Floor coating keeps bacteria at bay

Centennial Vineyards is a very impressive property incorporating a restaurant, winery and event’s facility for international performing artists, it is located just minutes from the township of Bowral in the Southern Highlands of NSW. It is a picturesque part of New South Wales that has frequent visitors from Sydney’s metropolitan area, as well as those from overseas.

The premium cool climate vineyard is set at more than 760m in altitude, which ensures the grapes ripen slowly with enhanced flavour and intensity. The vines at Centennial Vineyards are planted on more than 80 acres consisting of Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Noir, Gewurztraminer, Gruner Ventliner and Tempranillo.

The chief winemaker, Tony Cogsriff, has had nearly 20 years working with Centennial. He grew up in New Zealand and after graduating from university worked with many well-known New Zealand wineries before emigrating to Australia to join John Large, who is a successful wine industry retailer and entrepreneur who runs Centennial Winery. Cogsriff has won many accolades for his high-quality wines and sets a benchmark that matches the impressive surrounds of the vineyard.

Like any business, maintenance is something that all companies have to keep up-to-date in order to meet strict regulations within the food and beverage industries. This is no different for Centennial Vineyards when it came to the flooring in its winery.

The existing floor coating was deteriorating from heavy traffic and bacteria build up from yeast and salts, which was causing a dangerous hazard for forklifts. There were also potential contamination issues for the wine.

A new coating was needed, and it had to have several features. It needed to handle heavy and light wear, as well as ongoing wet conditions form the grapes and wash down. Centennial Vineyards asked Roxset HACCP Coatings to provide an impervious non-slip, highly protective and safe coating in its production and cellar areas.

The Roxset SE 6m coating system in the company’s mid grey was installed covering more than 600sqm to key production areas around fermentation, bottling, cellar and barrel areas.

Roxset epoxy screeds and ceramic additives have assisted in providing long-lasting protection to exposed concrete. A high glass finish was applied around coving and an epoxy detail formed around the slotted drains for protection.

Features of the system include a high level of protection from contamination, seamless non-slip finish, and it is long lasting and durable.

“We are delighted with the incredibly hard and durable surface of the SE solution from Roxset,” said Cogsriff. “Protecting our sought after pedigree wines from bacteria build up as a result of possible chipped and exposed surface areas is a critical part of our processing. We now have a fantastic, fresh clean environment which is impressive for both visitors and staff.”

Flooring meets strict food code requirements

Rydges Hotels and Resorts is a hotel accommodation and hospitality provider that operates in Australia, New Zealand and England.

Rydges accommodates one million guests annually across a range of market segments. It provides mid to upscale accommodation, catering from corporate travellers to sophisticated upmarket resorts.

Roxset Health and Safety Flooring, a specialist in food and beverage coating solutions for over 30 years, has been providing tailored HACCP Grade VOC non-toxic flooring to a number of key Rydges properties in Australia since 2008. Currently, five properties have been upgraded with the Roxset SE ultra-hygienic coating in food and beverage preparation and associated areas.

Due to the age of some of the properties, the main kitchens were suffering from maintenance challenges, specifically as the traditional kitchen floors were installed with either large ceramic tiles or vinyl coatings. These coverings present on-going problems with grout cleaning and water penetration through progressive cracking, which led to serious hygiene and slip hazards and would not meet the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) food safe requirements.

Australia is governed by a Food Standards Code. A new code came into effect on 1 March 2016. HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating and controlling food safety hazards. A hazard is anything that could make food dangerous to eat and can be, microbiological (e.g. bacteria, virus, fungi) chemical (e.g cleaning products), physical (e.g broken glass, fingernail, hair).

Food safety legislation has specific requirements for food preparation areas relating to the condition and design and includes:
• Floors – should be constructed of a material that is easy to clean and safe to walk on and maintained in sound condition.
• Walls – should be made of durable materials that are washable, non-toxic, easy to clean and maintain.

Over time, Roxset has been upgrading the Rydges Hotel group kitchens by either replacing the vinyl or laying a high-grade seamless epoxy HACCP food grade system over non-drummy tiles. The benefit of epoxy is that when the resin and hardener are mixed together they form a rigid plastic material. This material is strong, durable, resistant and bonds to most base layers. The epoxy is so strong it is used in heavy traffic areas such as industrial environments.

The Roxset SE 3 trowel-on coating is a tailored food grade system which addresses coving, wall intersections and levelling, and falls to drains to ensure rapid cleaning regimes are optimised, especially in busy hotel kitchens.

Roxset SE is a tailored, hand-built protection coating built up with selected aggregates to allow a cure thickness of 4-6mm and has a R12 slip rating.

Roxset recently completed a 380sqm area at the Rydges Hotel in Parramatta, which included the main kitchen, cool rooms, passageway and bar area. These areas are now protected from slippage and any impact or chemical spills and will perform well in excess of 10 years, while meeting all requirements of HACCP’s strict hygiene criteria.

Do we really have to wash fruit and vegetables?

There is a growing demand for fruit and vegetables across the Western world, thanks to increased awareness of their nutritional and health benefits. But we’ve always been taught they might not be safe to eat straight out of the supermarket, and they have to be washed first. Is this the case? And what might happen if we don’t?

What’s in a veggie?

Fruits and some vegetables are often consumed raw, fresh-cut or minimally processed, which is often why there are concerns about their safety. Fresh fruits and vegetables and unpasteurised juices can harbour disease-causing bugs (knows as pathogens) such as Salmonella, Campylobacter, Listeria and Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli (strains of E.coli). They can also contain pesticide residues and toxic compounds produced by moulds on the surface or even inside tissues of these foods.

Fresh fruits and vegetables may also contain allergens, which may be naturally occurring or contaminated, that can cause severe discomfort to people suffering from an intolerance. Of the potential risks, contamination with tiny bugs or organisms called microbes is the most prevalent.

The ingestion of very small numbers of dangerous bugs may not be harmful as our immune system can fight them off. But problems begin when the body’s defences fail, causing these “bad bugs” to multiply and spread throughout the body.

In recent years, fruits and vegetables such as sprouts, celery and rockmelons were identified as potential sources of food-borne pathogens. They are more susceptible to being contaminated. This has caused a number of health and social issues and major economic losses worldwide.

Last year there was an outbreak of listeriosis in the US, a disease caused by the ingestion of bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, linked to commercially produced, prepacked whole caramel apples. Thirty-five people from 12 states were infected with the disease, and three people died.

 

There could be more than caramel lurking in there. from www.shutterstock.com

 

In May 2011, Germany experienced the largest epidemic of hemolytic–uremic syndrome (a disease characterized by anemia, acute kidney failure and low platelet counts), caused by Shiga-toxin–producing E.coli associated with fresh produce such as fenugreek sprouts. Over a period of about three months nearly 4000 fell ill with symptoms such as headache and diarrhoea, and a further 800 contracted hemolytic–uremic syndrome. Authorities reported 53 deaths.

In the US in 2011, cantaloupes become contaminated with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. One-hundred and forty-six people in 28 states were sick and 30 died.

While Australia is considered one of the safest food suppliers in the world, a significant number of foodborne illnesses are still reported every year. The government-funded organisation OzFoodNet reported 674 outbreaks of enteric illness, including those transmitted by contaminated foods, in the last quarter of 2013 alone.

Does washing help?

The washing of fruits and vegetables is one of the most important processing steps at the industrial level. Washing is designed to remove dirt and dust and some pesticides, and to detach bugs. Washing improves not only the safety and quality, but also the product’s shelf-life.

However, the quality of water used for washing is crucial. Washing water can serve as a source of cross-contamination as it may be re-used during harvesting and processing stages. Washing with sanitising agents is much better; washing removes microorganisms by detaching them from the products, and sanitising kills them.

 

Washed and ready to use? Safer to wash it again. Screenshot from Woolworths website, CC BY

 

Although this first stage of washing can significantly reduce the level of pathogens, infiltration of pathogens into cracks, crevices, and between the cells of fruits and vegetables has been shown to be possible.

Once positioned in these niches, pathogens may survive and multiply by the time the infected produce is consumed. Therefore pre-washed produce may not be 100% safe. Peeling can help to get rid of bugs on the surface, but it also risks cross-contaminating the inner part of the product.

Cooking temperatures kill most of the pathogenic bugs, but the compounds produced by them (metabolites) may be heat-tolerant and can cause serious health issues. Washing may help to remove some of these compounds, but not necessarily all.

What to do

The risk of eating contaminated produce is much greater now than it has been in previous centuries because primary production, processing and trade of fruits and vegetables occur in diverse climates and within different countries' rules and regulations and food processing systems.

Most of these foodborne illnesses are preventable. Washing in clean running tap water significantly reduces the level of E. coli bacteria on broccoli and lettuce, although it doesn’t completely eliminate it. Therefore washing fruits and vegetables using clean water at home – including pre-washed products – before consumption may help minimise the risk of foodborne infections.

Never eat or buy produce that looks spoiled, however be aware produce that is contaminated may look, taste and smell similar to the produce that is safe to eat. Make sure kitchen surfaces are clean and use the correct temperature and time for cooking.

Washing fresh produce is an important part of ensuring your favourite fruits and veggies are safe to consume, but also be sure to pay regular attention to the media for any outbreaks or updates related to fresh produce safety.

The Conversation

Senaka Ranadheera, Early Career Research Fellow, Advanced Food Systems Research Unit, College of Health and Biomedicine, Victoria University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

HD cameras improve safety and quality for processors of frozen fruits and vegetables

Frozen fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, green peas, sweet corn or baby carrots, are a fast growing market segment in the food industry.

Not only do they meet the demand for food that is quick and easy to prepare, in or out of season, but they can even be nutritionally superior to retailed fresh produce, as they are harvested at their peak ripeness – when most nutritious – and frozen soon after, preserving their vitamins and antioxidants. 
 

Among the biggest safety concerns are foreign materials, such as small stones, pieces of wood and glass, or slivers of plastic. If contained within packaged frozen food products, they will pose health risks – including lacerations, choking or broken teeth. For food processors, they may result in expensive product recalls and damage to reputation.
 

Optical sorters with InGaAs cameras are highly effective in detecting and removing these objects. 

InGaAsHD high definition cameras are able to detect foreign materials down to half the size previously possible, resulting in substantially better detection and removal. 

InGaAsHD will be available in the SORTEX E product range and will enable processors of frozen fruits and vegetables to meet the highest safety requirements, while ensuring maximum quality of their product.

The new InGaAsHD cameras are now available for Bühler’s SORTEX E product line. Processors that are already operating SORTEX E optical sorters with enhanced InGaAs cameras will be offered an upgrade option, enabling them to benefit from the improved detection performance of the new HD cameras with their current solution.

You can thaw and refreeze meat: five food safety myths busted

This time of year, most fridges are stocked up with food and drinks to share with family and friends. Let’s not make ourselves and our guests sick by getting things wrong when preparing and serving food.

As the weather warms up, so does the environment for micro-organisms in foods, potentially allowing them to multiply faster to hazardous levels. So put the drinks on ice and keep the fridge for the food.

But what are some of those food safety myths we’ve long come to believe that aren’t actually true?

Myth 1: if you’ve defrosted frozen meat or chicken you can’t refreeze it

From a safety point of view, it is fine to refreeze defrosted meat or chicken or any frozen food as long as it was defrosted in a fridge running at 5°C or below. Some quality may be lost by defrosting then refreezing foods as the cells break down a little and the food can become slightly watery.

Another option is to cook the defrosted food and then divide into small portions and refreeze once it has stopped steaming. Steam in a closed container leads to condensation, which can result in pools of water forming. This, combined with the nutrients in the food, creates the perfect environment for microbial growth. So it’s always best to wait about 30 minutes before refrigerating or freezing hot food.

Plan ahead so food can be defrosted in the fridge, especially with large items such as a frozen turkey or roll of meat. If left on the bench, the external surface could be at room temperature and micro-organisms could be growing rapidly while the centre of the piece is still frozen!

Myth 2: Wash meat before you prepare and/or cook it

It is not a good idea to wash meats and poultry when preparing for cooking. Splashing water that might contain potentially hazardous bacteria around the kitchen can create more of a hazard if those bacteria are splashed onto ready-to-eat foods or food preparation surfaces.

It is, however, a good idea to wash fruits and vegetables before preparing and serving, especially if they’re grown near or in the ground as they may carry some dirt and therefore micro-organisms.

This applies particularly to foods that will be prepared and eaten without further cooking. Consuming foods raw that traditionally have been eaten cooked or otherwise processed to kill pathogenic micro-organisms (potentially deadly to humans) might increase the risk of food poisoning.

Fruit, salad, vegetables and other ready-to-eat foods should be prepared separately, away from raw meat, chicken, seafood and other foods that need cooking.

Myth 3: Hot food should be left out to cool completely before putting it in the fridge

It’s not OK to leave perishable food out for an extended time or overnight before putting it in the fridge.

Micro-organisms can grow rapidly in food at temperatures between 5° and 60°C. Temperature control is the simplest and most effective way of controlling the growth of bacteria. Perishable food should spend as little time as possible in the 5-60°C danger zone. If food is left in the danger zone, be aware it is potentially unsafe to eat.

Hot leftovers, and any other leftovers for that matter, should go into the fridge once they have stopped steaming to reduce condensation, within about 30 minutes.

Large portions of hot food will cool faster if broken down into smaller amounts in shallow containers. It is possible that hot food such as stews or soup left in a bulky container, say a two-litre mixing bowl (versus a shallow tray), in the fridge can take nearly 24 hours to cool to the safe zone of less than 5°C.

Myth 4: If it smells OK, then it’s OK to eat

This is definitely not always true. Spoilage bacteria, yeasts and moulds are the usual culprits for making food smell off or go slimy and these may not make you sick, although it is always advisable not to consume spoiled food.

Pathogenic bacteria can grow in food and not cause any obvious changes to the food, so the best option is to inhibit pathogen growth by refrigerating foods.

 

Just because something passes the sniff test, doesn’t make it OK. www.shutterstock.com

 

Myth 5: Oil preserves food so it can be left at room temperature

Adding oil to foods will not necessarily kill bugs lurking in your food. The opposite is true for many products in oil if anaerobic micro-organisms, such as Clostridium botulinum (botulism), are present in the food. A lack of oxygen provides perfect conditions for their growth.

Outbreaks of botulism arising from consumption of vegetables in oil – including garlic, olives, mushrooms, beans and hot peppers – have mostly been attributed to the products not being properly prepared.

Vegetables in oil can be made safely. In 1991, Australian regulations stipulated that this class of product (vegetables in oil) can be safely made if the pH (a measure of acid) is less than 4.6. Foods with a pH below 4.6 do not in general support the growth of food-poisoning bacteria including botulism.

So keep food out of the danger zone to reduce your guests’ risk of getting food poisoning this summer. Check out other food safety tips and resources from CSIRO and the Food Safety Information Council, including testing your food safety knowledge.

The Conversation

Cathy Moir, Team leader, Microbial and chemical sciences, Food microbiologist and food safety specialist, CSIRO

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Food industry wash-down hose

The Gates Terminator hose can be used in all types of wash-down applications such as meat (abattoirs) and poultry processing plants as well as general food manufacturing facilities. 

The Gates Terminator hose is a tough hose with a rugged cover for high abrasion resistance and extended service life where constant flexing and bending is required.

Gates Terminator hose features:

1.    Safety Yellow Abrasion resistant Nitrile rubber cover – factory workers can see this hose due to the yellow cover whereas other wash down hoses that have a white cover can fade and become hard to see. This is a safety issue.
2.    A working pressure of 501psi
3.    A temperature range of -40C to +100C
4.    Is available in a range of various ID ranging from 6.4mm to 50.8mm
5.    Is available in reels up to 213m depending on the ID size 
6.    Excellent weather and ozone resistance and non-conductive at 1000 volts D.C.

Food safe cleaning cloth

Rubbermaid’s HYGEN Microfibre is an innovative microfibre cleaning system proven to remove 99.9 per cent of microbes, including C. diff, a bacteria that can cause illness and infection. 

It provides superior cleaning performance and improved productivity to help stop the chain of infection and eliminate the food source for live pathogens. 

The Rubbermaid HYGEN Microfibre system features built-in scrubbers that enable complete dirt removal without smearing. 

It is also compatible with bleach and can be used for dusting or wet cleaning to provide a superior clean.

Food & beverage cleaning nozzle

Built to last with a replaceable white EPDM rubber grip, the heavy-duty hose nozzles from Tecpro Australia are designed to take all the knocks and shocks of everyday food and beverage manufacturing. 

They easily handle up to 16 Bar of water pressure (232 PSI) and can accommodate hot water up to 80°C.  The EPDM rubber cover minimises heat transfer, which makes the nozzle more comfortable for members of the cleaning team to hold. 

The nozzle delivers a high flow, adjustable water pattern that ranges from a narrow jet to a conical spread with a simple twist of the nozzle head. Twist in the opposite direction and it shuts off securely without leaking.

The high quality, white EPDM rubber grip can be easily replaced once worn without the need to purchase an entire new nozzle.

Fast cleaning of barrels, drums and food vessels

The TankJet M60 Mobile Tank Cleaner from Spraying Systems removes tough residues quickly and effectively using low flow rates.  The tank cleaner is ideal for cleaning wine, food, beverage and chemical barrels as well as drums and kegs up to 5’ (1.5 m) in diameter. 

Features include narrow angle full cone sprays that rotate in multiple axes for complete and thorough 360° coverage and a non-lubricated air motor which allows for continuous and reliable operation. Cycle times can be achieved in less than 5 minutes with one full cycle completed every 16 revolutions. 

The TankJet M60 Mobile tank cleaner offers effective and efficient cleaning with no damage to the barrel toast. In addition, the tank cleaner is simple to use, easy to rebuild and is compatible with a wide range of pumps including pressure washers. Having a mobile tank cleaner like the TankJet M60 gives users the added benefit of being able to move the tank cleaner from one barrel or drum to the next with ease when required.

The tank cleaner is able to fit in openings as small as 1-3/4” (44.5 mm) and can be easily inserted in standard bunghole openings. The materials, which have direct contact with fluid include 316 stainless steel, carbon graphite PTFE-filled PEEK, EPDM and PTFE. 

Patties Foods ditches its berries business

Following the frozen berries Hepatitis A breakout in 2015 that affected more than 30 people and slashed the food manufacturer’s earnings, Patties Foods has said that it is selling its Creative Gourmet brand and also removing the frozen berries range from its Nanna’s brand.

According to a statement released this morning, “Patties Foods will focus on growing its core savoury and sweet pastry business following the sale of its Creative Gourmet frozen fruit business.”

MD & CEO, Steven Chaur, said the sale of Creative Gourmet was part of Patties ‘Foods Strategic Growth Roadmap.’

“Our core savoury and sweet pastry business, with our iconic food brands FOUR’N TWENTY, Patties, Herbert Adams and Nanna’s, represents over 90 per cent of Patties Foods sales and EBIT.

“We aim to deliver profitable growth for shareholders through a strong focus on our core savoury and sweet pastry business,” Mr Chaur said.

Patties Foods acquired the Creative Gourmet business in 2007 and has been delivering a range of market-leading frozen berry products to supermarkets ever since.

Following the sale of the Creative Gourmet frozen fruit business, Patties Foods will also undertake a managed exit of the Nanna’s brand of frozen fruit products sold in supermarkets, and the Chefs Pride foodservice brand of frozen fruit products sold to distributors. Patties Foods will work with all retailers and distributors on a program to exit the frozen fruit category entirely during early 2016.
  
While specific terms of the sale of the Creative Gourmet frozen fruit business are undisclosed, the sale, to Entyce Food Ingredients, is expected to generate $1.8m in proceeds and is expected to be completed by the end of December 2015, subject to a number of customary conditions being met.

Anti-Salmonella and anti-Listeria food packaging

Erze Ambalaj, the largest producer of expanding foam packaging for food in Turkey, together with Parx Plastics has developed antimicrobial packaging that significantly reduces the growth of Salmonella, Listeria, E.Coli and Staphylococcus Aureus in food packaging. 

The laboratory results are an antibacterial surface, measured according to ISO 22196 by the Independent University of Ferrara in Italy, of 92,5% against Listeria, 96% against Salmonella, and up to 96,5% against Staphylococcus Aureus. 

This means this improved food packaging has scientifically-proven, 93-97% less bacteria on the surface of the material after 24 hours compared to normal food packaging.

By reducing the presence of bacteria after the manufacturing of the packaging material, during the transport of the packaging material, during packaging of the food and during the shelf life period of the product, the right conditions have been created to prevent contamination, and to provide the best possible shelf life for food products.

The Parx technology does not use biocides and the trace element used is compliant to the European regulations for plastics that come into contact of food.

Food Processing Pen

The Elephant brand stick pens are designed with or without a pocket clip and offer the option to have a lanyard attachment point. 

The grip has a triangular section to provide a secure hold for gloved hands in wet working areas and the whole body has textured finish. The new Elephant Pen can be ‘seen and rejected’ by both metal detection and X-ray inspection systems used in the food industry. 

The lanyard attachment will take a safety chain or the clip on a fabric lanyard that includes a breakaway device for safe use in a working machine area. The pen is rounded for easy cleaning and minimal soiling and entrapment. 

 

Fonterra wins first FSSC2200-Q certification

Fonterra Te Awamutu has become the first site in the world to be awarded the newly created Food Safety System Certification 22000 – Quality, an internationally recognised food safety accreditation.
 

Where previously food safety and food quality have been audited and assessed separately, the new certification gives companies the option of combining their food safety and quality management systems into one certification. This provides customers with the assurances of international best practice in both food safety and quality.
 

Fonterra Director New Zealand Manufacturing Mark Leslie said this highlights the Co-operative’s commitment to producing the highest quality dairy nutrition and world-leading service.
 

“At Fonterra safe food, safe people and world class quality underpins everything we do. We do not compromise on any of these and one does not take precedence over the other. This certification is in keeping with the importance we place on each of these critical aspects of our business and a vital step in continuing our journey in becoming the world’s most trusted source of dairy nutrition.
 

“This certification is testament to the hard work of our teams and reassures our customers of our strong commitment, team at Fonterra Te Awamutu have done a great job in achieving this world first,” said Leslie.
 

All Fonterra New Zealand-based ingredient sites already hold the baseline certification – and several sites, including Eltham, Kapuni and Pahiatua are on track to join Te Awamutu soon in achieving the gold standard FSSC2200-Q certification.
 

 

Food exec gets 28-year sentence for poisoning outbreak

According to the Washington Post, former peanut company owner Stewart Parnell has been sentenced to 28 years in prison for his role in a salmonella outbreak that killed nine people and sickened hundreds between 2008 and 2009 in the US.

The sentence said the Washington Post story, “marked the most severe punishment ever for a food-related crime.” 

Parnell’s now-bankrupt company, Peanut Corp. of America, found salmonella contamination six times in its peanuts between 2007 and 2008, according to investigators.

The investigators documented a long list of unsanitary conditions at the plant, including mould, cockroaches, dirty food processing equipment, rodent activity, along with the failure to separate raw and cooked products. 

They also unearthed e-mails that showed Parnell hastily approving shipments he knew might be contaminated, according to the Washington Post.

Company supervisor Michael Parnell and Stewart Parnell’s brother also received a prison sentence of 20 years. Another employee, a quality-control manager at the plant, who was convicted of obstruction of justice, received a 5-year sentence.

“We think the sentence itself is extremely high,” said Parnell’s attorney, who also added that, “He’s obviously disappointed, but we knew it was a likelihood something like this could happen.”

Parnell will appeal the verdict, said the Washington Post story.

Redesigned tank washers with improved backwash action

The re-designed Turbodisc range, available from Tecpro Australia, has several improvements in efficiency, performance and long-term reliability.

 Turbodisc tank washers are the perfect solution for small and medium process vessels, reactors, driers, granulators, storage tanks, tablet coating machines and IBCs, Constructed with extremely high precision, the Turbodisc contains only one moving part which rotates freely on a hydraulic bearing to produce a dense spray of fast moving droplets that achieve much higher impingement and coverage than traditional spray ball cleaners. The low flow rate and high wash speed reduces effluent costs and down time.
 
The new range has a sleeker design and improved backwash action that minimises wash pattern interference and ensures purity and an ultra-hygienic clean by allowing no product to settle on the cleaning head.

The Turbodisc range includes a wide choice of models in 316, 316L stainless steel and Hastelloy C22, and is also available in chemical resistant, ATEX Certified carbon filled PTFE. With only one moving part, wear and tear is negligible and no replacement parts are necessary, eliminating maintenance costs.
 
Suitable for pressures up to 4 Bar and flow rates of up to 250 L/min, the Turbodisc range provides models with a cleaning radius of between 0.5 and 2.5m. They have a maximum operating temperature of 95ºC and an ambient temperature of 140ºC and use a BSP/NPT connection. 

Available with a 360º or 180º wash pattern, they are extremely compact and can be placed into the smallest tanks at any angle.

How to reduce your audit costs

Time is money, and while audits are part and parcel of being a food manufacturer, you should be striving to make them as efficient and cost effective as possible, writes Martin Stone.

With the increase in requirements for demonstrating compliance to a given standard, audit costs are steadily rising across the industry. The ultimate cost of a food safety audit is based on the amount of time an auditor spends on site plus a travel component, also based on time. Typically, that total time is multiplied by a rate to yield the total cost. The trick to reducing auditing costs therefore, is to reduce the time of the audit.

There are three areas that I regularly see as having potential for reducing audit time, all of which are under the control of the auditee. These include the evidence provided to the auditor, preparation for the audit and activities on the audit day itself. Here are some practical tips to ensure you are minimising your audit costs:

Evidence

  • Auditors base decisions on evidence. The better the evidence, the less time an auditor will take to make a decision. The best supporting evidence consists of relevant documents that get to the heart of a matter. 

    Documents should be titled, signed and dated.  Photographs should be headed and dated. Cross references should be logical and easy to follow. Make it easy for the auditor to join the dots and come to a correct and timely decision.

  • Remember that facts are quicker for an auditor to respond to – compared to opinions. The provision of hard, concise and  factual evidence will save auditing time and money.

Preparation

  • Read the last audit report carefully. Consider recommendations or any issues requiring close outs at this audit and be prepared with the chain of evidence that will be required. Expect the auditor to want to investigate any anomalies raised at prior audits and again, have relevant information at hand to provide to the auditor.
  • Pre-audit yourself. Imagine the non-conformances or questions that could be raised. Be prepared with an answer and chain of evidence to support your assertions. By anticipating the questions to come from an auditor, you can be ready with the answers.
  • Many facilities have lengthy induction/site entry programs which are underpinned by the requirement for visitors to read and respond to lengthy documents. Consider if some of the induction programs for visitors can be conducted off site. A system that allows an auditor to complete some or all of an induction program prior to arriving on site will reduce site time of the audit.

The audit day

  • Ask the auditor "Can we proceed quicker if possible, what can we do to reduce the time required?" Let the auditor know that you wish to keep audit time to a minimum and will do what you can to facilitate this. Ask the question at the start of the audit and again, for next time, at the closing meeting.
  • Get a plan for the audit and ensure the relevant people are available at each stage. If a key person is not available at a particular time, alter the audit plan to suit. Do not get in a position where you are waiting for a key person to finish a meeting before interacting with the auditor.
  • Have someone available for the auditor to access at all times. Think 'assistant auditor'; assigning someone like this can save you a lot of time. This person should be someone who knows where all the references are and how to find any auditor requests. The idea here is to ensure the flow of information to the auditor, rather than receiving a big list of requests that results in dead auditing time while the required information is retrieved. 
  • Ensure complete access to the plant is available for a single plant inspection. Having to go to and from the plant because one section or another is closed or in wash down or 'starting up later' wastes time. Tour the facility in a logical commonsense manner. Start with receivals and end with dispatch. This makes the process easy to understand and will speed transit through the facility. Guide the auditor, tell them where key monitoring takes place and point out 'places of interest' and those locations relevant to the program being audited. Again, do everything you can to ensure the tour is a 'one-pass'. Coming back to the plant to check on something that was not observed in the first pass wastes large amounts of time.
  • Develop a one page index of your system so that an auditor can find a relevant section quickly and easily. A diagram of the system component parts is also great to help an auditor who is unfamiliar with your system.Of course your system always takes some audit time, but you can minimise this.
  • Provide somewhere quiet, tidy and cluter-free for the auditor to sit and review. A big desk or table that they can spread out on is essential.
  • Ensure your records are organised, chronological and complete. Check this yourself if you rely on others to put the records together. Missing records will waste time. If you discover missing records that cannot be located before the audit, determine a cause and be prepared for questioning by the auditor. If the records have been misplaced, ask the auditor if you can send them for review on a later date rather than making the auditor wait as you conduct a sweep of the operation.

I recently reviewed a report where an auditor returned on a second day to complete an audit and logged only one hour of audit time for this day. They also logged an additional two hours of travel time for this second day. By staying back another hour, the additional travel time could have been avoided. Ask your auditor "Can we stay back to complete this rather than you coming another day?"

Above all, try to eliminate the 'waiting for' moments in an audit – waiting to see this item, waiting to find that document or waiting to see that person can be dead audit time which ends up costing your business money. Like most things in food manufacturing, planning really is central to minimising time and costs.

Let's face it, every year you should be getting better at audits, so having shorter audits as an objective is a worthwhile and achievable target. Try setting the auditee team a KPI of reduced audit time and see if you can actively reduce your audit costs.

Good luck.

Martin Stone is a director of HACCP Australia, a leading food science consultancy. He is an accomplished food safety auditor and undertakes audits for legal, insurance and certification requirements. For more information visit www.haccp.com.au

 

2014 HACCP award winners revealed

Following the end of its annual three-day conference, HACCP recognised the best in food safety at its 2014 awards ceremony held in Sydney last night.

Presented by SAI Global, food safety experts were awarded across five major categories with the winners chosen by a panel of Australia’s top industry-recognised food experts.

“These awards recognise the individuals and businesses that work tirelessly to ensure the safety of Australia’s food supply. We drive professionals to raise the bar and set a higher industry standard and this year’s winners have done exactly that,” said Tim Jacob at, SAI Global.

The award for Outstanding Individual Nominated by an Agri-Food Industry Company was taken out by Damien Alexander, national food safety manager, Woolworths Limited.

Alexander is responsible for the safe delivery of food sold to 21 million customers a week and has trained over 7000 individuals across Australia and New Zealand in food safety and audited over 1000 businesses globally.

“I’ve always had a passion to up-skill and drive excellence in food safety. The key is to reduce risk and promote a better food safety culture, something that we’ve achieved as a team. The recognition of this award only drives this passion further,” said Alexander.

Outstanding Individual Working as a Registered Food Safety Auditor was awarded to Lisa Tomassen, food safety auditor at SGS Australia.

In her role, Tomassen audits some of SGS Australia’s biggest clients and was recognised for her precision in regards to the auditing process, and the level of respect that she has gained among her client base.

“I deliver audit results to clients in an understandable format, building relationships and a thorough understanding of their objectives. I believe this is where the mutual respect comes from. The best part of this role is when a client shares a passion for getting their audit over the line,” said Tomassen.

Outstanding Single-Site Company was awarded to Tasmanian Dairy Products which was commended for its dedication to achieving A Grade BRC and HACCP certification in less than 12 months.

“We worked hard to achieve such an impressive grade for a first-time audit. We intend to maintain and, where required, progress to ensure standards remain high. As a relatively new player in the milk export industry, we’re proud to receive such a recognisable award,” said Sheridan Budsworth, Tasmanian Dairy Products.  

Outstanding multi-site company went to Golden State Foods Australasia (GSF) which was recognised for its superior level of food safety standards over the past 12 months where the organisation decreased its product concerns by 20 per cent.

“In the past year we’ve had no critical or major findings identified in customer audits and have had zero product recalls. This award signifies the moves we’re making to become a safer organisation. In July we employed the very latest processing equipment to our Sydney site – another reason why our facilities are at the forefront of technological advancement for this industry,” said GSF QA manager, David Bradfield.

And lastly, the Ross Peters Memorial Award for Excellence in Food Safety award was taken out by Richard Bennett from the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand.

Bennett was recognised for being a driving force for the improved understanding and adoption of food safety and quality management in the fresh produce sector for two decades. He is commended for his guidance, research management, resource design, and communication.

“It’s a tremendous honour to be recognised by my peers in such a significant award category. The fresh produce industry’s safety journey has been a long one with many difficult challenges along the way.  At each stage I did all I could to lead, facilitate and inspire those I worked with. In turn, their work inspired me,” said Bennett.

 

HACCP Conference Awards finalists announced

The finalists for the 2014 HACCP Conference Awards have been named, with winners revealed in Sydney on 27 August.

The annual awards aim to provide the food industry with a vehicle to recognise and reward the achievements of those who work to ensure the safety of Australia’s food supply.

The first category is: outstanding individual nominated by an agri-food industry company. This award is intended for any individual employed by a private sector company who has contributed to the status of food safety in Australia.

The 2014 finalists are:

  • Damien Alexander, Woolworths
  • Jo Brooks, Australian Dairy Audit Solutions

Category two is: outstanding individual working as a registered food safety auditor. This is open to any individual working for an accredited Certification Body as a Food Safety Auditor. Finalists include:

  • Lisa Tomassen, SGS
  • Anthony Peart, SSCFC, Part of QC Australia

The last ‘Oustanding Company’ category is broken into two awards: single site company and multi-site company and is open to food businesses (within the relevant sub-category) who have successfully implemented one or more food safety management standards incorporating HACCP.

Finalists include:
Single Site

  • Crown Perth
  • Pirovic Family Farms – Egg Grading and Egg Pasteurising Operation
  • Tasmanian Dairy Products

Multi Site

  • GSF (Golden State Foods) Australasia
  • Toll Intermodal
  • KFC Australia

The Ross Peters Memorial Award for Excellence in Food Safety will also be presented at the awards, celebrating Ross Peters' outstanding contribution to food safety and recognising an industry member who has made a notable contribution to food safety in Australia or New Zealand and displays visible passion and commitment to driving food safety in the Australian or New Zealand food industry.

Held in Sydney from 26 to 28 August 2014, and hosted by Advancing Food Safety, SAI Global, the HACCP Conference will kick off with Advancing Food Safety’s interactive workshops followed by two days of educational talks and seminars from some of the industry’s most respected professionals.

Among the keynote speakers are Steven Newton, MD at Newton Risk-Stream Management, who will forecast a global food pandemic and recommend actions to prevent it. Ros Harvey, founding director of Sense T, will discuss food traceability, safety and technology, drawing on her studies through the creation of the world's first economy-wide intelligent sensor network. Gary Smith, director of Training, Improvement Solutions & Food Safety at SAI Global USA, will discuss the risks associated with allergens along the supply chain.

Download entry forms, early-bird tickets and the full conference program from www.australianhaccpconference.com.au
 

HACCP Food Safety Award winners announced

Celebrating the food safety contributions from Australia’s food manufacturing industry professionals, the winners of the 2013 HACCP Awards have been announced. 

As part of the 20th Australian HACCP Conference, the awards celebrate the contribution of both individuals and organisations involved in food safety.

“The HACCP Awards set Australasia’s food industry professional standards. This year’s winners have demonstrated both excellence in advancing safe food practices and passion to share their knowledge with the industry,” said Damian James, general manager – Assurance Services Australia – Advancing Food Safety, SAI Global.

2013 HACCP Awards winners:

Outstanding Individual nominated by an agri-food industry company 
Allan Dall, general manager NSW, Barden Produce.

“The Barden Produce team and I are really passionate about delivering fresh food within 24 hours of harvest. We’re proud that we’re consistently at the top of our game with the latest systems and operations that not only meet, but exceed industry and global standards. It’s great to be recognised by Advancing Food Safety, SAI Global for the work that we love to do,” said Dall.

Outstanding Individual working as a registered food safety auditor
Troy Arnold, SAI Global.

“Helping my clients, both large and small, meet food safety standards without compromising their products is the most rewarding part of my role. Receiving this HACCP Award is a fantastic professional achievement, but to know that I was nominated by a client, is an honour in itself,’ said Arnold

Outstanding Company – Single-site
Hazeldene’s Chicken & Kez’s Kitchen

“Implementing food safety industry best practice has led us to be the successful business that we are today. Having started as a small egg supplier over 56 years ago, to now stand here as one of the largest regional poultry processors in Victoria recognised for our consistency in delivering a product at the highest quality is a fantastic achievement,” said Tracey Ling, QA Manager, Hazeldene’s Chicken.

Michael Carp, managing director, Kez’s Kitchen (the second winner in this category), said  “As a family owned and operated business we’ve always had a commitment to making healthy, safe and delicious foods. Having HACCP standards as the foundation of our business for the past 15 years has allowed us to develop leading food manufacturing practices that ensure we deliver gourmet quality products to both the Australian and international markets."

Outstanding Company – Multi-site
Sanitarium

“Since our beginnings in 1898 we have actively sought ways to improve the quality and safety of products that we manufacture. This award recognises the team effort and commitment required to manufacture and distribute safe products and we want to thank our industry peers for this very special recognition,” said Nerolie Dever, quality systems manager, Sanitarium.

Inaugural Ross Peters Award Memorial Award
Glen Neal, manager – Food and Beverage, Ministry for Primary Industries New Zealand.

Neal has been the major driver for reform across the agrifood sector in NZ in addition to contributing to food safety. His passion and commitment have been recognised within the industry for the past 25 years.

“To even be considered for this award is a tremendous honour. The significant contribution that Ross gave to the industry, professionally as well as personally, is something to be celebrated and remembered. Driving reform and aiming to achieve the highest of standards for the industry is something that I find incredibly rewarding. Like Ross, I aim to share my passion for food safety with many others,”  he said.

 

The global food security threat: where do we begin?

Without doubt, the biggest challenge we, our children, and our grandchildren will face is the rising global demand for food and its impact on the environment, says Major General John Hartley, CEO of Future Directions International.

Future Directions International is a not-for-profit, independent research institute based in Perth, which conducts comprehensive research of important medium- to long-term issues facing Australia. Today, Hartley was one of the first presenters on day two of the 20th Australian HACCP Conference in Melbourne, and he had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand.

His presentation was titled Global Food Security in the 21st Century and Australia’s Role, and his message was clear: the single biggest threat facing the world today is an increasingly hungry population.

In the western world, the vast majority of us enjoy three meals a day, and with our ever-expanding waistlines it would be understandable if some westerners are at least a little skeptical that food security is a real problem.

But make no mistake, ensuring there is enough food to feed the world is a serious concern for today’s population, and becomes more pressing with each generation.

According to Hartley, nearly one billion people are hungry and malnourished today, and with the global population set to soar and food consumption expected to skyrocket by 75 percent in 2050 (compared to 2007) there’s never been more pressure on food producers to rise to the challenge.

However, climate change and the growing population’s increasingly reliance on natural resources represent significant roadblocks, if not deal breakers.

“Demand has outrun many of the natural systems on which we rely,” Hartley said, adding that as societies become richer, they tend to develop appetites for more nutrient-dense foods, and this is evident in the population’s rising (and unsustainable) meat consumption habits.

In June last year, research from the University of Exeter in the UK found that if we are to feed the 9.3bn people expected to inhabit the world in 2050, we will need to bring down the average global meat consumption from 16.6 percent to 15 percent of average daily calorie intake, which is about half that of the average western diet.

The aquaculture industry is expected to capitalise on any decline in meat consumption and is due to become a major source of the world’s protein over the next 20 years, quadrupling in size.

Jammie Penm, assistant secretary at the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), who also presented at the HACCP Conference today, said food producing industries are facing five key challenges in food production:

  1. Total factor productivity growth is weakening
  2. Land expansion is slowing
  3. Land degradation
  4. Water availability
  5. Climate change (640,000 ha of land in China is turned into desert every year, with climate change a key contributor).

But having enough land and adequate resources isn’t the only challenge the world’s food producers are facing. In order to adequately prepare for the future, consumer awareness also needs to be a top priority.

John Hartley says that some of the world’s governments are doing good work in this area, but overall, it’s not nearly enough. And while the National Food Plan contains worthy goals for boosting food exports and production, it falls short in terms of communicating just how pressing the issue of food security is.

“We need to convince the average person that we have a major problem,” he said. “We can only deal with an impending crisis if all contribute.

“We need to portray the findings of scientific communities in such a way that the public understand [the seriousness of the issue].

”Having said this, Hartley said the average global citizen is aware that globally, regionally and nationally, we need to produce more food, and that we need to invest in our food producers. Generally, farmers owe a lot of money, so investment is needed to ensure they can improve productivity and “get their act together,” he said.

Hartley provided the following stepping stones to managing global food security, breaking the food industry’s – and the global population’s – challenges into two categories: supply and demand. And while they might seem overly simplistic, once we get our head around the real issues at hand and understand the magnitude of what needs to be done, hopefully some real, valuable steps can be made to ensuring future generations are better off, not worse, than we are today.

Demand. We must:

  • Stabilise the world’s population
  • Eradicate poverty
  • Reduce excessive meat consumption
  • Reverse biofuel policies
  • Reduce waste (Around 40 percent of all food intended for human consumption in developed countries ends up as waste).

Supply. We must:

  • Stabilise the climate
  • Use water more effectively
  • Reverse decline in arable land