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News - Janice Giddy


ENTECOM Press Release

BY Janice Giddy

ENTECOM Press Release


For immediate release


ENTECOM enters into joint venture with TEMPO offering paperless Food Safety Management systems


Port Elizabeth, 2 November 2016


ENTECOM has been in operation for eleven years. During this time Entecom has assisted hundreds of companies pass their food safety certification audits and has trained thousands of employees in the food industry.


Entecom has franchises located across all main regions in South Africa and offers a comprehensive range of food safety training, consulting and auditing services. The company prides itself in being able to tailor services to fit all sizes of food businesses. Consultants speak multiple languages and become part of an invaluable support structure to the food business they consult to. ENTECOM Training programmes are extremely popular due to the fact that there is a clear pathway of skill progression where learners can accumulate credits, recognised by SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) as they master food safety requirements and improve their employability. Tempo, a software development and technical support company with offices in Durban and Cape Town, has been in operation since 2009. The Tempo software has an excellent track record and offers the perfect solution to companies in the food industry who need to manage multiple compliance requirements. Many companies have to comply with GlobalG.A.P., Organic, FSSC 22000 or BRC food safety standards, Occupational Health and Safety, Ethical standards such as SMETA as well as customer requirements and the list goes on and seems to get longer every year. Managing all of this information becomes a huge challenge and there is a now a growing need to integrate, simplify, streamline, automate and have the ability to constantly track performance.


Janice Giddy, Entecom managing director comments, “Our joint venture with Tempo now enables us to offer a paperless software support solution to all of our clients in the food industry. This has generated a lot of excitement from small to corporate size food businesses. We have an affordable model that can fit and work for food business in South Africa and the food industry is ready for it.”
With offices now situated across all regions in SA, Entecom has plans to expand into other African countries.


-ENDS-


For more information please contact:
Janice Giddy / Clarice Oelofse
Entecom Head Office
Port Elizabeth
(041) 3661970 /80
info@entecom.co.za

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 November 03, 2016
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Time to beef up your Raw Material Risk assessment

BY Janice Giddy

A number of food scandals over the years such as the Sudan 1 adulteration, melamine addition to high-protein feed and milk-based products to artificially inflate protein values in products that may have been diluted and now more recently the cumin adulteration with peanuts incident, have had huge ramifications in the food industry. The need to beef up the raw material risk assessment to include not only the identification of potential allergen contamination, foreign-body risks, microbiological contamination but also the need to include the risk of food adulteration or substitution as well has come under the spotlight. This means that the food safety team should research historical and developing threats to the supply chain and then conduct a vulnerability assessment on all food raw materials. Take a look at this link for more statistics on food fraud and categories of food affected here.


The GFSI (Global Food Safety Initiative) definition for Food Fraud is: “Food Fraud: A collective term encompassing the deliberate and intentional substitution, addition, tampering or misrepresentation of food, food ingredients or food packaging, labelling, product information or false or misleading statements made about a product for economic gain that could impact consumer health. (Reference: Spink, J. & Moyer, DC (2011) Journal of Food Science, 76(9), 157-163.)”


The BRC Global Standard for Food Safety vs 7,Clause 5.4.2 requires that a vulnerability assessment is carried out on all food raw materials and takes the following into account:
- Historical evidence of substitution or adulteration
- Economic factors which may make adulteration or substitution more attractive
- Ease of access to raw material throughout the supply chain
- Sophistication of routine testing to identify adulterants
- Nature of the raw material


Where a risk of adulteration or substitution has been identified, the particular raw material will need to be subjected to appropriate inspections or testing to ensure that the risk is reduced.
The GFSI Food Fraud Think Tank has introduced new assessment terminology which should be addressed within the umbrella of the Food Safety Management system. These new terms are TACCP (Threat/Food Defence) and VACCP (Vulnerability/Food Fraud). 


The GFSI Guidance Document vs 7 will be published in 2016 and will include the requirements for Food Fraud Prevention.


ENTECOM will be presenting a workshop to provide practical guidance as to implement the TACCP and VACCP requirements. For more information please contact info@entecom.co.za

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 July 09, 2015
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Habits of an effective food safety team

BY Janice Giddy

The late Dr. Stephen Covey left us with his legacy of inspirational books and seminars. In this article I would like to take his advice from his book “The 7 habits of highly effective individuals” and apply them to our ability to work as a food safety team. The ability to work as an effective team will be fundamentally important in achieving your Food Safety Objectives in 2015. Since your team will be comprised of different personalities across many disciplines, there is bound to be some conflict within your team. Establishing the right culture within your team will enable your team to work effectively. I have compiled a summary below of the first three habits below:


Habit 1: Be proactive
Stephen Covey was inspired by this paragraph he found in a college library: 

 

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness”. 

 

Covey says that we need to practise using our four unique human gifts:

1. Be self aware: Step back and try to observe the way you are feeling when in particular situation. Hit the pause button before you react in any given situation.
2. Conscience: Be conscience of your feelings, and listen to your inner voice. Evaluate what your inner voice is saying and try to understand what the basis is for this inner voice. Many of these feelings may be as a result of how you were raised or previous negative experiences that you may have had. These may result in you giving an impulsive negative response in a potentially conflict situation.
3. Imagination: Instead of allowing yourself to respond or speak impulsively, choose a better response, one in which you are in control of your emotion. Imagine a positive result, now direct your response towards achieving this positive outcome which is to honour your own values.
4. Independent will: Exercise your independent will to control your impulse to strike out or speak out and control your response by looking at the greater benefit of the team and not simply to satisfy your own ego. Ask the question “what does this situation require from me?” and not “what do I require from this situation?”
5. Focus your energies on your circle on influence. Take responsibility for the things that you can have control over. This focus will increase your circle of influence as a team in your organisation.

 

Create a culture of respect and kindness within the team.

 

Habit 2:Begin with the end in mind
Create a clear compelling vision of what you and your team are all about and what your purpose is, and what you are as a team are trying to achieve. Now list the principles by which you would like to operate as a team. You can do this by asking the following questions:

  1. What kind of team do you want to be?
  2. How do you want to treat each other?
  3. How do you wish to develop the talents of each team member?
  4. What example would you like to be to the others in the organisation?

Write down your mission statement and principles and display them in your meeting room. Use these to guide you and remind you as to your purpose.

 

Habit 3: Put first things first

(The following summary is taken from White Dove inspiration books http://www.whitedovebooks.co.uk/stephen-covey/)

Covey plots the urgency and importance of tasks on a 2 x 2 matrix to represent how you are spending your time. This representation shows four categories of demand which may be made on your time. Quadrant 1 consists of activities which are both urgent and important - in other words, things to which you absolutely must attend. Why must you do these things? Because they are important - meaning that they contribute to your mission; and they are urgent - meaning that they have some sort of deadline associated with them.


Choices about where to invest your time really are made in the other categories; and most people - driven by the concept of urgency - get drawn into Quadrant 3; doing things that consume their time but do not contribute to their goals. Highly Effective People understand that the high leverage activities are all Quadrant 2 - important but not urgent. Planning, preparation, prevention, relationship-building, reading, improving your professional knowledge are all examples of Quadrant 2 activity.


We all intuitively know that Quadrant 2 activities are the key to getting results; but each team member needs to have internalised the first two habits before you can benefit from the high leverage this habit brings. In other words, you first need to have developed the strength of character (proactivity) which allows you to be able to say no to demands on your time that fall into Quadrants 3 and 4; and you also need to have defined what importance means for you - otherwise the Quadrants do not exist.


Put habits 1,2 and 3 together and you have the ultimate success formula. Stated simply - get your team members’ minds right; they need to each define what is important; then organise the team to maximise your Quadrant 2 efforts. By spending appropriate time on Quadrant 2 activities, you will gain control. Quadrant 1 will actually get smaller because you will have anticipated and prepared for much Quadrant 1 activity. Concentrating on Quadrant 2 is absolutely fundamental to achieving success.

 

For more information on the 7 habits of highly effective individuals take a look at the following website http://www.whitedovebooks.co.uk/7-habits-of-highly-effective-people-2/

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 January 19, 2015
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Is Your FSMS System Smoking?

BY Janice Giddy

I like drawing the analogy between a car engine and a food safety management system. When I open up the bonnet of my car it is normally in the event of an emergency. I am embarrassed to say that I have been driving my car for many years and when the car did not want to start after visiting a client in a rural area, quite far from home the other day, I felt a wave of panic because I actually battled to open the bonnet. I fumbled and almost broke a fingernail but it just stayed clammed shut. It was almost as if the engine wanted to remain concealed from my fuzzy inferior mechanical scrutiny. I could almost hear the engine say “yeah right…” as the bonnet clammed tightly shut and I tried to lift it. It is such a revealing moment and very humbling, since I, the driver, normally in control of the car was now completely at a loss and was forced to actually look at the heart of the vehicle for the first time even though we had been together for  more than eight years. I can confirm that it’s a terrible feeling to peer helplessly at a car engine when you don’t have a clue what you are looking for.

  

Car engine can be seen as similar to a FSMS (Food Safety Management System). Whilst the main need for a good car engine would be to drive from A to Point B as quickly and as safely as possible, the main driving force of a Food Safety Management System is to ensure that food products meet customers’ food safety and quality requirements. The various engine components are all vital to the smooth running of the engine as each component has a unique role to play in the engine’s operation. Similarly each prerequisite programme or GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) within the FSMS contributes towards achieving the desired objective which is safe quality products which comply with customer and legal requirements. Each PRP depends on the other and is interconnected to provide an integrated network of preventive measures. The engine works efficiently because each individual component works efficiently.

 

With the analogy to the car engine, clearly I am not a car mechanic, and am therefore not qualified to fiddle with a car engine. Just lifting the bonnet and staring at the car engine gave me heart palpitations and was a far as I was qualified to go. However it became imperative to have the car serviced by a qualified vehicle mechanic who tested the engine and by process of elimination was able to identify and speedily correct the problem area whilst also checking for any new potential problem areas.

 

A trained mechanic knows what to look for and is in tune with the engine. Similarly a trained food safety team will also be able to identify and correct problem areas by systematic process of elimination and root cause analysis and to also identify any potential problem areas.

 

If you are the owner or manager of your food business it will be beneficial to your business to acknowledge the tremendous value of your food safety team. Recognize how vital each and every member is in ensuring that your Food Safety Management engine operates efficiently so that you can focus on driving the business, checking the readings on the dashboard, making informed timeous decisions and ensuring that you are achieving the main business objective, namely; meeting customers’ quality and food safety requirements whilst making a profit. Without this objective as your focus you will end up with a smoking car engine in the heart of the Karoo… and THAT, I do not wish upon any of our readers.

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 August 27, 2014
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Are you a HACCP Lone Ranger?

BY Janice Giddy

Are you a HACCP Lone Ranger?

 

As a Food Safety Team Leader you can sometimes feel alone in an organization, and that you are the only person in your organization that really cares about Food Safety. It can feel as if you are on a survival island, cut off from the rest of the organization. You can feel as if the world is on your shoulders and can this can leave you feeling pretty stressed and demotivated. Let’s look at some of the reasons why this happens and what you can do to get it right.

 

When you started compiling your system, did you do it as a team? According to Clause 5.5 of the ISO 22000 standard, top management should appoint a team leader who has the responsibility and authority to perform the following functions:

  1. Manage a food safety team and organize it’s work
  2. To ensure relevant training and education of the food safety team members
  3. To ensure that the food safety management system is established, implemented, maintained and updated
  4. To report to the organization’s top management on the effectiveness and suitability of the food safety management system

The Food Safety Team Leader is therefore required to have a huge amount of support from Top Management in order to achieve the objective of having an effective Food Safety Management System. The Food Safety Team Leader should therefore have an open communication channel to Top Management to regularly report on the progress of the FSMS. This communication should not wait until a Management Review Meeting, but should take place much more frequently so that Top Management has an accurate picture of how the company is performing pertaining to its food safety objectives. Rather than keeping all of the information to yourself, which will be the reason why you could start to feel isolated later on, make the information available for all of Top Management to access. Communication is key in a FSMS.

 

Here are number of suggestions as to how you can communicate on progress to Top Management:

 

1. Set up an intranet which Top Management can access to view the performance data when- ever they wish. Data may include the following graphs:

  • Procedures / work instructions compiled per department vs due date
  • Number of customer complaints per category per month
  • Number of corrective actions / non-conformances / audit findings and progress against due date for close-out
  • Training conducted vs training planned per department
  • Micro / analytical test results per batch

2. Have a monthly meeting with the Food safety Team where you discuss the implementation progress. Plan and schedule the meetings in advance and make use of an agenda to ensure that all important components are addressed. Keep it short and ensure that items are allocated to responsible persons with due dates per item. Minute the meeting and send the minutes to everyone including Top Management. Save the minutes on the intranet

 

3. The Team must also use this platform to communicate any potential changes which could have an impact on the FSMS, (see clause 5.6.2 of the ISO 22000 standard for a more detailed list of the changes that should be communicated), some of these will include; New products, raw materials, production systems equipment, new suppliers etc

 

4. Ensure that the team are trained on Food Safety as well as to how to conduct internal audits and involve the team in the auditing process

 

5. Schedule a bimonthly meeting with Top Management to discuss progress and to bring their attention to any important items.

Remember that as Food Safety Team Leader you will need to be able to develop the following abilities:

  1. Manage the Food Safety Team
  2. Project manage (system implementation)
  3. Compilation of documents and organization of information
  4. Communication at all levels in the organisation
  5. Sharing of the performance of the FSMS across all departments

 

If you stick to the above you should not end up in a situation where you feel isolated from the rest of the organization. Give it a try, you have nothing to lose. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

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 April 15, 2014
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Management Review

BY Janice Giddy

Management review time again

 

The end of the year is a great time to reflect on whether our company’s Quality and Food Safety objectives were achieved and whether our Food Safety and Quality Management system achieved the desired results. The review meeting should be a summary of the monthly performance meetings and should not be the only meeting we have with our team to discuss our performance. We need to reflect on what worked and what did not. It is also the ideal time to think about next year and how we can do things differently in order to achieve better results.

 

So what does one discuss at the Management Review?

The ISO 22000 and the BRC standards provide clear requirements for the topics that should be discussed during this meeting. Ensure that the Management Review inputs are listed on the agenda and all the requirements of the relevant food safety standard are addressed. Some suggestions for ensuring a greater attendance and more interest in the Management Review meeting are as follows:

 

  • Send out your agenda a month prior to your meeting to ensure that everyone attending has sufficient time to prepare
  • Assign a 10 minute slot to each of the managers to provide feedback on the performance of the key business processes in their departments. Each Manager can present their agenda item using PowerPoint displaying graphs / charts to depict the results of their analysis
  • Maintenance can provide feedback on how much down time there was per month, how many Job Cards pertaining to food safety / quality issues were raised, how many job cards have been closed out or overdue etc
  • Sales can present an analysis of customer complaints e.g. how many complaints as a result of physical hazards, microbiological hazards, quality or service issues were raised per month over the year
  • The buying department can present an analysis of the supplier performance using the results of supplier assessments
  • Warehouse can present the quantity of expired stock / damaged / “on hold” stock or an age analysis of stock on hand
  • HR can present training conducted vs training planned and recommendations for new training in 2014
  • Production can provide feedback on the operation of the CCPs and an analysis on process performance vs process specifications
  • The Food Safety Team leader will need to present an analysis internal / external audit findings, corrective actions and the remaining items on the agenda pertaining to the performance of the Food Safety and Quality Management System

 

There should be an opportunity for everyone to discuss the information presented in-between the presentations so that minutes of the meeting include the signed and printed presentations from each manager but also the actions that will be taken to address problem areas or to identify opportunities for improvement. If regular performance meetings are held then there should be no surprises, arguments or lengthy debates at this meeting.

 

New Food safety and quality objectives need to be set for 2014. This is also the ideal opportunity to present plans for changes to: products, suppliers, raw materials, equipment, specifications etc to ensure that the Food Safety Team leader is aware of the changes and that the impact of the changes on food safety and quality are assessed prior to their implementation. Remember to have the managers sign an attendance register. The attendance register authenticates the meeting and is a good indication of the degree of management commitment towards the Food Safety and Quality Management System.

 

As you wrap up the year and clean out your files for next year, keep in mind the following quotation by Joel Osteen “See, when you drive home today, you've got a big windshield on the front of your car. And you've got a little bitty rearview mirror. And the reason the windshield is so large and the rearview mirror is so small is because what's happened in your past is not near as important as what's in your future” - Joel Osteen.

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 December 11, 2013
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