Author: Criselda Nepomuceno

ICS has recently spent an extended period of time consulting in remote parts of PNG.  A country with a population of approximately 7.7 million, including the PNG mainland as well as its 600 islands. There are 800 known languages in PNG, some locals still living in traditional huts like the image above. What an interesting and challenging part of the world! 

The HACCP support involved a lot of travel by plane and bouncing in LandCruisers on boggy tracks in the highlands of PNG to visit a gold mine, kitchens in camps on offshore islands, warehouses, a coffee factory, kitchens in managed camps and a vegetable depot collecting product directly from (mostly female) growers.

The requirements of this work has made us reflect on the “first principles HACCP” and not just follow compliance checklists. Our learnings? Don’t assume anything, challenge perceptions, follow people around to see what they are really up to, check backs of utes for chemicals ask the cleaning staff what they know and see, look right up the back of shipping containers to see what is hiding there and listen to kitchen staff. Furthermore, check the books/databases for what the science tells you.

Join our ICS training courses to learn how you too can challenge your food safety plans and controls.

Is PNG dangerous?

Some people have questioned whether the country is safe to work in, especially as a female.  Our client provided excellent site and travel security, secure managed camp accommodation and direct charter flights.  We ensured we read and strictly follow the company rules. It was exhausting but very rewarding work that made us think laterally about practical solutions in tough work conditions. We would definitely visit again.

Non work highlights:

Visiting multiple local markets and staying in a 1930’s “Hill Station”- similar to what the British built in places like Darjeeling (India) but built by Australian gold miners, with stunning sprawling tropical gardens and amazing carvings – no doubt collected in the 1920’s from the Sepik region.  As it turned out, Clare’s father used to organise weekend “tours” to the same town in the 1960’s, to also buy vegetables i.e. fill a DC3 with fresh produce!  

Filed under: Latest News

The BRC Global Standard Food Safety Issue 8 was released in August 2018. All BRC audits are now certified against Issue 8, it is imperative you read this update and prepare for your next audit.

Issue 8 addresses a few major areas where the Standard needed to be revised to reflect the changing food safety landscape. For successful certification to Issue 8, sites must implement all of the changes.

What you need to know – Key Changes:

There are now 12 Fundamental clauses not 10, refer to pg.9

Issue 8 places a big emphasis on Food Safety Culture – clause 1.1.2 – site’s senior management shall define and maintain a clear plan for the development and continuing improvement of a food safety and quality culture (measurement of objectives) and clause 1.1.6 – confidential reporting system

Special attention is also drawn to clause 1.1.13 – no BRC logo on packaging or labels

HACCP/Food Safety Plan – HACCP risk assessment clause 2.7.1 – one new word that must be considered in the Hazard Analysis – ‘radiological hazards.’

Food Fraud Risk Assessment (VACCP) clauses – 2.7.1, and 5.4.2

Site Security – section 4.2 You must have a documented Threat Risk Assessment (TACCP) in addition to your control procedure.

Environmental Monitoring – section 4.11.8 – sites must develop rigorous monitoring techniques and programs within the factory, enabling them to identify potential product contamination risks (pathogens and spoilage organisms) and take timely corrective action before product contamination occurs.  

Product Labelling – section 5.2 and 6.2 – updated requirements relating to pack and label control. Change control at goods receipt, control of on-site printing, verification processes to control and monitor labelling. Lots of inspections, checks and records required. The auditor will also inspect the processes used by the site to establish label information.     

High-Risk, High-Care and Ambient High-Care Production Zones – section 8 – the requirements remain unchanged but have been relocated into a single, newly created section of the Standard.  

Additional Modules:

Traded Products – traded goods module for sites that store and sell food products that are not manufactured, processed or packed on site is now included in section 9 of the Standard.  

Changes to the audit protocol:  

There have been changes to the way in which the Standard is audited and certified, refer to pg.64.

BRC Issue 8 Certification Audit Findings:

From our recent BRC Issue 8 certification audits it would appear not many sites have carried out an effective internal audit against the new Standard consequently resulting in many non-conformities and poor audit outcomes! 

Hints for your upcoming BRC Issue 8 Audit:

1. Carry out an effective internal audit against the “system.” 
Do your company’ s procedures and records meet the current requirements of the BRC Standard?
If YES, are your company’s procedures being implemented on the “factory floor?”

2. Carry out the internal audit at least 3 months before your certification audit, so you actually have time to rectify the identified issues.

3. If you choose an external consultant, make sure you check their qualifications beforehand. Are they a registered BRC auditor or BRC Professional?  
If NOT, how do you expect they will know more than you?

4. It is a BRC requirement that you have a copy of qualifications for all internal auditors used onsite.

5. Read the new Standard and attend an official BRC Training Course for Site Conversion from issue 7 to 8. 

Filed under: BRC Training, Latest News