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Standards Recognised by Scores on Doors SA


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.

Scores on Doors SA recognised standards are currently:

• 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.


Food Hygiene Guidelines (broad-spectrum)


Section A

Pre-Requisite Programs

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.


1. Design and Construction of Premises


1.1 Buildings

Buildings are located, designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operations.


Surrounding areas

  • Buildings should be located away from potential sources of environmental contaminants, e.g. smoke, chemical pollution.
  • The surrounding area should be maintained (free from accumulated refuse) and adequately drained to minimise the potential for contamination from debris, pests, water, etc.

Building exteriors

  • Building exteriors should be designed and properly maintained to prevent contaminants or pests from entering, e.g. appropriately located air intakes, properly maintained roof, foundation and walls, and protected openings.
  • Windows and ventilation openings should be equipped with clean close-fitting fly screens or filters to prevent the intake of contaminated air, dust and insects.
  • Filters should be cleaned or replaced according to scheduling/ frequency specified in the maintenance program.

Building interiors

  • Where there is a possibility of cross-contamination, e.g. from receipt to storage of incoming materials, during processing, packaging and shipping of finished product, activities should be adequately separated by physical or other effective means (such as scheduling the processing of ready-to-eat foods prior to raw foods or scheduling adequate disinfecting/ sanitation between activities).
  • All interior structures, such as floors, walls, ceilings, doors, overhead fixtures, stairs and elevators, etc. should be constructed of materials that are durable, non-corrosive, smooth, impervious, non-absorbent and cleanable. These materials should also be suitable for manufacturing, distributing and handling food and should be maintained to prevent contamination. Examples include:
    • Windows in areas where glass breakage could result in physical contamination of food should be constructed of alternative materials or they should be adequately protected.
    • Doors should be close-fitting and, where appropriate, auto/ self-closing.
    • Where appropriate, wall, floor and ceiling joints should be sealed and angles coved.
  • Floor drains should be located so that they are readily accessible for cleaning, sanitising and inspecting, e.g. avoid places under or near filling or packing equipment. Drainage should be adequate to prevent the pooling of water.
  • Ceilings and overhead fixtures should be maintained to minimise the build up of dirt and condensation, and the shedding of particles.


  • Light intensity, i.e. the lux level, should be sufficient for the intended activity. Lighting should not alter food colour, e.g. using coloured light bulbs or film papers.
  • Light bulbs and fixtures located in areas where there is exposed food or packaging materials should be of a safety type, e.g. shatterproof, or protected. This is to prevent food from being contaminated from breaking glass.


  • Ventilation systems should be designed and constructed so that air does not flow from contaminated areas to clean areas.
  • Ventilation should provide sufficient air exchange to:
    • Prevent unacceptable accumulation of heat, steam, condensation, dust or other contamination, including mould, bacteria and extraneous matter.
    • Control ambient temperature, odours and humidity.
  • Ventilation systems should be adequately maintained and cleaned.

1.2 Facilities

Facilities are located, designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operation.


Sanitary facilities

  • Bathrooms, staff rooms and change rooms should be separate from processing areas. If possible, these rooms should not open directly into food handling/ processing areas.
  • Bathrooms, staff rooms and change rooms should be maintained in a clean condition.
  • An adequate number of conveniently located hand-wash basins with trapped waste pipes to drains should be available. They should be provided in the food handling, processing, storage and distribution areas.
  • Bathrooms and hand-wash basins should have:
    • Hot and cold, or suitable temperature controlled, potable running water.
    • Soap dispensers.
    • Soap.
    • Sanitary hand drying equipment or supplies.
    • Cleanable refuse/ waste receptacle.
    • Alcohol based disinfectant/ sanitiser, where appropriate.

Waste disposal facilities

  • Effluent or sewage pipes should not be located directly over or through processing, storage, distribution or handling areas, unless they are controlled to prevent contamination.
  • Facilities should be designed and constructed without any cross-connection between the sewage system and any other waste effluent system within the premises.
  • Drainage and sewage systems should be equipped with appropriate traps and vents to effectively capture contaminants, e.g. sewer gases and pests.
  • Adequate facilities and equipment should be provided and maintained to store waste and inedible material before their removal from the premises. These facilities should be designed to prevent contamination.
  • Containers used for waste should be clearly identifiable. They should be leak-proof and, where appropriate, covered, to prevent contamination of food.
  • Waste should be removed and containers cleaned and sanitised often enough that potential for contamination is minimised.

Equipment cleaning and sanitising facilities

  • Equipment cleaning and sanitising facilities should be:
    • Adequately separated from food handling, processing, storage, distribution and handling areas to prevent contamination.
    • Constructed of corrosion-resistant materials that can be easily cleaned and can be provided with potable water at temperatures appropriate for the cleaning chemicals used.

1.3 Food contact surfaces

Food contact surfaces should be designed, constructed and maintained to facilitate hygienic operation.


Any surface that comes into contact with food

  • Food contact surfaces should be non-corrosive, non-absorbent, non-toxic, and free from pitting, cracks or crevices. They should also be built to facilitate and withstand repeated cleaning and sanitising.
  • Non-food chemicals, including cleaning solutions and lubricants used for food contact surfaces, should be appropriate for the intended use and should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

1.4 Water, ice and steam

Water, ice and/or steam that come into contact with food and/or food contact surfaces is potable and protected from contamination.



  • An adequate supply of potable water, e.g. volume, temperature and pressure, should be available to meet operational and cleanup needs.
  • Potable water should be analysed at a frequency adequate to confirm that it meets the requirements of:
    • SABS 241: Water for Domestic Supplies.
    • Any applicable provincial and municipal, e.g. for microbial analysis, water from municipal water may be analysed semi-annually and water from other sources may be analysed monthly.
  • Non-potable water systems should not be connected with, or allowed reflux into, potable water systems, in order to avoid cross-contamination.
  • All hoses, taps and other similar sources of possible contamination should be designed to prevent back-flow or siphonage.
  • Where it is necessary to store water, storage facilities should be adequately designed and maintained to prevent contamination (covered). Storage facilities should also be made of food grade material.
  • Where water filters are used, they should be regularly changed or effectively maintained.
  • If chemical treatments are used, they should be monitored and controlled to deliver the desired concentration and to prevent contamination.
  • If water treatment chemicals are used, they should be appropriate for the intended use and should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Water re-circulated for reuse should be treated, analysed, monitored and maintained for the intended purpose and in accordance with applicable provincial or municipal requirements. Re-circulated water should have a clearly identified separate distribution system.
  • Seawater used for processing should be from an approved source and safe. It should also be in sanitary condition and meet microbiological requirements as prescribed in applicable SA standards.


  • Potable water should be used to manufacture ice on-site to prevent product contamination.
  • Purchased ice should be made from potable water and treated as an incoming material.


  • Potable water should be used to generate steam to prevent product contamination.
  • Steam supply should be adequate to meet operational needs.
  • Boiler feed water should be tested regularly. The chemical treatment process should be designed to prevent contamination
  • Boiler treatment chemicals should be appropriate for the intended use and should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Traps should be provided as necessary for adequate condensate removal and for eliminating foreign materials.

2. Controls of Operation


2.1 Transportation, receiving, storage and handling

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.


Trucks/ Vehicles

  • The person in-charge should verify that all food trucks/ vehicles are suitable for transporting food:
    • The temperature during transportation should be controlled to prevent product deterioration, refer to Section 2.2 for details on temperature control.
    • Adequate cleaning and sanitising programs should be in place, such as cleaning certificates, wash tickets, Letter of Guarantee and/or record of the previous material transported prior to loading or unloading.
    • Procedures should be in place to ensure trucks/ vehicles are cleaned adequately and are free from contamination and verified by the person in-charge by conducting visual inspection before loading and upon receipt, by sensory evaluation of ingredients and/or by analysis, as appropriate.
  • Where the same trucks/ vehicles are used for different food products, cleaning and sanitising procedures should be in place to prevent cross-contamination of the food, e.g. raw versus cooked or ready-to eat food, allergens in products with no allergens.
  • Where the same trucks/ vehicles are used for food and non-food products, whether in the same shipment or not, procedures should be in place to restrict the transporting of non-food products that can pose a risk to the food products being transported.
  • For bulk trucks, the person in-charge should have additional cleaning and sanitising procedures in place:
    • Bulk tanks should be designed and constructed to permit complete drainage and to prevent contamination. They should be designated to transport a specific commodity and be used for this purpose only.
    • Cleaning criteria should include the condition of hoses, pumps, inlets, outlets and seals, where applicable.
  • Where direct contact with food may occur, materials used in carrier construction should be suitable for food contact.
  • Trucks/ vehicles should be loaded, arranged, and unloaded in a manner that prevents damage and contamination of the food and/or food packaging material.

Incoming food materials and finished products

  • The person in-charge should have procedures in place to confirm that incoming food materials meet all purchasing and other documented specifications, e.g. visual inspection upon receipt, certificates of analysis, review of labels for allergens, and approved suppliers list.
  • For imported ingredients and/or products, the person in-charge should verify that the suppliers are capable of providing food products that comply with South African food legislation.
  • Incoming materials should be received and stored in appropriate areas separate from processing areas and finished products (ready-to-eat products).
  • Products should be stored and handled to prevent contamination, e.g. microbial growth due to high temperature, rusting of cans, and damage (stacking heights should be controlled, forklift damage).
  • Procedures should be in place to ensure that ingredients stored in opened packages are not contaminated.
  • Products that are sensitive to environmental conditions (humidity, light) should be stored in appropriate conditions to prevent deterioration.
  • A stock rotation procedure should be implemented to minimise deterioration and spoilage, e.g. use the “first-in-first-out” principle, i.e. use old stock first, before it expires.
  • Ingredients containing allergens should be clearly identified and stored to prevent cross-contamination with ingredients and products not containing allergens and with other materials and products.
  • Returned, non-conforming or suspect products should be controlled, clearly identified and segregated in a designated area until they can be disposed of appropriately.

Food packaging materials

  • The person in-charge should inspect food packaging materials before use to prevent using damaged, defective or contaminated packaging, which may lead to contamination of the product.
  • The person in-charge should have effective procedures in place to confirm that contaminated, damaged or defective reusable containers are properly cleaned and sanitised, repaired or replaced, as appropriate.
  • The person in-charge should have controls in place to prevent contamination of packaging, e.g. by pests and non-food chemicals, and to confirm that packaging material is used for its intended purpose only.

Non-food chemicals

  • Non-food chemicals should be received and stored in a designated, dry and well-ventilated area. This area should be separate from all food handling, processing, storage, and distribution areas, e.g. in a separate storage room, so that no possibility exists for cross-contamination of food, food contact surfaces or packaging materials.
  • Chemicals should be stored and mixed in clean, correctly-labelled containers and dispensed by trained, authorised personnel

2.2 Temperature control

Temperature is controlled appropriately during transportation, handling and storage of food to minimise deterioration of the product.


Temperature, the basics

  • Ingredients and products should be transported, handled and stored at appropriate temperatures that minimise deterioration caused by microorganism spoilage, and cans to rust.
  • Ingredients and products requiring refrigeration should be transported and stored at an appropriate temperature, e.g. 5°C or less but not frozen.
  • Frozen ingredients and products should be transported and stored at temperatures which do not permit thawing, e.g. below 0°C.
  • Temperatures of food handling areas should be appropriate to the type of products handled and controlled to prevent product deterioration, e.g. processing meat or fresh cut vegetables should be done in a controlled cool environment.
  • Temperatures should be monitored with the appropriate temperature recording devices.

2.3 Equipment

Equipment and utensils are designed, constructed and installed to facilitate hygienic operations and are effectively maintained and calibrated to function as intended.


Equipment and utensils

  • Equipment should be clearly identified, designed, constructed and installed so that it:
    • Functions according to the equipment's intended use.
    • Is accessible for thorough cleaning, sanitising, maintenance and inspection.
    • Prevents the contamination of product, e.g. location of lubricant reservoirs.
    • Is vented to prevent excessive condensation, e.g. filler bowls, blanchers, retorts, where applicable.
    • Is properly drained, and where possible is connected directly to drains.
  • Utensils should be:
    • Stored or used during operations in a way that prevents or minimises the contamination of product.
    • Clearly identified and used only for their intended purpose.

Maintenance and calibration

  • Effective maintenance and calibration programs should be in place to ensure that all equipment, including specialised instrumentation, and utensils function as per their intended purpose and that there is no potential for introducing biological, chemical or physical hazards, e.g. count tools before and after use, and clean and sanitise area following maintenance and calibration activities.
  • The person in-charge should implement written maintenance and calibration programs, which include:
    • A list of equipment and utensils (with their location) requiring regular maintenance and calibration.
    • Instruction on how to perform the maintenance and calibration activities.
    • Service intervals for maintenance and calibration.
    • Identification of the person(s) who is assigned the responsibility for the maintenance and calibration procedures.
    • Where applicable, the name(s) of an external company or companies conducting maintenance and/or calibration activities.
  • Maintenance and calibration of equipment should be done according to the manufacturer's instructions/ manual and be completed by qualified or trained personnel where applicable.

2.4 Personal hygiene and health

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.


Personal hygiene practices

  • The person in-charge should implement an effective written personal hygiene program that identifies hygienic behaviour and habits that should be followed to prevent contamination of food.
  • Any behaviour which could result in contamination of food should be prohibited in food processing, distribution, storage and handling areas. This includes eating, using tobacco, chewing gum, or unhygienic practices such as spitting.
  • Unhygienic practices should be prohibited, such as using a food product that has fallen on the floor or on a non-food contact surface.
  • Access of personnel and visitors should be controlled to prevent contamination.
  • There should be a hygiene procedure for visitors (including contractors, pest control company representatives, maintenance staff, etc) entering the premises. It should be either posted, or provided verbally or on a written form, to clearly indicate the owner's/ operator's requirements.
  • All people entering food handling, processing, storage and distribution areas should wash their hands:
    • Before starting work.
    • After any break.
    • After handling chemicals.
    • After handling various food products, e.g. raw foods versus cooked foods/ ready-to eat foods.
    • After handling unclean/ contaminated materials.
    • After coughing, sneezing, blowing their nose, or touching any part of their body (hair, face, arms).
    • After using the toilet.
    • After cleaning walls, floors, tables, utensils, and equipment.
  • Hand-washing notices should be posted in appropriate areas.
  • Protective clothing, footwear and gloves, appropriate to the operation in which the employee is engaged, should be worn and maintained in a sanitary manner. Employees in food handling/ processing areas should wear effective hair restraints, such as hair nets.
  • All persons entering food handling areas should remove jewellery and other objects which may fall into food, or otherwise physically contaminate food, e.g. watches, pins, clips, pen caps, etc.
  • Personal effects, including street clothing, should be stored separately from food processing, distribution, storage and food handling areas.
  • Processing equipment, e.g. refrigerators and freezers, should not be used for personal storage (storing their lunch).
  • The traffic pattern of personnel should prevent cross-contamination of the product, e.g. from a raw foods area to a cooked foods/ ready-to-eat foods area.

Communicable diseases and injuries

  • No person who is known to be infected with a disease likely to be transmitted through food, or showing symptoms of such disease, should be permitted to work in food-handling areas.
  • The person in-charge should require employees to inform management when they are suffering from a communicable disease or from symptoms which may be indicative of a communicable disease. Such symptoms could include jaundice, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, sore throat with fever, visibly infected skin lesions (boils, cuts), and discharges from the ears, eyes or nose.
  • Employees having open cuts or wounds should not handle food or touch food contact surfaces unless the injury is completely protected by a secure waterproof covering, e.g. disposable/ single-use gloves.

2.5 Training

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.


Employee food safety and equipment training

  • The person in-charge should implement a written training program for employees.
  • Training should be appropriate to the complexity of the process and the tasks assigned.
  • Appropriate training in personal hygiene and hygienic handling of food should be provided to all food handlers at the beginning of their employment.
  • Managers and supervisors should have the necessary skills in food hygiene principles and practices to be able to identify potential risks and take the necessary action to remedy deficiencies.
  • Personnel should be trained to have current knowledge of equipment and process technology, e.g. apprenticeship training, training for retort or pasteurisation personnel.
  • Personnel should be trained to understand the importance of the critical factors for which they are responsible, e.g. the parameters for control measures, the procedures for monitoring, the corrective actions to be taken if a deviation occurs and the records to be kept, etc.
    • Personnel responsible for maintaining or calibrating equipment that affects food safety should be appropriately trained to:
      • Identify deficiencies that could affect product safety.
      • Take the appropriate corrective actions, e.g. in-house repairs, contracted repairs.
    • Individuals performing maintenance on specific equipment should be appropriately trained.
    • Personnel responsible for the sanitation program and pest control should be appropriately trained to understand the principles and methods required for effective cleaning and sanitising, and for pest control.
    • Personnel responsible for water treatment and water safety monitoring should be appropriately trained to understand the principles and methods and should be competent in procedures to protect the safety of food.
    • Personnel responsible for recall should be appropriately trained to understand proper recall procedures, to be able to implement recalls effectively.
  • Management and appropriate personnel should be trained to understand all relevant food legislation and the food safety implications of improperly labelled products, such as allergen identification.
  • All employees, including maintenance, cleaning and customer service employees, should be trained on allergen control measures.
  • Training should be reinforced and updated at appropriate intervals, such as when employees are assigned a new duty.

2.6 Sanitation/ Disinfecting

The premises, equipment and food contact surfaces are maintained in clean and sanitary condition.


General sanitation/ disinfecting

  • Chemicals should be appropriate for the intended use and should be handled and used carefully in accordance with the relevant instructions.
  • The sanitation program should be carried out in a way that does not contaminate food or packaging materials during, or after, cleaning and sanitising, e.g. no contamination from aerosols or chemical residues.
  • The effectiveness of the sanitation program should be monitored and verified, e.g. by conducting routine inspections of the premises and equipment or microbiological testing. Where necessary, the program should be adjusted.
  • Operations should begin only after appropriate sanitation measures have been taken, e.g. after doing a pre-operation inspection for satisfactory sanitation.

Premises sanitation/ disinfecting

  • The person in-charge should implement a written sanitation program for the premises, including the shipping, receiving, processing, storage, distribution and handling areas, which specifies:
    • Areas to be cleaned.
    • The cleaning agents to be used.
    • Mixing instructions.
    • Temperature controls.
    • The person or people responsible.
    • The scheduling/ frequency of the activity.
  • Special sanitation and housekeeping procedures required during manufacturing, storage, distribution and handling should be specified within the document, e.g. removal of product residues during breaks, glass breakage procedures.

Equipment and utensils sanitation/ disinfecting

  • The person in-charge should implement a written sanitation program for all equipment and utensils, which specifies:
    • The equipment to be cleaned.
    • The cleaning agents to be used.
    • Mixing instructions.
    • Temperature controls.
    • The person or people responsible.
    • The scheduling/ frequency of each activity.
    • The procedures for cleaning and sanitising, including disassembly and assembly instructions.
  • Additional cleaning and sanitising procedures should be written for both cleaned-out-of-place (C.O.P.) equipment and cleaned-in-place (C.I.P.) equipment.
  • Cleaning and sanitising equipment should be designed for its intended use and should be properly maintained.

Food contact surfaces sanitation/ disinfecting

  • Food contact surfaces should be effectively cleaned, sanitised, inspected and maintained on a regular basis.
  • Non-food chemicals, including cleaning solutions and lubricants used for food contact surfaces, should be appropriate for the intended use and should be used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.

2.7 Pest control

The premises must be free of pests.


Pest control, the basics

  • The person in-charge should implement an effective, written pest control program for the premises and equipment. This program should prevent the entry of pests and should detect and eliminate any pests which may gain entry. The program should include:
    • The person who is assigned responsibility for pest control.
    • The name of the pest control company or the name of a registered pest control operator contracted for the pest control program, where applicable.
    • The list of chemicals used, their concentration (in accordance with label instructions), and the location, method and scheduling/ frequency of application.
    • A map of the location of pest control devices that are monitored.
    • The type and scheduling/ frequency of inspection to verify the effectiveness of the program.
  • Pesticides used should be registered in terms of The Fertilizers, Farm Feeds, Agricultural Remedies and Stock Remedies Act (Act No. 36 of 1947). Pesticides must be used in accordance with the label instructions.
  • Chemical treatment of equipment, premises or ingredients to control pests should be as per label instructions. They should also be applied so that the MRL (maximum residue limit) specified in No. R 246 of 11 February 1994 (amendments No. R 494, 525 and 247) and No. R 1047 of 20 October 2006 is not exceeded.
  • Poisonous rodenticides should not be used within the premises.

2.8 Product coding and recall

Potentially unsafe food products are identified rapidly and removed efficiently from the marketplace.


Product coding

  • The person in-charge should have a system for assigning codes or lot numbers to incoming materials, packaging materials and finished products, etc. This will help to identify recalled products.
  • Codes or lot numbers provided on packaging should be legible and durable for the lifespan of the product.
  • The person in-charge should record the amount of product manufactured for each code.
  • The person in-charge should have records of processing, inventory and distribution for each lot.
  • Distribution records should contain sufficient information to permit a recall of a particular code or lot number, such as:
    • The product identification and size.
    • The code or lot number.
    • The quantity.
    • Customer names, addresses, and phone numbers to the initial level of product distribution.


  • The person in-charge should implement a written recall program that allows them to effectively locate all affected food products and other products that may cause a similar hazard to public health.
  • The recall program should identify the contact information of those who are responsible for implementing a recall, as well as their roles and responsibilities.
  • The written recall procedure should follow the steps outlined in the guidelines Food Recall 101 on the FAQs section of NFSA website.
  • The recall program should be tested at least once a year through appropriate means, e.g. a mock recall. It should be tested to verify the ability to rapidly identify, control and recall all the potentially affected products.
  • The person in-charge should identify and correct any deficiencies in the recall procedure.
  • Recalled products should be separated from other products and access controlled until appropriate disposition of the product has been determined. This can be done by using hold tape, tags or a designated storage area.

2.9 Complaint handling

Complaints are handled effectively to identify possible deficiencies in the operations.


Complaints, the basics

  • Product complaints are an important indicator of possible deficiencies of the preventive food safety control systems and/or pre-requisite programs.
  • The person in-charge should develop and implement written procedures to handle product complaints. These should identify the person or people responsible for receiving, evaluating, categorising, investigating and addressing complaints.
  • The information received from the complainant should be documented and should include:
    • The date.
    • The name of complainant, and their address and phone numbers.
    • The nature and details of the complaint, e.g. illness, allergic reaction, quality concern, labelling issue, etc.
    • The product affected, i.e. description, size, date of manufacture, code, and/ or lot number.
    • Where the product was obtained.
  • Complaints should be accurately categorised according to safety concerns and other regulatory concerns, such as labelling.
  • Complaints related to safety and contamination should be investigated by appropriately-trained technical personnel.
  • The person in-charge should determine the potential cause and the scope of the issue, and should conduct appropriate follow-up investigations.

3. Record-Keeping


3.1 Records

Accurate information related to manufacturing, handling, storage and distribution is documented and the records properly maintained.


Record-keeping, the basics

  • Records play an essential role in determining whether the food operation conforms to its pre-requisite programs. Procedures should be established to identify record-keeping requirements.
  • Documentation and record-keeping should be appropriate to the nature and size of the operation. They should also assist the business in verifying that controls are in place and are being maintained
  • The person in-charge should establish record-keeping procedures to demonstrate:
    • Water, ice and steam potability.
    • Microbiological and chemical safety of the incoming and finished products
    • Control of processing, storage, distribution, handling and composition of the product, e.g. temperature controls, levels of added nutrients and food additives, etc.
    • The formulations and codes of incoming ingredients and final products.
    • The effectiveness of the maintenance and calibration programs for equipment and utensils, the sanitation/ disinfection program, the pest control program and the training program.
  • Examples of records may include temperature logs, formulation sheets, equipment maintenance checklists and pest control records.
  • Records should be legible and should accurately reflect the actual events, conditions and activities.
  • Any changes to records should be traceable, e.g. errors are identified by a strike out and followed by initials.
  • Each entry on a record should be signed and dated by the responsible person at the time the specific event occurred.
  • Record-keeping requirements and responsibilities should be communicated to staff.
  • Records should be kept in a secure location, maintained and readily available for a period of time that exceeds the shelf life of the product. This is in keeping with Codex's Recommended International Code of Practice - General Principles of Food Hygiene.
  • Records could be in electronic format, as long as they can be retrieved upon request. They should be password-protected and should be backed up frequently, on a set schedule.
  • Refer to Section B for additional record-keeping guidelines concerning preventive food safety control systems.

Section B

Preventive Food Safety Control Systems

A preventive food safety control system is a written plan outlining the actions and measures taken to ensure that food:

  • Is safe for the consumer.
  • Is fit for human consumption.
  • Conforms to safety and labelling requirements as prescribed by all applicable South African food legislation.

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.


4. Food Safety Management Plan


4.1 Assemble the Team

A preventive food safety control system is developed by a team with appropriate expertise and knowledge.

  • Management should be committed to and supportive of developing, implementing, maintaining and continuously improving a preventive food safety control system. They should demonstrate this by providing sufficient resources and training, as necessary.
  • The team should include representatives from all areas who are knowledgeable of the relevant food products, manufacturing, storage, distribution and food handling processes. This could include people from shipping and receiving, operations, sanitation, quality assurance, maintenance and engineering.
  • The team should be able to:
    • Confirm that all food products comply with applicable food legislation, including quality and labelling.
    • Identify significant food safety hazards, e.g. biological, chemical and physical hazards, as well as the appropriate control measures.
    • Define the scope of the preventive food safety control system.
    • Confirm that all necessary pre-requisite programs have been effectively implemented.
    • Develop, implement and maintain an effective preventive food safety control system.

4.2 Describe the Product and Its Intended Use

The description of the finished product and its intended use is sufficient to identify all potential hazards.

  • All products and their intended use, e.g. for further processing, ready-to-eat food, should be clearly described. This will help adequately identify and address potential hazards associated with the processing, storage, distribution and handling steps, as well as potential hazards affecting sensitive segments of the population.
  • The description of product should include:
    • Product common name(s).
    • Important product characteristics including physical/ chemical structure, e.g. water activity, pH.
    • Formulations, including a complete list of ingredients and allergens.
    • Special treatments, e.g. heat-treatment, freezing, brining, smoking, etc.
    • Packaging type and packaging material.
    • Shelf-life. (Shelf-life may be determined via microbial testing, lipid deterioration, moisture analysis, water activity value, sensory evaluation such as taste, odour and texture, etc.)
    • Labelling instructions for consumers, e.g. keep frozen, cook prior to eating.
    • Special distribution control, e.g. temperature, humidity.
    • Distribution, including intended target audience.
  • The description of the intended use of the product should include:
    • The end use of the food, e.g. ready-to-eat food product, ingredient for a product destined for further processing.
    • The intended user of the product, such as sensitive populations including the elderly, infants, and malnourished, ill or immuno-compromised individuals.

4.3 Construct Flow Diagrams and Plant Schematics

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.

  • The process-flow diagram should cover all steps of the operation, from receiving to final shipping, regardless of its size or complexity.
  • The process-flow diagram should be simple and should not contain unnecessary details.
  • The plant schematic (the floor plan) should indicate the flow of incoming materials from receiving through storage, handling/ preparation, processing, packaging, as well as storage and transporting of finished products.
  • The plant schematic should indicate movement of products, waste, chemicals and employees throughout the premises, including change rooms, bathrooms and staff rooms.
  • The plant schematic should identify potential areas for cross-contamination in the plant, e.g. locations where allergens could unexpectedly come in contact with non-allergen ingredients, locations where raw materials could come in contact with cooked products.
  • The process-flow diagram and plant schematic should be verified by walking through the food handling/ processing, storage and distribution areas. This will confirm that all steps have been included and that product and employee flows are accurate.
  • Variances that may occur on different shifts or during different business cycles should be considered.

4.4 Conduct a Hazard Analysis

Hazards associated with ingredients and incoming materials, handling/ processing steps, product flow and employee traffic patterns are identified.


Hazards, the basics

  • A hazard is anything that may cause injury or illness if not controlled, reduced or prevented. Food hazards may be biological, chemical or physical.
  • The team should identify all hazards specific to their operation and the composition of their products.
  • The team should identify potential hazards associated with all the ingredients, incoming materials and each processing step. The hazards identified should take into consideration the intended end use of the product.
  • Tools to assist in identifying hazards include:
    • Scientific publications.
    • Reference texts.
    • Additional information from industry associations and various governments that are publicly available.

Biological hazards

  • Biological hazards include micro-organisms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi and moulds.
  • The risk of biological hazards may vary depending on the severity of consequences of the hazard. Some micro-organisms are pathogenic and are able to cause foodborne illnesses, e.g. Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Bacillus cereus, E. coli O157:H7. Toxins produced by some micro-organisms cannot be inactivated by heat treatment, e.g. Clostridium botulinum, Staphylococcus aureus; these can cause severe health consequences.
  • Sources of biological hazards include raw materials from suppliers, cross-contamination, inadequate time or temperature control, employees, food contact surfaces or the air.

Chemical hazards

  • Chemical hazards include:
    • Chemicals intentionally used in food processing, e.g. processing aids, food additives, sulphites, machine lubricants.
    • Chemicals that are by-products of processing, e.g. nitrosamines, chloramines.
    • Industrial chemicals, e.g. cleaning agents, oils, gasoline, lubricants, ammonia.
    • Naturally-occurring toxicants, e.g. products of plant, animal or microbial metabolisms such as aflatoxins.
    • Agricultural chemicals, e.g. pesticides, antibiotics, fungicides, rodenticides, algicides, fertilisers.
    • Nutrients, such as over-fortification and under-fortification of vitamins and minerals.
    • Food allergens, e.g. peanuts, tree nuts, sesame seeds, milk, eggs, fish, crustaceans, shellfish, soy, wheat and sulphites.
  • Chemical hazards may occur naturally or may be introduced during any stage of food processing. For example, allergens may be introduced either by presence in an ingredient or in a component of an ingredient, or through cross-contamination of either.

Physical hazards

  • Physical hazards include glass, plastic, metal, wood, rubber, stone, bone, dust, and insect parts.
  • Physical hazards can be introduced into food anywhere along the food processing line from equipment or employees, or can be already present in the raw materials.

4.5 Determine and Apply Control Measures

Control measures are determined and applied to prevent, eliminate or reduce identified food safety hazards to acceptable levels.


Determine and Apply Control Measures, the basics

  • The team should establish appropriate control measures to reduce the identified food safety hazards to acceptable levels at each processing step.
  • The determination of appropriate control measures should be scientifically based and documented. A decision tree may be used to help determine control measures.
  • The person in-charge should implement control measures to prevent cross-contamination and reduce the identified biological, chemical and/or physical hazards to an acceptable level at each processing step. This will enhance the safety and compositional integrity of the final food product.
    • For biological hazards, control measures may include an appropriate time/ temperature cooking step or other post-processing treatment to destroy microbiological organisms.
    • For chemical hazards, such as allergens, control measures may involve implementing an allergen prevention plan, which outlines multiple measures to control allergens.
    • For physical hazards, control measures may include suitable detection or screening devices.
    • Other control measures may include making sure that the food additives and nutrients used are allowed and are used within permitted levels, and making sure that the product composition accurately reflects the formulation.
  • Many control measures should be already covered by the pre-requisite programs. Implementation of these control measures is encouraged before food handling or processing begins.
  • Control measures for hazards that are expected to occur should be identified, tested and evaluated.
  • For each control measure, the team should establish predetermined and documented parameters that separate what is acceptable from what is not acceptable.
  • If a regulatory limit exists, e.g. level of vitamin and mineral fortification as prescribed by the DoH's Food Control legislation, the prescribed regulatory limit should be used as a parameter for the control measures.
  • Parameters should be developed and implemented using accepted scientific methods, which may include the details of experimental studies.
  • Parameters may involve observations (qualitative) or measurements (quantitative). Examples of parameters include measurements of temperature, time, moisture level, pH, water activity and available chlorine. They also include sensory parameters such as visual appearance and texture.

4.6 Validation

The parameters of control measures are validated.


Validation, the basics

  • Validation assesses whether the preventive food safety control system is effectively controlling all hazards in the way that it was designed to. Validation involves obtaining evidence to ensure control measures are effective at all times. This is to confirm that the control measures or preventive food safety control systems, when implemented as intended, are capable of controlling the hazard within the established limits and that this level of control can be achieved consistently.
  • Validation should be performed by the team when new control measures or new preventive food safety control systems are designed or amended.
  • During the validation, all control measures within the preventive food safety control system, including the pre-requisite programs, should be reviewed to confirm that the control measures continue to be effective in controlling the identified hazards.
  • All control measures should be validated periodically, e.g. once a year.

4.7 Monitoring

Control measures are monitored to assess if the food safety hazards are controlled.


Monitoring, the basics

  • All control measures should be monitored at a scheduled frequency to assess whether a food safety hazard is being controlled. The monitoring should be frequent enough to detect a trend towards loss of control of a hazard.
  • The following should be specified and appropriate to the type of manufacturing, storage, distribution or handling process and associated risks:
    • The procedures (what/ how).
    • The frequency (when).
    • The individual responsible for the monitoring (who).
  • Examples of monitoring activities include taking temperature readings of refrigerators and freezers, observations of hygienic practices of employees, and taking water samples for analysis.
  • Data derived from monitoring should be evaluated by a designated person with knowledge and authority to carry out corrective actions when necessary.
  • Process adjustments should be made before a deviation occurs, e.g. when monitoring results indicate a trend towards loss of control of a hazard.

4.8 Corrective Action

Corrective action is taken when a deviation occurs.


Corrective Action, the basics

  • Corrective actions should be taken to address deviations that occur when the established parameters or other specified requirements for a control measure are not met.
  • Immediate corrective actions should be taken when a food safety issue is involved.
  • Procedures should be established to indicate the corrective actions to be followed, when they should be implemented, the person responsible for taking the corrective actions and the information to be recorded.
  • Corrective actions should include measures to:
    • Regain control of the process.
    • Determine the appropriate method to control all affected products, e.g. put on hold.
    • Determine and correct the root cause of the deviation to prevent a reoccurrence, e.g. reassess the situation.
  • Examples of corrective actions include:
    • Rejecting incoming materials that do not meet specifications.
    • Cleaning utensils that have not been sanitided effectively.
    • Putting tainted products on hold.
    • Conducting food safety assessments.
    • Implementing preventive measures.
  • Effectiveness of the corrective actions should be evaluated and measures taken to prevent a recurrence of the deviation.
  • Data derived from corrective actions should be evaluated by a designated person with knowledge and authority to carry out adjustments to the system when necessary.

4.9 Verification

The preventive food safety control system is verified to confirm the effectiveness of control measures.


Verification, the basics

  • Verification assesses if the preventive food safety control system is being implemented as designed, e.g. the monitoring and corrective action procedures are followed properly.
  • Verification involves examining the accuracy, correctness or effectiveness of validated processes or process controls. This is done through testing, investigation or comparison against a standard.
  • Examples of verification activities include reviewing records, testing incoming ingredients and finished products, observing employee practices, etc.
  • The system should be reviewed whenever a change in the operation, product or process occurs. This will help existing food safety controls to remain effective.
  • In most cases, a complete verification requires that both record review and on-site verification be done. This task should be carried out by someone other than the person who is responsible for performing the monitoring and corrective actions.
  • Controls measures should be verified at regular intervals to the food safety hazards associated with the product and process/ processes.

4.10 Record Keeping

Accurate information related to the safety of products is documented and the records properly maintained.


Record keeping, the basics

  • In addition to the pre-requisite program record keeping requirements identified in Part 3.1 of Section A. All records of the preventive food safety control system should be available to demonstrate the adequacy of procedures and methods used in food handling/ processing.
  • Records on the adequacy of procedures and methods, such as thermal processes and hermetic seal verifications, should be verified and signed by a qualified individual.
  • The team should develop and maintain appropriate documentation and records for all control measures, including monitoring, corrective action, verification and validation of records.

4.11 References and Acknowledgements

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.



Additional resources for restaurants and take-aways

  • Food Safety Management Pack:
    • Full colour version in pdf format... download (2340 kb)
    • Print-friendly version in pdf format... download (6050 kb)

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.



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