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are you ready for the aps inspections?

BY Dumisani Mnkandhla

WHAT IS APS?


The Agricultural Products Standards (APS) Act of 1990 requires inspections of products of agricultural origin so as to regulate their quality standards. According to section 2 (3) (a) of the Act, the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries has the authority to appoint assignee(s) who on behalf of the ministry may be designated to carry out inspections for the purposes of the application of the Act. Previously it was authorised inspectors of the Directorate Inspection Services of the Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) who were responsible for carrying out inspections. Due to personnel and other constraints at DAFF, there is currently inadequate enforcement, hence the need for assignees. Assignees may be any person, body, institution, association or board who are subject matter experts with respect to the product concerned.

 

WHO WILL PERFORM THESE INSPECTIONS ?


The current list of assignees is as follows:

  1. The Perishable Products Export Control Board (PPECB) – responsible for all fresh processed agricultural products destined for export.
  2. Product Control for Agriculture (PROKON) – responsible for local regulations for potatoes, fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. The South African Meat Industry Company (SAMIC) – responsible for local regulations for red meat.
  4. Agency for Food Safety – responsible for poultry meat and eggs
  5. Leaf Services – responsible for grains and grain products
  6. Nejahmogul Technologies and Agricultural Services – responsible for dairy, imitation dairy products and edible ices

WHICH TYPES OF FOOD WILL BE INSPECTED ?

 

The assignees are operational throughout all selling or inspection points such as ports of entry, silos, pack houses, milling factories, processing facilities, distribution centres, wholesalers, retail outlets, fresh produce markets, bakeries, just to mention a few. Inspections will cover a wide spectrum of agricultural products such as fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, poultry and meat to processed products such as fruit juices, canned pasta, jam, fat spreads etc.

 

WHO WILL PAY FOR THESE INSPECTIONS ?


All inspections by the assignees are done at the cost to the owners, however these costs are to be based on gazetted tariffs which are informed by an objective cost recovery model. In the meantime section 3 (1)(a) of the APS act allows an assignee to charge fees for services rendered albeit on a non-profit basis. There is ongoing consultation with stakeholders on an industry wide fixed fee structure for inspection fees and food producers are encouraged to take part. There have been questions around who exactly the “owner” of the product to be tested is. According to DAFF, the owner is the person/company that offer, advertise, keep, expose, transmit, convey, deliver or prepare the product for sale, or exchange or dispose of such product in any way for any consideration.

 

HOW WILL THE INSPECTIONS BE PERFORMED?


The inspection process involves sampling products using prescribed methods and samples are taken at the discretion of the assignee who is guided by regulations. Sampling will also be done per batch/consignment at frequencies which will be agreed upon with individual industries and is likely to depend on the risk profile of the particular product among other things. Fixed sample sizes are yet to be determined so as to achieve a balance between sufficient sampling confidence levels and collecting samples that won’t result in losses to the owners/sellers. Assignees have been instructed to prevent redundancy, that is inspections of the same product at different stages of the supply chain and the DAFF Director has assured that mechanisms to ensure this are in place. Assignees must have inspection models which shall be agreed with the industry concerned and once again this calls for stakeholder involvement to ensure that the final model which shall be gazetted is at the least representative of the desires of the majority. However it is recommended that inspections should be performed at source/place of production where it is least disruptive to the trade.

 

WHY ARE THESE INSPECTIONS NECESSARY?


The importance of implementing these regulations will result in the promotion of fair trade practices, consumer protection, reduction of food fraud and ensuring consistent quality products. Furthermore this will prevent poor quality products from being imported into South Africa as both locally produced; exported and imported products will be subjected to the same regulation. It is however, worth emphasizing that the inspections’ main focus is on product quality, with the food safety element mainly featuring in the exported products as these are subject to international market requirements. On the product quality front, one of the major targets of the act is to curb food fraud which comes in the form of misleading claims by manufacturers on their product packaging. It will be a requirement that an organization possess factual proof to substantiate claims that they have on their products. Currently the inspections focus on product grading, packing & marking, which is often the basis or at the least a major contributing factor in the pricing of products.


HOW CAN ENTECOM HELP YOU?


One of the main questions that food producers and manufacturers have asked is whether any due diligence that they are already undertaking, mainly in the form of food safety systems will go any way in meeting the requirements of the APS act. To this effect DAFF has moved in to clarify that enforcement of the food safety of foodstuffs is the mandate of the Department of Health in terms of the Foodstuffs, Cosmetics and Disinfectants Act of 1972. DAFF on the other hand is concerned with the quality or composition of foodstuffs. So strictly speaking all regulations published under the APS act must be adhered to regardless of certification to food safety systems by a manufacturer or processor. This does make a lot of sense since it is very possible to have food that is safe to consume but it is of poor standards or the seller has made false claims about its nutritional composition for instance.


It is however worth noting that there is an overlap in the requirements of the APS act and the requirements of food safety systems. This is particularly the case with the new version of FSSC 22000 certification which now has requirements to combat food fraud. Since this clause will ensure that manufacturers / processors will be required to make truthful and validated claims in their product specifications and labelling, this can be seen as killing two birds with one stone. In addition to this, there are other areas where food safety management systems (FSMS) can prepare an organization for APS inspections. FSMS requirements on supplier management, raw material specifications, incoming product testing, COAs and product specifications are all important in ensuring compliance to the APS Act. This would be instrumental in a case where a manufacturer is supplied with substandard or poor quality raw materials as it would help identify the quality shortcomings of raw materials. This in turn allows businesses to make informed decisions as to whether accept or reject raw materials. Furthermore FSMS require tests such as nutritional information to be based on scientific tests from accredited laboratories, a similar requirement from the APS Act.


Entecom is currently offering a bridging course to the latest FSSC 22000 requirements version which now includes food fraud. We have developed a new Food Fraud Workshop to ensure that food companies understand how to implement food faud prevention controls. Entecom also offers consulting to companies to prepare for the APS inspections. For companies that are exporting their products to international markets, the inspections also entail food safety testing since this is a requirement for exports. In such cases due diligence which comes with FSMS implementation comes into play and ensures that a business is ready not only for inspections but also to supply safe and quality products to the market.

 

For more detail regarding the APS inspections please visit this link

 

Contact Entecom Head Office for assistance at info@entecom.co.za

 

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 June 30, 2017
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Dumisani Mnkandhla

4 reasons why you should attend the entecom breakfast roadshow

BY Janice Giddy

Entecom will be introducing Tempo, a food safety and quality paperless software solution to the food industry in June and July through a series of roadshows which will be held in Port Elizabeth, KZN and Johannesburg. Here is why you should be there:

  1. You will be treated to a breakfast whilst you hear about Tempo and the solutions and benefits it offers your business.
  2. Stay for the day and learn about the changes to the FSSC 22000 scheme and what you need to start working on to be ready when these revisions will be auditable in January 2018.
  3. Receive an informative manual that will provide you with summary of all you need to know to start implementing the changes.
  4. Receive a 10% discount voucher to attend our new one day Food Fraud workshop which will ensure that you address the new requirement for Food Fraud mitigation with confidence

Would you like to register? Email clarice@entecom.co.za (PE) or mariska@entecom.co.za

(KZN or Gauteng)

Download the registration form here

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 June 05, 2017
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Food Safety
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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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
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 July 21, 2016
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General
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.

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 June 22, 2016
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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

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 June 14, 2016
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Food Safety
Gerda Britz

HQ - PORT ELIZABETH  

  (041) 366 1970 / 80
  086 232 7627
   084 596 3369
  info@entecom.co.za

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