Navigating the ‘minefield’ of food safety

Implementing HACCP principles can be a complex process, but it is essential for ensuring the health and safety of customers. By following these principles, golf clubs can reduce the risk of foodborne illness and provide a safe and enjoyable experience for their customers. In a GCMA Know How webinar, Ryan Bell - senior account manager at Obbi Golf - and health and safety expert Steuart Fotheringham, for a deep dive into the world of food safety. A regular consultant in the golf industry, Fotheringham described how food safety is often a "blindspot" for golf clubs, whilst Bell asked whether your club could be "100% confident of meeting [its] legal requirements?". In a detailed walkthrough of the HACCP - Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point - framework, Steuart pointed out a number of ways he has seen golf clubs fall below expected standards for food safety. HACCP is a food safety management system, which identifies and controls hazards that are significant for food safety from purchase to service. The law says that all food business operators must implement a food safety management system based on HACCP principles. In England and Wales this is commonly known as 'Safer food, better business', in Scotland as 'CookSafe', in Northern Ireland as 'Safe catering'. Highlighting a golf club he had recently visited whose HACCP documentation had been 'sitting on shelf gathering dust' since 2005, despite a recent update to the regulations in 2022, Steuart emphasises the importance of treating it as a live document: "Make sure that you are reviewing that document, that it is up to date, and that it is actually covering all the things that are happening within your club." HACCP is a system based on seven key principles. These are: Identify the hazards and control measures Identify the critical control points (CCPs) Establish critical limits Monitor (check) the control measures at each CCP Establish corrective actions that need to be taken if the critical limits are breached Establish procedures for verification/validation Establish documentation and records Identify the hazards and control measures The first step in implementing HACCP principles is to conduct a hazard analysis. This involves identifying potential hazards at each stage of the food production process, including the sourcing of ingredients, food preparation, and storage. Hazards that have the potential to cause harm to customers can include microbiological - bacteria, viruses, moulds and parasites, physical contaminants - glass, screws and hair, chemical - pesticides and cleaning materials, and allergenic - peanuts, milk and eggs. Identify the critical control points (CCPs) Once potential hazards have been identified, the next step is to identify critical control points (CCPs). These are points in the food production process at which control and be applied, and are essential to prevent or eliminate a food safety hazard, or reduce it to an acceptable level. Establish critical limits A critical limit is the value to which a biological, chemical or physical factor must be controlled to prevent food safety hazards. Critical limits are based on factors such as:...
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