Cape Town - The implementation of the new Consumer Protection Act (CPA) makes it more important than ever for food companies to have documented evidence of their safety measures, Ecowize MD Gareth Lloyd-Jones said on Tuesday.
"It is no longer a case of satisfying consumers by presenting visually clean premises, as companies are now required to have accredited certification that all risks associated with micro-biological, chemical, and foreign matter contamination have been mitigated and managed," he said in a statement.
Lloyd-Jones said there are four major aspects of risk companies need to account for to have visually and micro-biologically clean facilities.
These are micro-biological contamination, chemical contamination, foreign matter, and allergens.
"Micro-biological contamination refers to the presence of one or more various bacteria, yeasts, mould, fungi or protozoa, all of which could adversely affect the product and a consumer's health and safety," he said.
Measuring the bacterial surveillance and total count helps to identify all bacteria present.
Companies should therefore conduct further testing to isolate specific pathogens that are inherent risks to their products.
Chemical contamination occurs when products are tainted by cleaning chemicals.
Chemicals have to meet stringent and certified food grade chemical standards and regulatory requirements which declare them safe in a cleaning regime of food processing facilities.
"It is easy for foreign matter such as plastics, hair, steel shavings and allergens like peanuts to get left behind on equipment such as conveyor belts, as they are used for more than one product line," he said.
Therefore, an advanced cleaning process involving a deep cleanse, sanitation and visual inspection is an essential routine between product line changes. Again, documentation of this process is crucial.
He said the CPA left little room for error and would ensure that world class food safety standards are maintained.
Ongoing and consistent documentation of processes is essential to ensure due diligence.