QA Update 14/08

Delivery of pest control services to the food industry – a new standard on the way.
Everyone in the food industry may experience common symptoms, however they may require different solutions that must be used in strict adherence to the food safety and toxicity regulations and HACCP programmes.

Brismark QA Update - Issue 8 - July 2014-2Most food businesses sub-contract this component to a specialist pest controller, however the overriding responsibility still rests with the owner or manager – not with the pest controller. Therefore, the selection of the right pest controller for your business is an important decision. Things to look for when selecting a pest controller include:

  • experience in food premises that operate a HACCP program
  • ability to demonstrate expertise in the task, food safety and documentation
  • have standard operating procedures that address HACCP requirements.

It is also a good idea to check the registration of the pest controller and possibly obtain references from other food businesses.

HACCP Australia developed the standard for the delivery of pest control services to the food industry. As a result, pest control companies that are certified to this standard can demonstrate their ability to offer a pest control service that is compatible with the requirements of the best international food safety standards. The standard is currently under review and a new standard will be issued in 2014. If you wish to keep up with developments, these can be followed on the HACCP Australia website

Source: HACCP Food Safety Bulletin, Issue 19, 2014

Sprout garden alfalfa and onion sprouts recalled

The Belmore Bean Factory Pty Ltd has been forced to recall Sprout garden alfalfa and onion sprouts from the Sydney Markets and fruit and vegetable stores in NSW in April. This was due to E.coli contamination, which can cause illness if consumed.

Source: NSW Food Authority Alert, 14 April 2014

Vegetables – are they the new ‘meat’ of food related illness?

A government study in the US has identified leafy greens like lettuce and spinach as a leading source of food poisoning – which doesn’t do much for the health promotions encouraging us to eat our vegetables.

However, advice from experts is to always wash and/or cook those foods thoroughly.

What amazed researchers, who were assessing the causes of food poisoning over a 10 year period, was the role fruits and vegetables played in food poisonings. They found that about 1 in 5 illnesses were linked to leafy green vegetables – more than any other type of food. What is interesting is that many of the vegetable related illnesses came from the Norovirus, which is often spread by cooks and food handlers. In most cases, the contamination had more to do with the kitchen or restaurant it came from rather than the food.

Red meat was once seen as one of the leading sources of food poisoning, mainly due to a deadly outbreak of E.coli associated with hamburger mince. However red meat has been taken out of the spotlight since the introduction of significant safety improvements in beef handling.

Now the focus in on vegetables, and over the past few years, we have seen significant changes in the food safety standards for the produce industry from a number of regulatory bodies. An important thing to remember is that these standards could save your business from a nasty lawsuit or recall. By testing products regularly and maintaining strict controls for traceability of product issue – then if a product leads back to you – you have the proof to put the spotlight back on your customer’s food handlers and processes.

Source: HACCP Food Safety Bulletin, Issue 19, 2014