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EHA : Yearkbook 2009
John Robson and Roli Varma Robson Laboratories, Australian Capital Territory In the food service industry, rethermalisation units provide a costeffective method of preparing meals having both hot and cold food items. These two compartment units are able to maintain cold meals at cool room temperatures on one side and the other to reheat previously cooked food to an acceptable temperature in approximately 50 minutes. The application of these units has proved successful where large quantities of food are served. The findings of a recent study (National Risk Validation Project, Ref: Food & Safety Hygiene, November 2002) assessed highrisk food businesses as being consistently linked with food-borne illness outbreaks. The three most frequently occurring hazards related to: n Faulty temperature control n Contamination via inadequate handling, such as poor hygiene, and n Contaminated raw material. As a consequence of these findings the Australian and New Zealand Food Regulation Ministerial Council (ANZFRMC) has made the implementation of food safety programs mandatory in the high-risk food sectors. Compliance with these program requirements is to commence two years after amendments to the Food Standards Code being gazetted. These amendments were gazetted on 5 October 2006 as The Australia New Zealand Foods Standards Code – Amendment No. 88 – 2006, Standard 3.3.1, Food Safety Programs for Food Service to Vulnerable Persons. Implementation of the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) system as a means of establishing food safety is regarded as being essential in situations where potentially hazardous food is served to vulnerable populations such as in hospitals and nursing homes. A Critical Control Point in a system or process is “a step at which a control can be applied and is essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard or reduce it to an acceptable level”. One of the most important Critical Control Points related to food management is temperature. Therefore, verification of acceptable temperature control of food, delivered to vulnerable populations, is extremely important to facilitate compliance with the new food standards and food safety management systems. The effectiveness of HACCP food safety systems is assessed during the Auditing and Accreditation process. Examples of typical questions asked during the auditing are: n Have the Critical Control Points for each significant hazard been identified and transferred to the Hazard Audit Table? n Have Critical Limits been established for each preventative measure? n Have monitoring procedures been developed for each preventative measure? n Is the frequency of monitoring sufficient to provide a high level of assurance that the process is under control? n Are monitoring records kept and reviewed by the appropriate personnel? The HACCP system was developed in 1996 and is preferred by food safety professionals around the world. It is widely viewed as critical to food safety, as it helps prevent food contamination, by identifying potentially unsafe links in the food processing chain. It is a system that manages the risk associated with food safety aspects of production. This system is based on seven principles identified in the Codex Guidelines for the Application of Hazard System adopted by the 20th Session of the Joint Food and Agricultural Organisation and World Health Organization Codex Alimentarius Commission 19 93 . It involves: n Examining and analysing every stage of a food- related operation to identify and assess hazards; n Determining the ‘Critical Control Points’ at which action is required to control the identified hazards; n Establishing the Critical Limits that must be met at, and procedures to monitor, each critical control point; n Establishing corrective procedures when a deviation is identified by monitoring; and n Documentation of the HACCP system and verification procedures to establish that processes are working correctly, i.e., an approach to process quality control and food safety use in the food industry. During a HACCP audit, an auditor might ask questions on particular aspects of your control system and its application. Auditors will be primarily looking to see that systems conform to the Codex requirements (Codex Alimentarius Commission, 1996: Annex 1 to Appendix II – ALINORM 97/13, pp. 66-76), in the application of the principles and the following of developmental steps. Compliance documentation will be necessary. During 2003 and 2004, work was undertaken within the Food Services Department of Canberra Hospital to assess the potential to simplify the presentation of the data generated by temperature loggers monitoring their kitchen rethermalisation units. A software program was developed to simplify and enhance the presentation of the collected data. Originally, 2-3 hours were required to process, present and analyse EHA YEARBOOK 2009 Food Safety: Temperature data analysis and the HACCP system
Annual Review and Yearbook 2008
EHA Yearbook 2010