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.


For more information please contact:
Janice Giddy / Clarice Oelofse
Entecom Head Office
Port Elizabeth
(041) 3661970 /80

 November 03, 2016
Comments (1)
Food Safety
Janice Giddy

How To Claim For Grants

BY Clarice Oelofse

Claiming for SETA grants can be a nightmare if not done properly. Below are a few tips to bear in mind when submitting a claim.

Companies only receive points in this Skills Development Section if they are in compliance with:

  • the Skills Development Act and the Skills Development Levies Act and are registered with the applicable SETA
  • have developed and submitted a Workplace Skills Plan, which is to be approved by the applicable SETA
  • have implemented programmes targeted at developing priority skills for black employed learners

Which documentation is needed to claim?

  1. Accredited training:
  • Documentation substantiating the course and explain the course contents
  • Proof of payment of a course indicating the individuals that attended the training.
  • Interviews will be performed by your verification agency to confirm your claim
  • Proper proof of registration of your skills programme
  • Proof of registration of your SDF
  • Proof of salaries or invoices.
  • Certified Copies of ID’s of individuals
  1. Uncertified or Internal Training

Properly completed registers that displays the following information:

  • Training Subject
  • Date
  • Time spent on training on that day
  • Name of Trainers
  • Name of Trainees
  • Hourly/daily rate of trainers and trainees / learners
  • Signature of trainers and trainees, which will confirm training received
  • Race and genders of trainees
  • Proof of purchases for books, stationary, accommodation paid, venue hire, and all related expenses.

For your claim on any training you have to submit proof of registration with SETA, proof of WSP Plan & Report as well as the latest EMP 201.


Sources used:

  • www.ifundi.co.za
  • Margaret Smith Consulting ODETD Practitioner
  • www.dti.gov.za
 July 21, 2016
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Clarice Oelofse

Importance of Food hygiene and Food Safety

BY Christine Rammutla

Consumers of the 21st century have become more demanding in regard to healthy and safe food putting pressure on food producing and handling companies. Proper hygiene is very important when it comes to food preparation. Without washing hands and kitchen tools, diseases may easily spread. In some places in South Africa, this crucial matter is not always known and is unfortunately taken lightly.

Since cross-contamination is a major cause of food poisoning and can transfer bacteria from one food item to other foods, it is crucial to be aware of how it spreads so you will know how to prevent it.Good food hygiene is therefore essential for a food producers to make and sell food that is safe to eat. The first step is for the management and staff to have knowledge and understand of what food hygiene and food safety is.

The food chain starts from farm to folk/plate. Through the chain, it is imperative to make sure that food produced is not contaminated with any potential harmful bacteria, chemicals and toxins from production, transportation, preparation and consumption. All food handlers along the production chain, from producer to consumer, must observe safe food handling practices. With that said, it is important for food handlers in the food industry to receive food safety and food hygiene awareness training throughout the value chain. For the staff to implement procedures and systems such as GMP and HACCP, they need training as this will reduce or prevent food borne illness related deaths.

Whichever type of system is in place within a business, the most important aspect of its success is that the team involved are sufficiently trained and competent to implement and maintain it; and that management are fully equipped to monitor effectively and consistently. By ensuring food handlers are trained from the first level in a reputable food safety qualification, this helps businesses meet their legal obligation to ensure staff are trained to a level commensurate with their job roles. Other benefits of practicing proper food hygiene would include to reduce the risk of food poisoning among their customers and protect the business's reputation.

This article was written by Christine Rammutla, Entecom Limpopo franchisee.
Entecom Limpopo contact details: 082 849 3502. 
Various food safety training courses (accredited skills programmes & customised workshops) offered in Limpopo area: Areas include Polokwane, Phalaborwa, Letaba, Tzaneen, Musina, Bela-Bela & Lephalale & Thabazimbi. Email christine@entecom.co.za for more details.

 June 22, 2016
Comments (1)
Food Safety
Christine Rammutla

Food Safety Culture - What Does It Mean?

BY Gerda Britz

I recently noted on a well-known company that specialises in Food Safety auditing that they added a Food Safety Culture clause in their audits. I thought that to be very interesting. As many of us experienced working in this industry, food safety often only becomes important when an audit is due or when a client comes and visits the factory. It is this kind of culture in the food industry that leads to serious incidents like we again saw very recently with a mouse making its appearance in a pie.

So what does food Safety culture mean? Let’s break it up. Food Safety which means food that is safe to consume, that will not cause any harm. And culture – the way we do things. The culture of a company defines what is right and what is wrong, acceptable and unacceptable, meaningful and meaningless.

What type of cultures do we experience? There are basic two types of cultures, role based and task based cultures. In role based cultures authority, power and resources are driven by title and individual personality. This may lead to a workforce that is largely disengaged from their work. Employees with little or no discretion in making decisions or input to the decision making process have not motivation to engage when problems arise. They have no ownership in the task performed, they are told how to do it, when to do it and what to do.

Task based cultures are more inclusive on the other hand. This type of culture focuses on problem solving and skills/talent development. A team based approach is used and respect is earned based on professionalism and expertise. Power evolves from the accomplishments of the group rather than the individuals within the group.

By its nature, culture resists change. There is not aspect in a company that is more difficult to change than the culture of the company. A company that wants to embark on this journey to change its culture needs to know that they embark on a journey; it is not something that will happen overnight. A journey that will require time, perseverance and commitment.

The first step to change is for senior management to realise that they will likely not face a more difficult challenge in the professional careers. The members of the executive team must be completely committed to the change; they must be willing to walk the talk. The next step will be to assess where we are now and where do we want to go? Complacency is widely acknowledged as the enemy of change. A sense of urgency needs to be created without also creating panic or anxiety. Often the focus of such change is production while other departments get left behind. It is important to remember this is a company culture change, and all departments needs to be involved and committed to this change. Expect failure, but more importantly learn from it and adapt. Create wins and celebrate them.

When setting out on this journey to culture change it is important to set clear specific details on where you want to go and celebrate small victories, daily.

References –
Creating a Culture of Food Safety By Geoff Schaadt, M.Sc., M.B.A. Food Safety Magazine June/July 2013.
Enhancing food safety culture to reduce rates of foodborne illness -Douglas A. Powella, Casey J. Jacoba, Benjamin J. Chapmanb, a Department of Diagnostic Medicine/Pathobiology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA b Department of 4-H Youth Development and Family and Consumer Sciences, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7606, Raleigh, NC 27695-7606, USA Received 2 August 2010, Revised 29 November 2010, Accepted 7 December 2010, Available online 24 December 2010
Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System By Frank Yiannas

 June 14, 2016
Comments (0)
Food Safety
Gerda Britz

Revelations of a food safety auditor

BY Rolf Uys

15 Years ago I landed a job as a food safety auditor with an international auditing body. Last year I decided to hang up my boots to pursue other avenues in food safety. During this time, I had seen well over 1500 food factories. I learnt a great deal about food safety, about best practices and about dealing with people. But I also saw the dirty food safety underbelly of the industry. I am now in a position to reflect back on this career and reveal the actual things I have seen over the years. The idea is not to name and shame. Where and at which factory the issues were noted, will remain unsaid. More important is to reflect “why” these things are happening and to highlight lessons that could be learnt. My top 10 worst findings seen (inside production areas) in South African Food Factories are:

1.Faeces behind an electrical panel
2.Urination inside food factories
3.Drugs (dagga, tik and hypodermic needles) stashed behind structures and equipment
4.Fly maggots, mould and fermentation in product zones
5.Insect infestation in flour silos and flour trucks
6.Live rats/mice in production areas, dead rats in equipment. Rodent droppings on raw materials.
7.Non-conforming product that had failed micro counts, gets sold at the back door for a discount.
8.Cockroach infestation. Cockroaches crawling over food handling equipment.
9.Operator picking up product that had fell on the floor and re-placing it on the line again.
10.Bypassing critical control points (metal detectors, sieves, pasteurizers) to increase production.

There are off course many more to add to the list and it is mostly centered around deep cleaning of equipment and discipline of personnel. It should also be pointed out that these were not first time audits of small little backyard operations. Most were large, well known food manufacturers, with numerous food safety certificates. Unfortunately, if one knows where to look, the food industry is not a very hygienic place. To add more perspective, I have also included a list of the items that food factories failed on most:

1.Live birds inside food facilities
2.Actual foreign object contamination of products noted (for example strings, conveyors, rubber, metal-to- metal contact etc.)
3.Toxic rodent bait used irresponsibly inside food handling areas
4.HACCP plan not followed. What the HACCP plan states and what actually happens, does not correspond
5.Insects in product zones
6.Colour code violations. The cleaning utensil or allergen
colour coding system not being followed
7.Raw materials, work- in-progress, rework or waste being mislabelled or not labelled at all.
8.Falsifying of records
9.Cleaning program not effective
10.Internal audit/ self-inspection program not effective

The question arises how these blatant hygiene violations occur and how food manufacturers are getting away with it?

The why it occurs can be explained by poor training, poor supervision and poor leadership. Shop floor workers rarely get adequate training. An hour food safety induction training once a year simply won’t cut it. Frequently, the issues occur because they simply are not noticed. Food safety often is not properly checked nor followed up at supervisor level. For example cleaning will take place and the supervisor will check very superficially, if at all. In many instances, it is the senior managers that lack proper food safety training and tend to underestimate food safety risks. Too many food Industry senior managers are in the mode of ”doing the right thing” rather than “doing it right”. Food safety should not be seen simply as something that’s the right thing to do. It is a core part of managing a business the right way.

Besides the food safety training of managers there is also a lack of proper leadership in the food industry. Very little managers I have encountered over the years, have the correct skill set to communicate and motivate people. Basics such as job descriptions and performance evaluations for all are simply not in place. As a result, personnel know very little about the business, the role they play and are subsequently not motivated at all.

Then there is the question of how food manufacturers are getting away with it. Well, very few food manufacturers are actually aware that these food safety violations are happening under their noses. They are living in denial. Government health inspectors are supposed to be the first line of defence but are unfortunately not skilled enough to find these issues. Internal inspectors know the process better but still tends to miss the issues because of inexperience and under-training. That leaves it up to external auditors. Their competency is normally better but more often than not it is also not adequate. The fact that there are more and more audit standards and customer requirements makes matters worse. Checklists are becoming longer and auditors are not finding the time to getting their hands dirty inside the factory and finding the real issues. Instead, auditors are sitting in offices and checking paperwork against checklists. It is also no secret that there is the big clean-up before the audit and audit conditions are not consistent with real everyday conditions.
This all leads to a false sense of security. The assumption is made that if there is a food safety certificate on the wall, there will not be issues such as urine, insect infestation or foreign material contamination in the factory.

During my career I have also seen some very good food safety systems. So, to end of on a positive note, let’s look at the top 10 lessons that I have learnt during my career from these good factories. Lessons that food safety personnel, management and fellow auditors can use:

1.Do not live in denial. Do not assume there the factory is free from really bad hygiene issues.
2.Implement a thorough internal inspection program. It must include disassembling equipment and forensically chasing down the pests, dirt poor discipline and foreign materials.
3.Senior management should be actively involved in food safety. This starts with incorporating food safety into the company goals.
4.Senior managers must have a visual presence in food safety. Daily housekeeping walk troughs are a must.
5.Never assume that everybody understands their job and their food safety role. This needs to be actively managed.
6.Motivate personnel. Every day at each opportunity
7.Don’t assign food safety to one person. This should be done by an experienced multi-disciplinary team.
8.Do not have a false sense of security over certification or customer audits. This is only a snap shot.
9.Communicate food safety to all levels
10.Don’t window dress. Every day is audit day

Rolf Uys holds a MSc. in Food Science and currently owns the Western Cape and Tshwane franchises for Entecom, a food safety training and consulting company. His mission is to ignite a passion for food safety. Rolf can be contacted at rolf@entecom.co.za


This article first was published in the May issue of FST (South African Food Science and Technology) magazine. For more information please visit www.safst.co.za or email Tricia editorfst@gmail.com.

 May 10, 2016
Comments (1)
Food Safety
Rolf Uys

Food Safety on transporting foods by road

BY Merle Litshie

Transportation plays a very important and critical role in ensuring food produced safely reaches its destination without any food safety hazards introduced while in transit. Food can easily be at risk of biological, chemical, physical and allergenic contamination during transportation. Once food is processed and rendered safe for human consumption then storage and transportation should not change the Food Safety status of the food. Factors that affect food during transportation are the following:

• Improper truck used to transport food
• Lack of pre loading inspections (truck and goods)
• Lack of temperature monitoring devices or faulty temperature monitoring devices
• Lack of proper stacking (inadequate segregation)
• No food safety training for driver and assistant on food safety (including hand washing and personnel hygiene)
• Improper training of employees on mixed loads (segregation)
• Inadequate preventive maintenance of vehicles (roof leaks, gaps on doors etc.)


To ensure foods maintain foods in a food safe conditions there are simple steps to ensure goods arrive at the required destination at their best quality and food safety status. Loaders, drivers and their assistants should be:

• Trained on Food Safety (including personnel hygiene, hand washing and allergens)
• Trained on temperature monitoring via gauges as well as reporting any malfunctions
• Trained on importance of food security (using seals and locks). They must also adhere to all protocols of stopping to offload then sealing the truck.
• Trained on how to protect temperature sensitive as well as special segregated product after each offloading stop to ensure food is still safe.
Once all the training is completed then monitoring of these activities must be conducted and non conformances recorded with corrective actions. The food safety team must ensure:
• Wash certificates are produced as proof of sanitary conditions of the truck
• all gauges are inspected and calibrated as per specified time interval with the supplier (refrigeration units can support growth of microorganisms if they are not working properly)
• Vehicle inspections are conducted per delivery
• Where necessary eg. Tankers are fumigated regularly with food grade fumigants or steamed to get rid of microorganisms
• Use the R. 364 as a guideline for Food Safety implementation

 February 29, 2016
Comments (1)
Food Safety
Merle Litshie


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