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Food Safety HACCP & EU

Food Safety HACCP & EU

What is HACCP?

Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) is a system meant to ensure that food products are not a risk to human health. It is a tool to assess hazards and establish control systems that focuses on prevention.

Interestingly NASA developed and used the approach for production of safe foods for manned space flights.

Procedures based on HACCP principles are mandatory for most business operators placing food or feed on the EU market. Since 1998 it has been a legal requirement for all food businesses in Ireland to have a food safety management system based on the principles of HACCP.

Importance of Food Safety HACCP training in the workplace

EU Legislation Covering Food Hygiene

EU food law places full responsibility for safe food on the food business operators. In accordance with EU law all food businesses are, therefore, obliged to implement own-check systems. This own-check system must build on the principles of HACCP.

The specific pieces of legislation which cover this are Regulation (EC) 852/2004 and Regulation (EC) 853/2004.

The following principles are covered under these hygiene rules:

 

 

Who must be trained in HACCP?

 

Food handlers must be supervised, and also instructed and/or trained in food hygiene based on the level of activity they are involved in.

 

If you are responsible for your business’s HACCP system then you must undertake adequate training in the application of HACCP principles.

 

You can learn how to develop and implement an effective food safety system, incorporating Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) via online learning giving certification which is recognised nationally by employers and environmental health officers.

 

To effectively safeguard your business today, talk to Cormac or Shane on 01 278 1938. 

Food Labelling in Ireland

Food labelling contains information provided by food businesses about their products . It covers all food that is sold to the consumer directly as well as food sold to cafés, restaurants and other catering establishments.

If you are a food provider it is vital that you are up to date with labelling regulations. Currently in Ireland more and more food is bought pre-packaged from shops and supermarkets so accurate and useful labelling on food products is now more essential then ever. Food labels have two purposes: to meet legal obligations by providing information such as the name of food, ingredients, use-by dates and storage conditions, and nutritional information on calorie content and key components such as sugar, fat and protein.

Ireland’s food labelling laws arise almost exclusively from our EU membership. The rules are complex, but based entirely on the principle that consumers have the right to know.

Why is food labelling important?

Use by and best before by dates

Guidance so consumers are informed on the safety of the food. For example the ‘Use by date’ and the ‘best before date’. Perishable foods, judged from a microbiological point of view (such as cooked meat products, prepared foods and salads), display a ‘use by’ date on the package and should not be eaten after this date, as this could present a health risk. In addition, many foods display a ‘best before’ date, which gives an indication of the “minimum durability”, or the period during which the food retains its specific properties when properly stored.

Storage and preparation

Certain products require this information for the consumer. Storage instructions are required on certain food products in combination with the expiry date to ensure proper handling by consumers. Food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella and Listeria can grow to levels that may cause illness if food is not stored correctly. These instructions may also indicate how to store the food once the package is opened (e.g., ‘Refrigerate after opening’).

Source – eufic

Allergy warnings

Checkout out our blog on Food Allergens and Your Food Business and Do you know what “The Big 8” food allergies are? where we discuss what the big 8 are and also the 14 allergens that must be declared under Irish legislation.

Do you work with Food? Our Management of Food Allergens course is a an excellent addition to either Food Safety HACCP Level 1 or 2.

Other Mandatory Information

(a) The energy value  and
(b) The amounts of fat, saturates, carbohydrate, sugars, protein and salt

The content of the mandatory nutrition declaration may be supplemented with an indication of the amounts of one or more of the following:

(a) Monounsaturates
(b) Polyunsaturates
(c) Polyols
(d) Starch
(e) Fibre
(f) Any of the vitamins or minerals listed in point 1 of Part A of Annex XIII to FIC, and present in significant amounts as defined in point 2 of Part A of Annex XIII to FI. Source – FSAI

 

If you have any furhter questions or are interested in learning more about food safety, please contact us on+353 1 693 1421 and we will be happy to help you!

Food Allergens and Your Food Business

Food Allergens When Eating out

Eating out is now a large part of life that many of us enjoy to do. Alot of people eat out every day for example:

From this sample list of occasions why people eat out, there needs to be a variety of food outlets to accommodate this. There are many kinds of food outlets from five star restaurants to hot dog stands and everything in between including sandwich bars, work canteens, fast food restaurants, functional catering, market stalls, supermarket deli counters, catering in institutions like hospitals and catering by childminders and child care organisations.

Allergies on the rise in Ireland

Hypersensitivity to food is on the rise. It’s now estimated that approximately 5pc of Irish children and 3pc of adults suffer from a food allergy. Twenty years ago, just 1pc of the population was affected. The level of severe reactions, requiring a trip to A&E, has also escalated.

“Rates of anaphylaxis attendance to hospital have also gone up – they have trebled in the last 20 years,” reveals Professor Jonathan Hourihane, professor of paediatrics in UCC and principal investigator in the UCC’s Infant Research Centre. “Death due to food allergy hasn’t increased, because it’s always rare, but food allergies are definitely more common these days.”

Source Indepentent.ie 

Cater to a variety of needs

People have a variety of food preferences and tastes that many of these outlets cater too. However you will miss out on a wide selection of people and sales if you don’t cater to people with food allergens.

As business we know that is costs less to keep a customer than it is to acquire a new one. If people come to your food business with family or friends they will have no reason to come back if you don’t cater to their needs.

 

How to cater for Food Allergens?

How does your restaurant handle food allergens? What can you do for customers with food sensitivities? Are you prepared to deal with different situations?

Know your food allergens

If you run a food business it’s vital to know what ingredients cause these allergic relations. We have written a blog on this, Do you know what “The Big 8” food allergies are? These eight allergens account for about 90% of allergic reactions, however by law in Ireland there are 14 allergens that must be declared, the other 6 allergens are listed in the blog linked above.

Educate yourself and your staff

Educate yourself and your staff about cross contamination. Education is the first tool of defence against preventing accidental contamination. We have many courses that will cover all the essentials and more;

 

Look After your Construction Workers Health and Time

Do you have workers or are a worker yourself exposed to Chemicals, Silica Dust or Asbestos? It is the responsibility of the employer to make sure workers are protected and are informed of the best practices on how to work safely in a safe environment.

How to educate your employees

Doing a course is the easiest and most practical way to make sure your employees are educated. However taking a course can be expensive and time consuming for both the employer managing it and the employees taking the courses.

That is why many construction companies around Ireland have opted for Online Safety Training as a solution. Online training is a cost effective alternative to traditional class based learning. Courses can be taken with in a few hours of study time with 24/7 accessibility which your employees will prefer.

Below we have listed the most common health risks for workers in construction.

Construction Workers Health

Silica Dust

What is Silica Dust and route of exposer?

Crystalline silica is a basic component of soil, sand, granite, and many other minerals. Quartz is the most common form of crystalline silica. Cristobalite and tridymite are two other forms of crystalline silica. All three forms may become respirable size particles when workers chip, cut, drill, or grind objects that contain crystalline silica. Inhalation is the primary route which can penetrate deep into the lung

Legislation

The respirable fraction of the dust is invisibly fine and the OELV for Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) is 0.1mg/m3 averaged over 8 hours, as set down in the HSA Chemical Agents Code of Practice under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Chemical Agents) Regulations 2001. A risk assessment under these regulations is required where exposures to RCS can occur. The Safety, Health And Welfare At Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 S.I. No. 36 of 2016 contains a Prohibition on silica – Regulation 128 “An employer shall ensure that no sand or other substance containing free silica is introduced as an abrasive into any blasting apparatus. Source – HSA

Health effects

Did you know that Silica Dust has been classified as a human lung carcinogen? Additionally, breathing Silica Dust can cause silicosis, which in severe cases can be disabling, or even fatal. When Silica Dust is inhaled, it enters the lungs and causes the formation of scar tissue, thus reducing the lungs’ ability to take in oxygen which causes many issues including silicosis. Since silicosis affects lung function, it makes one more susceptible to lung infections like tuberculosis.

See Course overview here – Silica Dust Awareness 

Asbestos

What is Asbestos and route of exposer?

Asbestos a mineral that exists naturally in a fibrous form, what makes it so dangerous is that it is resistant to heat, water, chemicals and electricity. There are many products that have asbestos in them including; fireproof coatings, concrete and cement, bricks, pipes, gaskets, insulation, drywall, flooring, roofing, joint compound, paints and sealants. Asbestos also exists in electrical appliances, plastics, rubber, mattresses, flowerpots, lawn furniture, hats and gloves. Working with asbestos products puts your health at risk.

Legislation

The Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (Exposure to Asbestos) Regulations, 2006 (S.I. No. 386 of 2006) , aim to protect the health and safety of all employees who may be exposed to dust from asbestos containing materials, during the course of their work activities. The regulations apply to all work activities and workplaces where there is a risk of people inhaling asbestos dust. Source – HSA

Health effects

Asbestos is a Category 1 carcinogen and all six types can cause cancer. Blue and brown asbestos are known to be more dangerous than white asbestos. There is no cure for asbestos-related disease. Following exposure to asbestos, a person may develop one of the following three fatal diseases: Asbestosis: fibres penetrating deep into the lung causing scarring of the tissue. Asbestos-related lung cancer and Mesothelioma, a cancer of the cells that make up the lining around the outside of the lungs.

See Course overview here – Asbestos Awareness 

Chemical safety in Construction

What is Chemical Safety in Construction and route of exposer?

Chemical safety is an important consideration on construction sites. There are also many hazards that may not be obvious, but they can still present a health hazard if they aren’t handled properly. Some of the most common chemicals that workers are exposed to include: Zinc, Cadmium, Beryllium and Mercury. There is a wide range of expose including, contact with the skin, inhalation and ingestion and injection.

Legislation

Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005. The Code of Practice contains the following elements: – Schedule 1 to this Code of Practice stipulates the OELVs, which are currently legally binding under the Chemical Agent Regulations. – Schedule 2 to this Code of Practice provides a list of substances which are under review by the Health and Safety Authority. – Schedule 3 contains a Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) Number index of all substances included in the Code of Practice.  Source – HSA

Health effects

As there are a vast amount of different types of chemicals used and each have their own health effects it’s not possible to list them however what we can say is that exposure, especially prolonged exposure is very dangerous to your health. Some chemicals may also have physical chemical hazards, e.g. flammable, explosive or have additional hazards if they are mixed or stored with incompatible chemicals. Chemicals can also have an adverse effect on the environment if they are used, stored or disposed of incorrectly.

See Course overview here – Chemical Safety