Long nights slaving over a hot… pile of paperwork. It’s a big job monitoring food safety records to make sure they’re complete, accurate and up-to-date. And more venues mean more work, extra travel time and greater potential for snafus.
But you know safety is priority number one. And that failing to keep customers safe in any of your outlets exposes them to the risks of illness, or worse – and the damage to your reputation and bottom line that goes along with it.
The Food Act requires that every commercial kitchen must keep a Food Control Plan (FCP) to demonstrate how they keep food safe for consumers. Which means keeping up-to-date records of relevant food safety tasks and measurements in each kitchen, to pinpoint risks and show how you’re managing them. It builds trust that your food is safe.
Setting (and keeping) the records straight
As a New Zealand food business, you’re obliged to document every food safety critical control point, and store those documents securely for future reference. These records show that necessary food safety procedures have been followed, and all reasonable steps taken to prevent illness or contamination. If you had to argue a food safety case in court, accurate records are vital to mitigate any case against your business.
How would your FCP stand up in court? A robust FCP is one that’s been set up and managed following these steps:
- Determine the best food safety system to suit the business, allocate responsibility and establish what will be covered.
- Identify current food-handling practices, as well as expected hazards, then develop apt methods to minimise risk.
- Establish procedures for implementing preventive action that align with industry guidelines, alongside monitoring requirements and corrective procedures for each food safety hazard.
- Document the FCP’s design, using process flows, data analysis, hazard tables, corrective actions and audit results.
- Determine document control procedures for storing, retrieving and reviewing records.
- Plan for regular audits to ensure it meets current compliance, and take action if audits conclude that requirements haven’t been met.
It’s important that all staff get why keeping shipshape food safety records matters. While keeping tip top food safety records is vital for commercial kitchens, consistent FCP management across various venues can be a real challenge for your staff if they’re getting buried in an unwieldy paper system. Inefficient processes, double handling, important details going MIA and no clear overview of what’s happening in each venue – these paper problems just cause you and your management added stress.
A digital FCP on the other hand, makes it easy to correctly record and safely store tasks, measurements and comments. It can show you how up-to-date your venues are all from one place, without having to physically be there. And if there are missed tasks or issues to deal with, it’ll let you know, long before the situation gets out of hand. So you have fewer fires to put out.