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dispatches from EU Food Manufacturing and Safety Summit

Food firms discuss challenges at EU summit

By Joe Whitworth+

04-Mar-2014

Mars, Premier Foods and Royal FrieslandCampina gave their food safety thoughts at an EU summit.

Topics ranged from asset management, safer workplaces for employees to how to guarantee quality assurance at the EU Food Manufacturing and Safety Summit in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.

Erik Grakist, chief engineering manager, Mars said asset management played an integral role in food safety.

He spoke about how it can support business, whose role it is and the balance between a sophisticated system and common sense. 

Operators, maintenance, skills engineers, quality and food safety up to the legal department need to be involved.

Walking production line

Grakist said it involves walking along the production line and estimating technical factors and life cycle.

He gave one example of a Mars line with 16 people and 250 tonnes of chocolate, which took three hours with five people as visual checking is still used for the most part as not much predictive.

An asset health check involves the technical life cycle of machinery, if it is over 20 or 30 years old it might cause a problem in the future.

Reliability data, human safety, food safety, HACCP compliance, allergens, GMP and noise reduction need to be considered, he said.

Results are recorded with a green, yellow or red spot and it is decided if something needs to be done now or in the future.

Grakist gave an example of one machine that had been working fine for 28 years but broke down causing the production line to be shutdown for three days.

He said in isolation it was bad but three days out of 28 years is not so bad, adding this is where asset management comes to the fore by looking for hot spots that cause problem.

Dairy quality

In a separate talk, Suzan Horst, director, quality assurance and crisis management, Royal FrieslandCampina, said quality is made by people not paper.

She introduced the firm’s programme to ensure quality and sustainability - Foqus planet – which covers milk quality, criteria for animal health and welfare, production process and environment such as farm cleanliness and outdoor grazing.

The firm said it goes along a ‘grass to glass’ approach involving QlIp laboratory which checks milk quality.

Qlip performs 10,000 assessments, audits and certifications in the dairy, dairy cattle, poultry, and beef cattle industries.

Horst said by the end of the year they want all factories to be FSSC 22000 certified and their infant nutrition factories will need to score A’s in key performance indictors (KPI’s) by 2015.

FreislandCampina has 19,287 member dairies and €10.3bn in revenue.

The firm uses EU legislation and codex, Dutch legislation, third party accreditation and its own FOQUS system to guarantee quality assurance.

Safe Workplace

In his presentation, Jim Quinn, group H&S manager at Premier Foods, said complacency kills and good is the enemy of great.

He said since its corporate health and safety plan at the end of 2009, they had reported an 87% reduction in lost time accidents, 86% reduction in reporting of injuries, diseases and dangerous occurrences regulations (RIDDOR) accidents.

There had also been an 83% reduction in major RIDDOR accidents such as amputations.

Quinn said there was one major RIDDOR per week before the plan but last year it reported just three all year.

All sites are BS OHSAS 18001:2007 certified and he said firms must take store of success and learn from failure as it was a message for all that complacency can get in back door because success breeds complacency.

Quinn identified a number of safeguards to stop complacency such as having line accountability and behavior change as until leadership behavior changes, nothing changes.

He also said a split between legislative compliance from accident reduction programmes was beneficial and stopping to think about the unthinkable  - such as what can go wrong will ensure a safe workplace.

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