Hello to all of you in the food industry, from the secret offices of Pinky and The Brain!
With all food industries still well aware of the BIG L word, the two of us just could not keep it in any longer……. There are other aspects in the food industry that should be worried about, not just Listeria outbreaks! Like what is going on with the ability of Food Quality Assurance Managers in our industry to perform their job? Who is that, you ask? This may be a shock to you but, yes, this is actually the right job title! Not Safety- or Production Manager, not Health- and Safety Officer (this is not a medical position) and definitely not Quality Control Officer. With a huge job title like that, clearly the era of just appointing an existing staff member (anybody in our facility that can spell microbiology) into a position like this, should be light years behind us!
There is always that something that we all think, but never say. Well, let us be the first to say it out loud! In order to make progress in the food industry, we need to appoint the best (like headhunt if you must) in Food Technology and Food Microbiology! They must have specialised education in their fields (e.g. Meat Hygiene), the ability to be Food Industrial Managers (yes, no space for the scientific introverts – they need to be able to manage entire departments), knowledge in quality standards (e.g. HACCP), be clued-up with Government regulations for the food industry (hopefully SA regulations – the country in which they produce) and at least some grammar courses to equip them in writing proper Standard Operating Procedures.
Although we, as South Africans, are more immune to pathogens, we cannot progress or maintain any from of standard, while Food Quality Assurance Managers in a meat abattoir want the total plate count (FYI – this means all microorganisms, including bacteria, yeast and mould) of raw meat to be 0 (not scientifically correct, not detected – just 0) but see no problem in a Staphylococcus aureus count that are >30 000 colony forming units per gram … Seems like everyone knows this is not possible, except them!
Then, do not even get us started on the quality of food products, but for that we need at least a few extra pages!
Till next time – yes, we do not eat everywhere –
Pinky and The Brain!