Quality and safety is – or at least should be – a big part of the life of any business involved in food processing/distribution. Without an extensive set of policies and procedures to monitor ingredients, manufacturing processes and final product, to constantly assess microbial risk and to be able to manage product recalls in health emergencies, no-one should be producing/selling food to the public. Well, that’s what the law says. In reality things are quite different given the poor levels of enforcement in this country.
In the absence of the state, it’s the big food retailers who have taken on the responsibility of ensuring (with varying degrees of effectiveness) compliance with food safety standards by their suppliers by insisting on independent quality audits. But outside of this environment it’s pretty much a free-for-all and consumers basically have zero guarantees about food safety/quality.
When a small company like ours enters into the food safety compliance net, it very soon becomes clear how daunting the challenge is. And expensive. There is no difference between being a giant multinational food business or an Absolute Organix: safety is safety, compliance is compliance; meet the standards or go home.
It has taken us years of hard slog and hard cash to raise our standards to the levels required. It has required the effort of dedicated staff and specialist consultants, major refurbishment of our premises and ongoing attention to the detail and the process. This, you will note, is in addition to the requirements for our organic certification which I have talked about in the previous blog post.
But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Last month, after our annual food safety assessment, we had our best ever result (89.9%), something my team and I are extremely proud of. You can see our Certificate of Achievement here.