HACCP Australia’s team of food science experts, with years of experience in the industry, continue to help the food industry create better methodologies around process and product. Adam McCleery writes.
Food safety has always been one of the most, if not the most, important factors in food manufacturing and as technology advances, so do the capabilities of expert food scientists.
HACCP Australia, a leading food science organisation specialising in the HACCP Food Safety Methodology, is one organisation with a strong and storied history in the sector.
Since 1998 HACCP Australia has helped the Australian food manufacturing industry improve its processes, and by extension, its output and overheads, through the use of its team of high-ranking food executives and experts.
Martin Stone, executive director at HACCP Australia, said the decades of experience in the organisation, backed with industry leaders and food science experts, made HACCP Australia a great resource for the food manufacturing industry.
“We built the company in 1998 and we are an organisation of food scientists with a great deal of experience in the food industry.
“We help people develop, implement and certify, Food Safety Management Programs, typically using the HACCP methodology,” he said.
Food safety, is the area of main concern for Stone and the HACCP team, who are constantly working to incorporate the best training and consultancy from emerging, and existing, techniques and methodologies.
Mr Stone also has concerns about high levels of food waste in processing and the community. “There’s an awful amount of food waste and it’s something we would like to reduce, but there is balancing act between food safety and food waste, in some ways,” said Stone.
“We have a great many years of expertise within this organisation and one key thing about us is all our employees have been working in the industry for many years in managerial and operation roles.
“Decades of experience with each person translates to effective results in terms of training, process improvement and general consulting to the food and related industries.”
When it comes to the HACCP Australia approach to training, the organisation puts and emphasis on face- to-face training and consultation, but also offers a suite of online training.
“We take a very practical approach to our training,” said Stone.
“For example, when we deliver a training program, we don’t just do off the shelf training packages. Typically, we would consult with the business first to find out exactly what they do and what the needs are. Then we would customise a training package to precisely meet their needs, and that makes it highly relevant.
“For example, if you’re a fruit and vegetable distributor you don’t want to learn about canning fish, or how to treat mincemeat. We keep our training programs highly relevant and practical.”
Stone said HACCP was actively looking to improve its online training portal after recognising how beneficial it is to certain segments of the industry.
“With some of the requirements put onto the agricultural sector in terms of training and farmers and growers are widely dispersed so we feel those organisations will benefit from that online training,” said Stone.
Stone said the HACCP team’s years of expertise and experience in the food industry were always informing the organisation’s approach to training and consultancy.
“It is a key differentiation of our organisation, the depth of our experience across the industry,” he added.
“We work with clients as diverse has hospitals, breweries, people that manufacture pickles, coffee roasters, in fact, you name it and we have had involvement with those sectors.”
Stone said the HACCP Australia offering was particularly advantageous for SME’s, although the organisation works with many larger companies too.
“We are an important resource for organisations like that and a large proportion of our customer base is that SME style of business,” he said.
“We take a consultative approach and translate our years of experience into practical benefits for the client. We take a valuable coaching role with the organisations we work with.”
The HACCP team spends time, and expertise, studying and learning everything they can about what is ready to emerge in the marketplace and manufacturing to ensure they are keeping ahead of the curve.
“We look at what’s going on and emerging in the food industry and try to adapt that into a practical and user- friendly format for what we deliver to our clients,” he said.
“Things that are interesting and emerging now includes electronic monitoring systems, the IoT technology, back to base monitoring.
“It’s all very interesting and we are working in those spheres now to incorporate these into our more traditional pencil and paper type monitoring processes.”
Also emerging and of interest include rapid and real time microbiological analysis, and, horizon scanning techniques for organisations who are impacted by things like microbiological and allergen contamination.
“Also, with the shrinking of the world, it is important to understand what’s going on in far as ingredients on an international scale,” said Stone. “A lot of Australian manufacturers use ingredients that come from overseas and in the wider scheme of things, what’s going on out there in terms of allergen contaminations or other threats to ingredients around the world, ultimately has an impact here in Australia.”
Information Technology has been having big impacts on food manufacturing since it first emerged, and as IT evolves rapidly, so too does its impact on the industry.
“There are certainly emerging technologies, like rapid testing for microbes, or ATP testing which can provide a real time evaluation of sanitation, and that gives us better information and faster assessments as to the status of a product or surface used in the food industry,” said Stone.
“If you layer on top of that the IT ability to take that information and analyse trends, then that allows you further reach to make decisions and be forward thinking in terms of reacting to a potential problem before it occurs.”
HACCP Australia’s certification division of auditors provide another branch of service to the industry.
“Our auditors will conduct audits on behalf of state governments, or we will conduct Codex HACCP certifications,” said Stone.
“Our aim is to assist the client achieve their certification objectives and make continual improvements to their product and process in terms of food safety and compliance.”
HACCP Australia’s mission “To be the leading provider of food safety technical services to the food and beverage industries supported by a brand synonymous with food safety” has become reality and they are looking forward to providing continued service to the food and related industries.