a comment below this episode.

New Commenting system

The commenting system has been upgraded on the haccpmentor website to make it easier for you to leave your feedback. You can now sign-in and comment using your facebook, twitter or google account in addition to using the disqus login. It is great to share your experiences, questions and feedback and I thank everyone who has been kind enough to participate so far.

Have you ever killed anyone?  Have you ever killed anyone with food?

Now this may seem a little bizarre but sadly enough I hear a version of this on a regular basis as both a food auditor and as a food compliance consultant. When I start talking about the importance of food safety and compliance, a common reply by the food business is “But we have never killed anyone or made anyone sick”. Newsflash….this is not a defence for not complying with food law.

It is also not a defence for not undertaking key validation activities in your food business like establishing finished product shelf life based on fact. This way of thinking may have served the food business well in the past, but it is only a matter of time before something goes wrong (and it will go wrong).

Calibrating Test Masses

This week’s action item is to check that weights used to calibrate scales have been certified and calibrated. This is relevant if you undertake daily checks of your scales using test masses or weights. You need to ensure that the scales that you weigh finished product on are operating correctly but before you do this, you need to make sure that the test masses are correct.

Hazard Spotlight

I have been getting lots of emails requesting different information about different food hazards so I have decided to add a “hazard spotlight” to my regular HACCP Mentor Review episodes. Hazard spotlight is aimed at getting you to think about hazards in your product, process and premises that you may not have considered before.

Let’s kick this off with a common physical hazard – wood.

Wood is considered to be a choking hazard especially for consumers that fall into the “at-risk” categories of children and the elderly. Wood contamination can come from many places including wooden storage pallets, equipment and utensils that contain wood and field grown raw materials. You can check out prevention strategies by clicking the link in the episode notes.

View Wood Contamination Hazard Spotlight

Wrap up

Well, that is it for episode 31 of HACCP Mentor Review. Don’t forget to leave a comment and I look forward to catching you in the next episode. Until then, I am Amanda Evans from


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