Implementing sustainable food safety practices: HASSP Certification by Java Foods in Zambia

Sally, the Quality and Food Safety Manager at Java Foods Limited in Zambia boasts a decade of experience in aiding food manufacturers with system development, implementation, and maintenance. Her expertise in food technology is instrumental in crafting food safety management systems to ensure the production of safe food products. With a background in food science and technology from the University of Zambia, Sally is also a certified food safety auditor for FSSC 22,000.

Sally has taken the lead in ensuring food safety transformation at Java Foods Ltd in Zambia and shares her experience with certification to a HASSP subsystem, which aligns with Codex guidelines. The company took two primary actions in the process: implementing preliminary steps and adhering to the seven principles of food safety.

To initiate the process, a multidisciplinary team was formed, comprising staff members from various departments such as production, warehouse, quality control, maintenance, and HR. This team played a pivotal role in the day-to-day administration of the system.

The initial steps involved describing the product – instant noodles in this case – noting down its chemical composition, physical attributes, acceptable biological characteristics, and relevant regulatory information. The identification of the intended consumers was extensively detailed.

Constructing a flow diagram was facilitated by the direct involvement of operators from the production line, ensuring a comprehensive overview of the production process from raw material reception to product dispatch. The team verified the accuracy of the flow diagram by physically inspecting each process step.

Subsequently, the hazard analysis phase began, wherein potential hazards across the 30 identified process steps were meticulously examined. These hazards ranged from chemical and physical to biological risks. Utilizing a risk assessment tool, critical points in the process were pinpointed where loss of control could jeopardize product safety.

Critical control points (CCPs) were established, such as cooking, with specific critical limits defined, monitored, and subject to corrective actions. Verification procedures were documented to ensure adherence to these critical points.

Sally emphasized the importance of tailoring control measures to the specific needs of each business. At Java Foods, quality control measures during raw material reception and supplier management activities were highlighted as effective methods to control contaminants.

The implementation of HASSP resulted in tangible benefits for Java Foods, including a reduction in non-conformances and customer complaints. Furthermore, the certification facilitated expanded access to regional markets, fostering growth opportunities for the company.

However, Sally acknowledged the associated costs of implementing food safety systems requirements, including recurring expenses for good manufacturing practices and capital expenditure. Nevertheless, she emphasized the importance of adherence to such standards in ensuring the availability of safe, high-quality food products in the market.

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