Following the end of its annual three-day conference, HACCP recognised the best in food safety at its 2014 awards ceremony held in Sydney last night.
Presented by SAI Global, food safety experts were awarded across five major categories with the winners chosen by a panel of Australia’s top industry-recognised food experts.
“These awards recognise the individuals and businesses that work tirelessly to ensure the safety of Australia’s food supply. We drive professionals to raise the bar and set a higher industry standard and this year’s winners have done exactly that,” said Tim Jacob at, SAI Global.
The award for Outstanding Individual Nominated by an Agri-Food Industry Company was taken out by Damien Alexander, national food safety manager, Woolworths Limited.
Alexander is responsible for the safe delivery of food sold to 21 million customers a week and has trained over 7000 individuals across Australia and New Zealand in food safety and audited over 1000 businesses globally.
“I’ve always had a passion to up-skill and drive excellence in food safety. The key is to reduce risk and promote a better food safety culture, something that we’ve achieved as a team. The recognition of this award only drives this passion further,” said Alexander.
Outstanding Individual Working as a Registered Food Safety Auditor was awarded to Lisa Tomassen, food safety auditor at SGS Australia.
In her role, Tomassen audits some of SGS Australia’s biggest clients and was recognised for her precision in regards to the auditing process, and the level of respect that she has gained among her client base.
“I deliver audit results to clients in an understandable format, building relationships and a thorough understanding of their objectives. I believe this is where the mutual respect comes from. The best part of this role is when a client shares a passion for getting their audit over the line,” said Tomassen.
Outstanding Single-Site Company was awarded to Tasmanian Dairy Products which was commended for its dedication to achieving A Grade BRC and HACCP certification in less than 12 months.
“We worked hard to achieve such an impressive grade for a first-time audit. We intend to maintain and, where required, progress to ensure standards remain high. As a relatively new player in the milk export industry, we’re proud to receive such a recognisable award,” said Sheridan Budsworth, Tasmanian Dairy Products.
Outstanding multi-site company went to Golden State Foods Australasia (GSF) which was recognised for its superior level of food safety standards over the past 12 months where the organisation decreased its product concerns by 20 per cent.
“In the past year we’ve had no critical or major findings identified in customer audits and have had zero product recalls. This award signifies the moves we’re making to become a safer organisation. In July we employed the very latest processing equipment to our Sydney site – another reason why our facilities are at the forefront of technological advancement for this industry,” said GSF QA manager, David Bradfield.
And lastly, the Ross Peters Memorial Award for Excellence in Food Safety award was taken out by Richard Bennett from the Produce Marketing Association Australia-New Zealand.
Bennett was recognised for being a driving force for the improved understanding and adoption of food safety and quality management in the fresh produce sector for two decades. He is commended for his guidance, research management, resource design, and communication.
“It’s a tremendous honour to be recognised by my peers in such a significant award category. The fresh produce industry’s safety journey has been a long one with many difficult challenges along the way. At each stage I did all I could to lead, facilitate and inspire those I worked with. In turn, their work inspired me,” said Bennett.