Although the food manufacturing industry has used these systems successfully for many years, it is far less common in small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those in the food service sector. This may be because businesses in the food service industry meet several hurdles when it comes to implementing an FSMS, which they find particularly difficult to: mainly including the incorrect use of practical tools, and lack of knowledge in the subject, which then further leads to not appreciating its importance.
At Tuning Fork Advisory, we believe that the effective use of standards and systems in SMEs should be primarily driven by an internal cultural shift. Furthermore, food safety is not something that can be implemented at the flick of a switch, and its maintenance less so; a commitment to time and effort needs to be invested at every step of the food chain and processes, to ensure a thorough internalizing of the food-safety culture. This is where Food Safety Management Systems come into play.
With regular technological advancements being made in the food industry, it only follows that these are well exploited to reap their fullest efficiency. A standard developed by ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) can boost your operations’ efficiency and effectiveness to work hand-in-hand with the latest technology, thus making running a restaurant much simpler in the long run. Such global standards may therefore be the best possible way to ensure consistency in safety across the world – by abiding to prescribed conditions.
In view of this, we at Tuning Fork Advisory have led many companies in both the food manufacturing and food service industry in implementing the highest levels of food safety, based on international standards such as ISO 22000:2018 and BRC (British Retail Consortium).
It is vital to note that European Regulations together with harmonized Maltese Legislations obliges any business working in the food service industry (from farm to fork) to apply a Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. Failure to comply to such regulations could result in a fine, or even worse: closure of your business.
Prerequisites and HACCP
Prerequisite Programmes are put into place to control hazards and prevent product contamination. These may take the form of pest management programs, hygiene and cleaning procedures, supplier control, maintenance and calibration of equipment, among others.
HACCP Plans are created for every process (e.g. receiving food, storage of food, food preparation, etc.) or product, and serve to identify all possible hazards. Furthermore, controls are devised for every hazard to make sure that hazards are eliminated or mitigated, to finally ensure acceptable levels of food safety in the food product being served hence the mucdesired peace of mind.
HACCP, in a nutshell, involves doing the following:
1.Look closely into your business operations. What could go wrong based on the main four types of food safety hazards?
2.Identify any Critical Control Points (CCPs). These points are where the business needs to hone its effective monitoring and reduction / elimination of food safety hazards.
3.Decide what action needs to be taken in the event of any risk going wrong.
4.Make sure operational procedures in place are being followed and are implemented well.
5.Keep records to show that your procedures are effective.
Over the years, studies have shown that food safety drastically improves with the implementation of a prerequisite program and bespoke HACCP plan. It has also been noted that the will of the business operator to implement such systems decreases as the complexity increases. This latter point highlights the benefit of onboarding help through companies like us, to simplify and create a bespoke FSMS which is appropriate for your specific food service business, always integrated in internal operations.
Benefits of having a FSMS using practical prerequisite programs and HACCP plans:
Makes it easier to meet legal or corporate requirements. Your FSMS does it for you;
Ensures all raw materials, ingredients and food products used are safe and hygienic. This is not only important to your customers, but it also protects chefs and workers who are involved in food preparation;
Ensures that the suppliers utilised share the same principles of consumer safety, and always provide quality products;
Identifies hazards that might show up during food preparation, allowing you to preempt how to prevent these hazards;
Minimises any possible risks of food-borne diseases;
Ensures food safety on a larger scale. So, if you are looking to expand your business, you would not have to worry about safety requirements;
Provides customers with confidence that both your company and your products meet the correct safety requirements. This in turn improves brand image, building a lasting professional identity associated with your brand.
Bottom line: an efficient and workable FSMS can help immensely in making your restaurant successful and sustainable. By engaging us at Tuning Fork Advisory to ensure effective FSMS implementation – and so, mitigation of any health risks you can gift yourself the same peace of mind that your customers want to enjoy.