Health & Safety

Omron’s new relays make safety simpler

With just three models, safety relays in the new G9SR range cover virtually all common control system safety requirements for standalone applications. With built-in intelligence that maximises their flexibil...

New qualification to prepare foodservice staff for allergen legislation

A new qualification has been launched that could help foodservice staff prepare for legislation on food allergens due to be introduced later this year.

The HABC Level 3 Award in Food Allergen Management for Caterers is aimed at anyone involved in the purchase, delivery, production and serving of food within the catering, hospitality or licensing sectors. Forthcoming legislation from the EU, due to come into force on 13th December, will mean that businesses will need to provide allergy information on any food sold unpackaged, whether via a pub, restaurant, café, deli counter, bakery or sandwich shop.

The qualification from Highfield Awarding Body for Compliance – which is the largest provider of food-safety related qualifications in the UK - will give food staff knowledge relating to the control of food ingredients and allergies at all stages of food purchase and production. They will also gain an understanding of the process for ensuring that accurate ingredient information is available for customers at point of sale and service.

The qualification is supported by two slide presentations, one of which covers the suitable control of allergens in line with the new EU legislation so that learners can remain compliant, and the other which allows supervisors and managers to deliver further training to their staff after completing the qualification themselves.

Christian Sprenger, Managing Director of HABC, says, "Around 8% of children and 4% of adults have a food allergy of some description, and that figure is rising, so even without the new legislation it would be important that caterers make sure their staff are aware of the issue. Through this qualification, businesses – whether large or small - will be able to help their customers make informed choices and protect their welfare, whilst also preserving the reputation of the organisation."

The qualification takes just over ten hours to complete, meaning it can be taken in just one or two days.

Sidel shares beverage production hygiene expertise at world congress

Sidel has reported an excellent response to its presentation at the European Hygienic Engineering & Design Group annual world congress. The subject matter was ‘Food Declaration Management’, an initiative which Sidel started in 2009 and which is now the fundamental basis on which the company structures its food safety and hygienic design processes.

The EHEDG world congress provided an ideal opportunity for Sidel to demonstrate and to share its expertise and experience in Food Declaration Management. This remains a fundamental part of the company’s commitment to the shared duty of all stakeholders in the supply chain to the non-negotiable requirement for product safety in today’s food and beverage production.

Sidel was among an impressive panel of experts presenting at the annual congress, which included internationally recognised consultancies, companies, laboratories and universities. The Sidel presentation for the world congress focused on how Food Declaration Management enables Sidel to handle all the information relating to the suitability of its equipment and components used in the PET bottling of beverages throughout the entire life cycle, from the initial idea through to production. This involves various hygienic design specialists at a number of its manufacturing sites, including Parma and Mantova, Octeville and Beijing.

Sidel is a member of the EHEDG, a worldwide network of experts which provides guidance and practical assistance to manufacturers of food processing and packaging equipment, food manufacturers, national and international regulatory bodies and other stakeholders. The annual world congress plays a fundamental role in the Group’s aim to create a central, internationally recognised source of excellence by imparting knowledge on the hygienic engineering of equipment and by specifying best practices in respect to their hygienic operation, supply and maintenance.

Food Declaration Management is a process through which a benchmark in food safety and hygienic design is applied across different projects to ensure a high level is always maintained. The Food Declaration certificate has to be issued by all suppliers of any components or machinery that comes into contact with the food or beverage, providing proof that the equipment is safe and suitable for such use. For Sidel, this applies to the process machines and the fillers that are in direct contact with the beverage itself.

The end product safety is embedded in the Sidel process of New Product Development, ensuring that hygiene and safety rules are systematically applied each time something new is designed. It starts right from the outset, with training for the team responsible for the design of the components and machines so that they know and understand the specific hygienic design rules and guidelines relating to food-contact areas, thereby avoiding contamination during production. It also involves the Sourcing and Procurement team to enable them to work with suppliers to ensure the right certification is obtained when buying parts. For the Quality Department, it requires collection, checking and releasing through an IT system all the information which proves the suitability of the relevant components for food-contact. The Manufacturing Team is also heavily involved in the process, applying best practice when assembling the machines.

The EHEDG congress is staged in a different country each year, with the 2014 event taking place in Parma, Italy, in conjunction with the Cibus’Tec Food Pack exhibition. Delegates from all over the world attended the event, eager to learn and to share good practice on the hygienic engineering of equipment and facilities for the safe production and processing of food and related products.

Tetra Pak publishes guidelines on raw milk quality

Tetra Pak, the world leader in food processing and packaging solutions, has launched a handbook: The role of raw milk quality in UHT production.

Designed primarily to support quality managers of dairy companies in emerging markets, the handbook draws on best practice from leading dairy companies on ways to ensure the quality of raw milk before processing.

It focuses on critical points such as dairy farm operation, raw milk transportation, and handling and testing at the plant.

“Raw milk quality not only has a significant impact on the ultimate quality of the final UHT products but also affects the efficiency and operational costs of processing machinery”, says Bengt Eliasson, manager of the Centre of Expertise Dairy & Beverage Systems at Tetra Pak commented, “The dairy industry is becoming increasingly competitive; dairy companies must sustain longer running hours and be able to minimize maintenance problems at their plants.

"As our customers are well aware, these measures play a critical role in the delivery of high quality products to consumers and will help to ensure dairy businesses remain competitive within their market. Ultimately, the ability to create high quality products consistently will enable dairies to protect and sustain vital consumer relationships.”

“This new handbook offers a comprehensive guide to support the quality management programmes already implemented by our customers. As a result of collaboration with our sister company DeLaval, a worldwide leader in milking equipment and solutions for dairy farmers; we aim to provide a holistic approach to help our customers meet competitive pressures by maintaining consistency and quality in the processing cycle from farm to shelf.”

Download the paper here. 

The end to dinner indulgence?

With an estimated 15% of today’s adult population in Europe being lactose intolerant and an increased volume of consumers opting to lead a gluten free lifestyle, it is no wonder that frozen lactose and gluten free desserts are becoming so popular.

Forever tempting us to save room for dessert, erlenbacher is exciting tastebuds once more with an appetising selection of its finest frozen lactose and gluten free products. This diverse collection includes delicious Strawberry, a Duo of Blueberry and Peach, Nut and Chocolate and lastly, Strawberry and Mandarin Cream Slices. Three of the four delicious desserts are presented in mixed packs, which benefits those looking for a diversity of taste in minimal packaging.

Lactose Free Cream Slices are made with a flavoursome, lactose free cream filling, sandwiched between fluffy muffin layers for the ultimate velvety taste. The Strawberry Cream Slices are generously covered with chopped strawberries and coated in a sweet cake glaze whilst the Blueberry and Peach Cream Slices are topped with mouth-watering blueberries and peaches, perfect for an end of dinner indulgence.

The Gluten and Lactose Free Cream Slices are divided into four different cakes. The Nut and Chocolate Cream Slices are presented with a light creamy filling between delicious dark chocolate sponge layers and finished with a smooth chocolate or nut cream wave. The other mixed pack is the sweet Strawberry and Mandarin Cream Slices one of which is garnished with aromatic strawberries and the other with sun-ripened mandarin slices. All four desserts are both gluten and lactose free and are sure to be a firm favourite with consumers.

This delicious range of gluten and lactose free products is an impressive selection of erlenbacher’s 200 wide-ranging frozen baked goods. These attractive, ready to serve products can be arranged as four pre-cut individual slices making these creamy desserts a feast for the eyes on any shop counter.

As always, the recipes at erlenbacher use only natural ingredients, meaning no added preservatives, no artificial colourants, no hydrogenated fats and oils and no artificial flavourings have been added.

NSF International appoints two global food safety executives

NSF International has added two members to its global food safety leadership team.

David Richardson has been promoted to Vice President of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and Serban Teodoresco, pictured, has been appointed as Global Managing Director of NSF International’s Consulting and Technical Group. Both will play key roles in expanding NSF International’s food safety and quality services including global food safety certification, food fraud prevention and integrated risk management.

Based in Oxford, David Richardson oversees NSF International’s food safety business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. His appointment underscores the strategic importance of NSF operations in the region and the continued focus on the development of technical and commercial solutions to anticipate and meet the sector’s changing needs.

With more than 25 years of strategic, commercial and technical experience in the food safety industry, David has established and developed an international network of offices offering broad-based services for the agri-supply chain. The services include inspection and certification, training, consulting, risk management, standards development, environmental and other farm services worldwide. Most recently, he served as Global Managing Director of NSF International Agriculture where he expanded NSF’s global agriculture business through organic growth and acquisition.

As Vice President for EMEA, David’s global experience will help support companies’ increasing needs for food safety and quality in the region with NSF’s fully integrated technical and certification services. These services include global agriculture, retail services, a comprehensive range of innovative certification services and non-GMO food verification.

Based in Montreal, Serban Teodoresco is NSF International’s newly appointed Global Managing Director of NSF International’s Consulting and Technical Group within the Food Division. With more than thirty years of food safety, risk management and corporate entrepreneurship experience, Serban has spent his career providing food safety and risk management solutions to industry-leading companies around the globe. This expertise allows NSF International to expand its crisis prevention and risk management services, helping to protect brand reputation and the safety of global food supply chains.

Most recently, he served as President of Preventa, a risk management consulting firm. He also was Vice President Operations at DiverseyLever where he led the development of the new risk management group SafeKey, a branded suite of high-level food safety solutions. Serban has earned a graduate degree in mechanical engineering from École Polytechnique, Montréal and an MBA from the University of Chicago and attended INSEAD business school in France. He also co-authored the book “Integrated Risk Management for Mega Events” and a study on how to evaluate, manage and protect the corporate reputation.

Tom Chestnut, Senior Vice President, Global Food Division, says, “As the food supply chain becomes increasingly more complex, David and Serban will each play essential roles in assisting companies worldwide by providing innovative risk solutions to protect public health and the food supply chain. Both are strategically focused and results oriented with the competency to lead and execute effective global initiatives."

Embrace food safety culture to tackle foodborne illness’ warns top expert

One of the UK’s top food safety experts will warn a conference this autumn that businesses must embrace a positive food safety culture if they are to tackle the UK’s estimated half a million cases of foodborne illness each year.

Professor Chris Griffith, who is editor of the British Food Journal and one the world’s leading consultants on food safety, will tell delegates at the HABC National Conference on 13 November 2014 at Old Trafford Stadium that businesses have both a moral and financial imperative to produce safe food, but that this cannot be achieved without a positive food safety culture.

Since the Pennington report into the South Wales E. coli outbreak, food safety culture has jumped to prominence as the industry recognises that safety management systems in themselves do not necessarily lead to the production of safe food.

Speaking at the conference, Professor Griffith will explain how a management system must be accompanied by a positive food safety culture if it is to ensure food handlers follow correct practice. He will also explain how every business has a food safety culture, and that it is the function of owners and managers to ensure that this is positive towards food safety.

Other areas covered in his presentation will include the concepts and definitions of food safety culture and its increasing relevance to auditors and inspectors, an introduction to the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) approach to assessing food safety culture, and comparisons to other different approaches. There will also be an explanation of how businesses can construct a food safety culture improvement action plan.

Professor Griffith, who has recently authored a book on the subject – Developing and Maintaining a Positive Food Safety Culture - says, ‘For too long, food safety has been treated simply as a microbiological problem. However, there is now a growing recognition that there is a major human behavioural component.

When known food-safety practices are not followed it is all too all too easy to blame the individual food handler, yet the real underlying causes are often management failures. I know many managers who claim to be supportive of food safety and how it is their number one priority, but when I dig deep into the organisation’s culture I discover this is usually not the case.

Producing a positive food safety culture is easy to say but much more difficult for most businesses to prove. I hope by attending the conference and implementing the measures described, managers will be much better able to do this’.

Richard Sprenger, HABC Chairman and international food safety expert, says: "With the recent food safety stories in the media, it is becoming increasingly recognised that food safety culture is one of the most important factors in preventing foodborne illnesses, and it is something that inspectors, auditors and bodies such as the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are focussing on."

"Professor Griffith is one of the leading experts in the world, and his presentation will be of huge interest to anyone in the food industry whether they are from a catering, manufacturing or retail background."

As well as Professor Griffith, the food safety seminar at the HABC National Conference will also feature presentations from:

• Richard Sprenger, Chairman of HABC and author of Hygiene for Management and the Food Safety Handbook;

• John Barnes, Head of Local Authority Audit and Liaison Division, Food Standards Agency;

• Euan MacAuslan, Senior Training Advisor for The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea;

• Professor David Foskett (MBE CMA), Head of the London School of Hospitality and Tourism;

• Professor Patrick Wall, Professor of Public Health, University College Dublin;

• Peter Wareing, Principal Food Safety Advisor at Leatherhead Food Research; and

• Stuart Wiggans, Regulatory Compliance Lead for Retail Operations, ASDA Stores Ltd.

Pecan Deluxe set the food safety standard

Pecan Deluxe Candy (Europe) has demonstrated the success of its commitment to continuous improvement of internal processes and controls, with the achievement of a BRC6 ‘A’ level accreditation.

Generally acknowledged as technically one of the toughest standards to meet, the BRC Global Standard for Food Safety covers a broad spectrum of assessment ranging from Quality Management Systems to evidence of continual improvement. Pecan Deluxe’s achievement comes hot on the heels of significant investment, firstly in a new, dedicated European cold extrusions plant, and more recently in a bespoke bagging system to meet growing demand for flexible packaging solutions, in conjunction with rapid turnaround of bulk orders for the QSR sector. The management team has also been strengthened with senior appointments and promotions and operational processes scrutinised in order to maximise efficiency.

The pioneer of the use of cookie dough in ice cream, Pecan Deluxe is now the biggest European supplier of cookie dough pieces in a range of sizes, which feature in many household name premium ice creams as well as QSR and gastro-pub desserts. All Pecan Deluxe products – ranging from sugar sprinkles and chocolate pieces to brownie chunks and pralines - are made entirely of natural ingredients in segregated facilities, and the company is constantly innovating to meet demand from a growing number of manufacturers for new flavour and texture options.

European Managing Director Graham Kingston says, “The BRC6 A-grade is a very welcome endorsement of the recent efforts and major investment that have enabled Pecan Deluxe Europe to push for maximum performance in all our target areas. We pride ourselves on our product quality, our versatility, speed and superb service levels. Customers can now be reassured that our quality management and safety systems have passed one of the most stringent standards in the world – and with flying colours.”

FSDF is health and safety winner at TCS&D Awards

The Food Storage and Distribution Federation has been named the winner of the Health and Safety category at the prestigious TCS&D Awards event at the National Motorcycle Museum.

The FSDF was selected by the independent judging panel as a clear winner, highlighting its dedication to raising the standards of health and safety, not just for its members but also for the industry as a whole. The judges noted the highly effective and influential work of the Technical and Safety Committee and in particular their Health and Safety Leadership Programme, which has been recognised by the HSE as exactly the sort of guidance in this area that the Government wants to achieve.

Chris Sturman, CEO at FSDF, says, “We were delighted to be first out of the hat and receive the TCS&D award for Health and Safety. The judges recognised the first class work which TASC has undertaken in the last eighteen months, and in particular the establishment of the FSDF Health and Safety Leadership programme and Annual Awards, the establishment of close working relations with the Health and Safety Executive and joining the HSE Logistics Strategy Board, and for the development of Guidelines and Approved Codes of Practice for DSEAR and other key issue areas. We plan to build on this success and further develop the initiatives that make a difference to our members and the entire food logistics industry.”

The Food Storage and Distribution Federation launched its flagship Health and Safety Leadership Programme in January, designed to provide a highly visible declaration of the FSDF’s leadership for members who are committed to providing a safe and healthy work environment for all involved in the food storage and distribution industry sector.

Incorporating everyone from business leaders to the individuals on the shop floor, the programme mirrors the aims of the wider HSE strategy in encouraging continuous improvement, accountability and recognition of the wider perspective regarding health and safety and the need to actively support and share best practice to improve performance within the industry.

Partner Logistics was one of the first member organisations to get involved. Jon Miles, head of UK Operations, says, “At Partner Logistics, we are serious about all things relating to health and safety. We believe the industry needs to do more, and initiatives such as the Leadership Programme provided by the FSDF are key to driving improvements and maintaining the levels of safety for everyone in our industry. Also, the programme offers us the ability to benchmark our own health and safety performance against both our sector and the logistics industry as a whole, which is something we are very keen to do as part of our ongoing H&S strategy as a business.”

Chris Sturman says, “It is important for organisations to accept that Health and Safety is an ongoing priority and one which requires a continuous commitment from all levels of an organisation. We designed the FSDF Health and Safety Leadership Programme for our member companies who are progressively and proactively seeking to improve and maintain their own health and safety performance at the highest levels, as well as offer visibility of their achievements to the HSE and the industry at large.”

Food standards body for Scotland supported by Health Committee

The creation of a standalone food standards body in Scotland has been supported by MSPs on the Health and Sport Committee.

The Food (Scotland) Bill proposes that the current Food Standards Agency in Scotland be replaced with Food Standards Scotland which, in addition to regulating food safety, would also have a role in diet and nutrition policy.

In a report, MSPs call for greater detail on the proposed research functions of Food Standards Scotland and how these functions will relate to UK-funded research bodies. The report also highlighted significant opportunities for the new body to gain from European funding streams including Horizon 2020 and the Committee has requested more detail in relation to how these funding opportunities can be exploited.

The new agency will also have the ability to apply administrative sanctions, including issuing fixed penalty notices, on those who commit an offence related to Scotland’s food law. Whilst supportive of the principle, the Committee is calling on the Scottish Government to consider establishing an appeals process for the new sanctions.

Duncan McNeil MSP, Convener of the Committee, says, “Scotland’s food and drink industry has gained an international reputation for quality, so the creation of this body will have a vital role in ensuring that consumers have trust in the safety of the food they eat. The proposed legislation will also give the new organisation greater power to administer sanctions to those breaking Scotland’s food law which will ultimately provide reassurance to consumers.”

Bob Doris MSP, Deputy Convener of the Committee, says, “Whilst this Bill may seem like an administrative change, in fact, what is being proposed is a new body which will not only be responsible for food safety but also diet and nutrition. It was clear that all these issues are extremely important in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of the people of Scotland and protecting the reputation of Scotland’s food and drink industry. Our Committee agrees that the creation of this new body will be a positive step forward.”

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