“People have the right to expect the food they eat to be safe and suitable for consumption. Foodborne illness and foodborne injury are at best unpleasant; at worst, they can be fatal. But there are also other consequences. Outbreaks of foodborne illness can damage trade and tourism, and lead to loss of earnings, unemployment and litigation. Food spoilage is wasteful, costly and can adversely affect trade and consumer confidence.
International food trade, and foreign travel, are increasing, bringing important social and economic benefits. But this also makes the spread of illness around the world easier. Eating habits too, have undergone major change in many countries over the last two decades and new food production, preparation and distribution techniques have developed to reflect this. Effective hygiene control, therefore, is vital to avoid the adverse human health and economic consequences of foodborne illness, foodborne injury, and food spoilage. Everyone, including farmers and growers, manufacturers and processors, food handlers and consumers, has a responsibility to assure that food is safe and suitable for consumption.
General Principles of Food Hygiene lay a firm foundation for ensuring food hygiene and should be used in conjunction with each specific code of hygienic practice, where appropriate, and the guidelines on microbiological criteria. The document follows the food chain from primary production through to final consumption, highlighting the key hygiene controls at each stage. It recommends a HACCP-based approach wherever possible to enhance food safety as described in Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) System and Guidelines for its Application (Annex).
The controls described in the General Principles of Food Hygiene document are internationally recognized as essential to ensure the safety and suitability of food for consumption. The General Principles are commended to Governments, industry (incl. individual primary producers, manufacturers, processors, foodservice operators and retailers) and consumers alike.” – The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Scores on Doors SA neither develops nor sets standards, but does recognise food safety standards when they meet local and international minimum requirements. Environmental Health Practitioner’s scope of practice under food control says “...(e) enforcing food legislation and the Codex Alimentarius” – Health Professions Act. This is a good starting point which allows for further expansion and improved standards, furthermore, a stepping stone for other food safety schemes to be introduced into the Scores on Doors family. For a working example (schemes) of a take-away or restaurant food safety management plan, check out the additional resources section.
• Informative Eating Food Safety Grading System: 2012 i-eat Voluntary Standards Pack (2760 kb)
• Legislation No. R 962 / R 364: Regulations Governing General Hygiene Requirements for Food Premises....
• Legislation No. R 908: Regulations Relating to the Application of the HACCP System.
• Legislation No. R 146: Regulations Relating to the Labelling and Advertising of Foodstuffs.
• Act No. 39 / 54 of 1972: Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act.
• Codex Alimentarius: Code of Hygienic Practice for Precooked and Cooked Foods in Mass Catering (65 kb)
• Codex Alimentarius: Recommended International Code of Practice – General Principles of Food Hygiene.
The primary food safety objective for any food operation is to supply food that is safe for human consumption. This chapter provides guidance on developing pre-requisite programs, i.e. hygienic and operational conditions. These are universal steps or procedures that control the conditions within a food operation.
Effective pre-requisite programs promote conditions that help to produce safe food. They are essential to support the foundation of a preventive food safety control system as described in Section B. Pre-requisite programs include many control measures necessary for producing safe food. Implementation of these control measures is encouraged before processing begins.
Maintaining appropriate documentation and records is an important element of effective pre-requisite programs because they provide an indication of whether the control measures are implemented effectively. Because of this, when pre-requisite programs are implemented, they should include written policies and/or procedures.
Buildings are located, designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operations.
Facilities are located, designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operation.
Food contact surfaces should be designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operation.
Water, ice and/or steam that come into contact with food and/or food contact surfaces is potable and protected from contamination.
All incoming materials (food and non-food) and finished products are transported, received, stored and handled under conditions that prevent, eliminate or reduce damage and/or contamination.
Temperature is controlled appropriately during transportation, handling and storage of food to minimise deterioration of the product.
Equipment and utensils are designed, constructed and installed to facilitate hygienic operations and are effectively maintained and calibrated to function as intended.
All people entering food processing, storage, distribution and handling areas have an appropriate degree of personal cleanliness and take the appropriate precautions to prevent the contamination of food and food contact surfaces.
Personnel have adequate technical knowledge and understanding of the operations or processes for which they are responsible and understand the precautions necessary to prevent the contamination of food and food contact surfaces.
The premises, equipment and food contact surfaces are maintained in clean and sanitary condition.
The premises must be free of pests.
Potentially unsafe food products are identified rapidly and removed efficiently from the marketplace.
Complaints are handled effectively to identify possible deficiencies in the operations.
Accurate information related to manufacturing, handling, storage and distribution is documented and the records properly maintained.
A preventive food safety control system is a written plan outlining the actions and measures taken to ensure that food:
This chapter provides guidance on developing a preventive food safety control system using a science-based and systematic approach. It provides guidelines to assess food safety hazards and establish preventive control measures.
The guidance outlined in this chapter is outcome-based. It is also flexible enough for operators to choose the most appropriate preventive food safety control programs for their operations, one example being HACCP. Whichever control program/ management plan is implemented, it must result in safe food production, and final food products that meet the requirements of South Africa food legislation
Management awareness and on-going commitment is critical to develop, implement and maintain an effective preventive food safety control system. The effectiveness of the system will also depend on management and employees having the appropriate knowledge of food hygiene principles and practices, and the necessary skills to apply them.
The successful control of food safety hazards also depends on the full commitment and involvement of all personnel in meeting the requirements of a preventive food safety control system.
Before implementing a preventive food safety control system, effective pre-requisite programs should be in place as outlined in Section A. This is so that the foundation for a preventive food safety control system is in place.
A preventive food safety control system is developed by a team with appropriate expertise and knowledge.
The description of the finished product and its intended use is sufficient to identify all potential hazards.
An accurate and detailed process-flow diagram that identifies potential sources and controls of hazards, and a plant schematic that shows product and employee traffic flow, to identify potential areas of cross-contamination.
Hazards associated with ingredients and incoming materials, handling/ processing steps, product flow and employee traffic patterns are identified.
Control measures are determined and applied to prevent, eliminate or reduce identified food safety hazards to acceptable levels.
The parameters of control measures are validated.
Control measures are monitored to assess if the food safety hazards are controlled.
Corrective action is taken when a deviation occurs.
The preventive food safety control system is verified to confirm the effectiveness of control measures.
Accurate information related to the safety of products is documented and the records properly maintained.
The Food Hygiene Guidelines above were adopted from the CFIA’s Guide to Food Safety and informally edited to reflect South African terminology and legislative requirements where applicable.
Although the above material is from overseas, it comes highly recommended for orientating oneself in a food safety management plan designed specifically for restaurants and take-aways, i.e. foodservices.