The Food Safety Authority of Ireland recently published a report to state that they received 2,739 complaints in 2015 relating to poor hygiene standards in food premises and the selling of unfit food.
643 complaints related to the condition of the food premises and 1,052 complaints related to the selling of unfit food.
Examples of complaints included a snail in a bag of pick’n’mix sweets, a dead fly in pâté, an animal tooth in a pot of jam, a worm in a chicken nugget, a piece of cake with a metal screw, glass in frozen peas, blonde hairs in bread, worm and eggs in bag of pre-packed lettuce and a live cockroach in a bag of crisps.
Other complaints related to suspect food poisoning (510), incorrect labelling (192) and the non-display of allergen information as per Reg 1169 (42).
These complaints could be avoided if food businesses implemented a robust Pre Requisite programme based on risk assessment which is a corner stone of an effective HACCP system.
If businesses neglect to implement the tightest controls in the PRP’S of cleaning, personal hygiene maintenance and pest control as examples. the result is a high risk of a food safety incident which may cause serious harm to the consumer -particularly those in the vulnerable groupings such as the young and the elderly.
The effectiveness of the Pre Requisite programme along with the HACCP Plan must be verified based on risk through a robust internal audit programme with audits been undertaken by auditors who are trained competent and independent of the work been audited.
Training of all staff in a food business is a key driver of success as not alone it is a legal requirement, it is fundamental to the success of the business.
Training must be planned and carried out by individuals who are knowledgeable in the subject matter and have the necessary training skills and ideally will have successfully completed a Train the Trainer programme.
In this way training will deliver the skills and knowledge required to ensure staff have the correct attitude to conduct their role within the food business to the highest level of food safety and quality.
Submitted by our Food Safety tutor Edel Jones
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