Food safety is a massive responsibility. If you defy food safety requirements, then you may be risking the lives of many people. As such, you need to understand it fully so that you can implement all the necessary protocols and ensure that you’re following all the relevant regulations and standards. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about food safety in South Africa.
What is food safety?
The first thing you must understand is the definition of food safety. Essentially, it relates to a series of standards that measure the acceptability of a consumable item for sale. In other words, it is about mitigating the risks of illness that can be contracted through the intake of food that is being sold.
On the other hand, food hygiene – which is also important – is related to the conditions that are necessary to ensure that hazards are under control.
If both food safety and hygiene protocols are ignored, then foodstuffs may become contaminated and may result in disease. Every company and individual in the food industry have obligations, both moral and ethical, to certify that foodstuffs are safe for consumption.
Who regulates food safety?
Food safety in South Africa is regulated by various governmental bodies, including the Department of Health, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. However, when it comes to obtaining food safety systems certifications, there are various food safety certification bodies that you can approach.
What does it mean for businesses?
The law requires that all handlers and transporters of food products maintain the highest levels of safety and hygiene. As such, you must ensure that you are in possession of a Certificate of Acceptability, along with any other necessary certifications, like the Food Safety System Certification 22000, for example.
It also means that you must train staff on safety and hygiene and implement cleaning timetables. The law also requires that food premises must keep food safe from any contamination, including pests, gases, rain, chemicals, and dust.
Be sure that you’re also following water standards, microbiological standards, and technical standards. For example, if you’re a retailer, then you should follow the ISO 22000:2018, BSI/PAS 221:2013, Retail /Wholesale technical standards.
Other factors you must consider are product labeling, management of allergens, and storage. Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list of things you need to do, but it gives you a good place to start.
Benefits of food safety
When you ensure that your products are up to South African food safety standards, there are many additional benefits that come with it. For instance, the quality of your product will be better. This will increase confidence in your product, and boost your brand reputation. As a result, you may experience improved sales.
Better food safety can also lead to longer shelf-life, less wastage, and improved efficiency.
Breaking the rules
What happens if you don’t abide by the food safety rules and regulations? Well, there are many consequences that you and your business will have to face.
You will be lowering the quality of your product and will be endangering peoples’ health. As a result, you are likely to lose business or be embroiled in public controversy. Furthermore, you will be liable to pay fines or could face legal action.
As a participant in the food industry, it is your responsibility to certify that you’re following food safety South African laws. This means you must carry out all relevant inspections, tests, and training. It also means you must be in possession of the correct certifications. AssureCloud can help you with all of it. Contact us for help today.