As a food business owner you have a duty to protect your customers and to make safe food. It all starts with the food that comes into your business.
How do you know if the food you are buying is safe?
Have you checked out your suppliers to make sure the food they are selling is not contaminated?
Not knowing the answers to these questions could put your business into crisis and damage your reputation.
Important questions to ask new suppliers?
- Are they registered as a food business with the local authority?
- Do they have a food safety management system?
- Can they supply allergen information?
- Do they have a system in place to inform their customers of changes to products and recipes including allergens?
- Can they store and deliver food safely, particularly high risk chilled and frozen products?
- Do they have any accreditations or are they members of trade associations or third party schemes?
These questions will help you put together a supplier approval process. This will come in handy whether you are buying meat from a local butchers or food from a large catering supplier.
If you decide to carry out a supplier audit make sure you check all aspects of the business. This could include the layout of the premises, cleanliness, food safety management and HACCP controls, personnel, quality systems, traceability and product recall systems. You may wish to employ a 3rd party who has experience doing supplier to help get this right.
Food Safety Standards
Supplier accreditations can help to give you reassurance that your supplier has been audited to a set standard.
Look for BRCGS (Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standard) that is usually held by larger food businesses. The food safety standard for food manufacturers is the leading food safety compliance standard in the UK. There is also a similar standard for storage and distribution in the food and drink supply chain. The standards are given following an onsite audit, for more information see BSI group. They are updated regularly and suppliers will have a certificate to prove they have reached the necessary standard.
SALSA (Safe and Local Supplier Approval)
Smaller food producers may have SALSA approval. Any commercial food producer can apply but must meet a set of criteria. This includes pre-requisite controls for producing safe food e.g. cleaning, pest control, personnel hygiene. HACCP and management controls must also be in place and how complaints and incidents are controlled. The producer must be audited annually to make sure their standards are still compliant to keep their approval. For more information see SALSA.
ISO is a food safety management standard that helps food producers to demonstrate that they can produce safe food. It should give you the assurance, as a food business owner, that any food hazards within the production of the food are being controlled. For more information click here ISO 22000.
Include your supplier approval process in your food safety management system. List your approved suppliers with their contact details incase you need to contact them urgently. Train your staff to flag up issues with suppliers or their products and make sure they know what to do when something goes wrong.
If you need help with supplier audits or food safety management systems please contact me for a no obligation chat. CONTACT ME