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									   The Food Safety Centre
  Allergen Resource Bureau
                     Pilot project
       to identify and reduce allergen related
                   knowledge gaps
         in the small and medium enterprise
        sector of the Australian food industry

                Amabel Fulton and Chris Chapman



February 2006              Allergen Bureau
                    Objectives
• To improve public health and business
  risk outcomes for the entire food
  manufacturing sector within Australia,
  by
     – understanding the allergen-related knowledge
       base of the SME food manufacturing sector, and
       the gaps in this knowledge, and
     – Identifying next steps for designing and facilitating
       a system to deliver allergen information to the
       SME sector

February 2006            Allergen Bureau
       What recommendations?
• Simple tools and systems to assist
  small to medium food manufacturers to
  manage allergens
• Options for cost-effective continuation of
  this initiative



February 2006     Allergen Bureau
                This session
• Results to date
• What services would help SMEs
  manage allergens better?
• What options for continuation of this
  initiative?



February 2006      Allergen Bureau
                     Methods
•    Survey designed to collect data on
    –    allergen management practices
    –    information needs and sources
    –    customer info needs
    –    critical allergen issues, and
    –    training
•    Survey emailed to 600 through NFIS
•    Response rate of <5% after 2 weeks

February 2006          Allergen Bureau
       11 allergen best practices
1. Do you segregate storage of raw materials eg.
   allergens below non-allergens?
2. Do you audit raw material suppliers or co-packers?
3. Do you use specific scoops and tools for handling
   allergens (e.g., colour-coded)
4. Do you do a full clean-down between production
   runs?
5. Do you carefully and specifically label the finished
   product?
 February 2006           Allergen Bureau
      11 allergen best practices
6.     Do you conduct risk assessment(s)?
7.     Do you include allergen hazards into a site HACCP
       plan?
8.     Do you conduct allergen testing of environment,
       raw material and/or finished product?
9.     Do you conduct staff awareness training and
       updates?
10. Do you have an allergen re-work policy?
11. Do you utilise production scheduling for allergen
    control?
February 2006           Allergen Bureau
                Activity
• For questions 6-16
• For every always answer, give yourself
  1 point
• For every sometimes answer, give
  yourself 0.5 points
• Add up your score


February 2006   Allergen Bureau
                Your score?
          0     0%                        6    55%
          1     9%                       6.5   59%
        1.5     14%                       7    64%
          2     18%                      7.5   68%
        2.5     23%                       8    73%
          3     27%                      8.5   77%
        3.5     32%                       9    82%
          4     36%                      9.5   86%
        4.5     41%                      10    91%
          5     45%                     10.5   95%
        5.5     50%                      11    100%


February 2006         Allergen Bureau
                          % of best practices nominated as used

                 100%
% of responses




                 80%

                 60%
                                                            41%
                 40%
                                                18%                 18%
                 20%    9%         14%

                  0%
                        0-19       20-39        40-59       60-79   80-100
                                           % of practices




     February 2006                    Allergen Bureau
      Do you segregate storage of raw materials eg. Allergens below non-
                                 allergens?


100
           86
 80

 60

 40

 20                                                                  14
                          0              0             0
  0
         Always      Some times        Never        Not sure     No answer




February 2006                  Allergen Bureau
           Do you audit raw material suppliers or co-packers?

100

 80

 60
                        36
 40        32
                                       23
 20                                                             9
                                                   0
  0
         Always     Some times       Never      Not sure    No answer




  February 2006               Allergen Bureau
      Do you use specific scoops and tools for handling allergens
                         (e.g., colour-coded)?

100
80
           55
60
40
                                      23                       18
20                      5
                                                   0
 0
        Always     Some times       Never       Not sure    No answer




  February 2006               Allergen Bureau
                Do you do full clean-down between production runs?

 100

  80        68

  60

  40
                                                                        23
  20                         9
                                           0             0
   0
          Always       Some times        Never        Not sure       No answer




February 2006                    Allergen Bureau
           Do you carefully and specifically label the finished product?


100

 80        68

 60

 40

 20                                                                        14
                           9                5               5
  0
         Always       Some times         Never          Not sure       No answer




 February 2006                    Allergen Bureau
                   Do you conduct risk assessment?


100

 80

 60        55

 40
                     27
                                                             18
 20
                                     0               0
  0
         Always   Some times      Never        Not sure   No answer




 February 2006             Allergen Bureau
          Do you include allergen hazards into a site HACCP plan?

100

80

60        50

40
                                                                    27
20                                      9             9
                         5
 0
        Always      Some times       Never        Not sure     No answer




 February 2006                 Allergen Bureau
       Do you conduct allergen testing of environment, raw material and/or
                                finished product?


100

 80

 60
                                          45
 40                                                                      27
           18
 20                        9
                                                          0
  0
         Always      Some times         Never          Not sure      No answer




 February 2006                   Allergen Bureau
            Do you conduct staff awareness training and updates?

100

80

60                       50
           36
40

20                                                                    14
                                        0             0
  0
         Always     Some times        Never        Not sure        No answer




February 2006                  Allergen Bureau
                  Do you have an allergen re-work policy?

100

 80

 60
                       45
 40

           14                          14                        18
 20                                                    9

  0
         Always    Some times        Never         Not sure   No answer




 February 2006                Allergen Bureau
            Do you utilise production scheduling for allergen control?

100

 80

 60
          45
 40
                          27                                                27
 20
                                           0               0
  0
        Always       Some times          Never         Not sure          No answer




 February 2006                    Allergen Bureau
                          % of best practices nominated as used

                 100%
% of responses




                 80%

                 60%
                                                            41%
                 40%
                                                18%                 18%
                 20%    9%         14%

                  0%
                        0-19       20-39        40-59       60-79   80-100
                                           % of practices




     February 2006                    Allergen Bureau
    Improving allergen management
More than 95% identified room for improvement.
 Suggestions included:
•   conduct staff training,
•   improve labelling,
•   review allergen management protocol,
•   improve storage segregation,
•   improve cleaning between production runs,
•   use specific tools,
•   conduct risk assessment and audit suppliers.


    February 2006         Allergen Bureau
                    Critical issues
18% indicated that their company had critical
  issues relating to allergen management:
•    reliability of suppliers
•    change of ingredients where we are not notified
•    imported goods
•    cross contamination
•    labelling of inwards goods




    February 2006         Allergen Bureau
                    Information needs
41% need more information about allergens
  including:
•    Specific reactions to sulphur products
•    Nature and risk of fish and shellfish allergen
•    Update of products that contain allergens
•    Reports of legal cases or issues
•    Risk management procedures
•    Recent research
•    List of allergens and their risks
•    Handling guidelines for restaurants

    February 2006           Allergen Bureau
                 Information sources
• 86% of respondents have sought allergen
  information
• The three most common sources:
   – Your suppliers (72%)
   – The Food Standards Code (55%)
   – In-house staff (41%)
• 23% of respondents have had difficulty in
  obtaining particular information



 February 2006           Allergen Bureau
Training in allergen management
 • 45% of respondents reported no staff trained
   in allergen management
 • 32% reported staff trained in allergen
   management.




 February 2006      Allergen Bureau
        Summary – (early days)
•   About 60% allergen aware
•   About 40% allergen pro-active
•   About 40% allergen unaware
•   About 20% have critical issues
•   About 40% need more information



February 2006    Allergen Bureau
                Where to from here?
• Aim to have 100 surveys completed
• Please complete the confidential survey
  today, return to registration desk
• Bureau members to encourage
  suppliers to complete survey



February 2006         Allergen Bureau
      What services would help SMEs
        manage allergens better?
•   Forum where they could get together with larger food companies and regulatory
    bodies as well and communicate ideas – allow them to express concerns, give
    ideas about how to manage allergens and labelling
•   Website – access information – where go to, need right links
•   SMEs not time / awareness, go through industry bodies or regulators who have
    to contact them, make aware that if not up to date allergen policy, they can be
    providers of website address or information
•   Smaller suppliers don’t even know what questions to ask bc not aware of issues,
    govt food safety certificates, $25, basic outline, local council offered on Sat
    morning
•   Basic tools to do their risk assessment, not so advanced as bigger companies
•   Provide the information in steps, basic outline, with build of information gradually
    – web, course, info
•   Bureau could provide training sessions – generic or tailored for SMEs
•   Larger companies with established systems could agree to mentor or sponsor a
    smaller company until brought up to speed
•   Access to cheap and reliable testing if want to verify their processes


February 2006                       Allergen Bureau
 What options for continuation of this
             initiative?
• Partnerships between industry enforcement, industry regulators,
  build an environment where fostering compliance, all parts of
  business involved
• Offer memberships to get support base, and cost is based on
  company size, sliding scale, get lots more members, cross
  subsidise large to small business
• Grant from ?? To help make this happen
• If companies providing employment to local council areas, local
  govt could be involved
• EHOs don’t have a good grasp – use as a conduit, internal
  recognition that this needs to happen
• Incorporate a work experience Uni student to do some helping
  of setting it up as a project



February 2006             Allergen Bureau
     What services would help SMEs
       manage allergens better?
•   Reduce the cost of them attending food allergen workshops
•   At workshops, have allergen organisations update on the problem
•   Other sources of information where SMEs can find out about this?
    Trade associations, chambers of commerce, industry associations
•   Pick them up through food recalls
•   Simplify it – not the science – what is the bare minimum I need to do
•   Build on what has been done in providing the training package on
    Bureau website, download
•   Approach it from a regulatory perspective? How partner with them?
•   How do small organisations access the information that the members of
    the bureau have? What fees put in place for access to SMEs
•   EHOs out there have no ideas about allergens – out there all the time,
    Councils the same, esp when businesses setting up




February 2006                 Allergen Bureau
                          Marine Room
•   Thai restaurant would score 0 – food service sector don’t know, hands over eyes
    and ears on subject, get message to them they need to be part of this process
    themselves
•   People don’t understand because can’t quantify in clear terms what the problem
    is – no where to go to say this is the size of the problem, this is incidence, this is
    what we agreed on
•   New Zealand – issues in supermarkets, as well as food service
•   Maybe need colour poster to be stuck on the walls in these cetnres with the 8
    allergens – have you info to give your customers on this? In UK FSA website
    poster for caterers – only emphasises 4 allergens
•   Limited response, what else did you send out to raise awareness of this whole
    project, got an educational issue and awareness, big gap between smaller and
    larger companies – make them aware
•   Need to integrate allergen into food safety plans, drive these down to suppliers,
    got to become part of integrated system
•   Include allergens in basic hygiene training – then all through the whole system
•   A lot of SMEs getting allergen information from us – we demand it and therefore
    have to learn about it – our people doing training for them. BE major source of
    info
•   Food companies become interested because staff have allergen issues, this
    affects the awareness and attitudes – use these people

February 2006                       Allergen Bureau
                Freshwater 2
• Keep it quick and simple, haven’t got
  time to spend a whole day at a seminar
• Many use websites, good source of info,
  simple quick and poster
• Use consultants
• Information packs – like the clinical
  people spoke about – DVDs etc

February 2006      Allergen Bureau
    What options for continuation of this
                initiative?
• Free training courses – short courses
• Consistent interpretation
• Time commitment for SMEs big hurdle
• Buddy system between larger cos and smaller
• Larger companies put seminars on for the smaller companies
• Target small companies, go to them, road shows
• Allergy awareness week – last year theme targeted food service
  sector, produced marketing material – could build on that and/or
  partner with them in that
• Training – how fit? Evening event, a couple of hours, straight
  from work, smaller context, 20 of them to get benefits of
  networking as well
• EHOs and TAFEs keen to develop courses, take information,
  and also through the health departments

February 2006              Allergen Bureau
   The Food Safety Centre
  Allergen Resource Bureau


                   First year review
                Amabel Fulton and Tim Tabart




February 2006            Allergen Bureau
                  Outcomes
•     Understand the ways in which the Allergen
      Bureau is delivering value to its members
      and other stakeholders
•     Identify areas in which this service could be
      improved
•     Contribute to a strategic plan through which
      the Bureau can sustainably provide value to
      its members


February 2006         Allergen Bureau
                    Methods
• Phone survey of the current 24 member
  companies
• Web-based survey of 500 non-member
  organisations who have logged on to the
  Allergen Bureau web-site since its inception
• Questions:
    – Usage of the Bureau and satisfaction level
    – Potential new services



February 2006          Allergen Bureau
                    Interim results
                           Members           Non-Members

   # surveyed                   14               53
   # employees
                              6050               268
   (average)
   # times used website
   (median)                    4-10              1-3

   Likely to join coming     Yes 11           Yes 7%
   year?                     No 1             No 20%
                            Unsure 2         Unsure 73%




February 2006              Allergen Bureau
  Overall member satisfaction
        40%
        35%
        30%
        25%
        20%
        15%
        10%
         5%
         0%
                1.               2                      3       4         5.
                     Ve                                                        Ve
                          ry d                                                      ry s
                                 iss                                                       ati
                                       ati                                                       sfie
                                             sfie                                                       d
                                                    d




February 2006                                           Allergen Bureau
What is the Bureau doing well?
• providing information and resources
    – website
    – email and phone to members
• a networking and resource hub
    – “a one-stop shop, our first point of call - previously was
      Google”
    – relevant to Australia and New Zealand
• “Ability to discuss and consult with peers on a
  non-industry sensitive basis - takes industry
  competition out of the equation”

February 2006               Allergen Bureau
          What could be better?
• Communicate benefits to the general food
  manufacturing industry
    – Promote its non-member services
    – Charge less for membership from smaller companies
• More frequent newsletters
• Q&A about food allergens on the website
• Allow more open, two-way communication
  between Allergen Forum groups and
  companies outside those groups

February 2006             Allergen Bureau
                   Non-Members
 Why did you use the Allergen Bureau website?
                                               %

            Information and resources
                                               85
            - including services


            Labelling information              15




February 2006                Allergen Bureau
Factors influencing decision to join
                                                %
        Cost                                    44
        Unsure of benefits or value for money   22
        Access to information and resources     17
        Need management approval                11
        NZ based                                6




  February 2006               Allergen Bureau
     How can the Allergen Bureau
      better service your needs?
• Some people don’t know what the allergen bureau does – better
  communicate what it is about to member staff
• Aim is to benefit supplier base – rather than us trying and solve
  their problem – want a resource for the small business – if I give
  them the phone number, what is on offer for them. If put into a
  one-pager. We have mail out to 1500-2000 suppliers in next 2
  mo, could attach in an email
• Big companies may all do the same – take advantage of us to
  get the message out to our suppliers
• Bureau of benefit to people who are very involved – know what
  is on there, latest research, but if not very involved, not easy to
  find your way around – need a quick answer or overview harder
  to find



February 2006               Allergen Bureau
     How can the Allergen Bureau
      better service your needs?
•   Continue addressing issues such as differences between threshold levels and the impact on
    people who are allergen sensitive
•   Continue to build awareness of issues around allergens
•   Is the media aware of the allergen bureau? Because media not well informed
•   More clinicians as part of the team of the allergen bureau – people working with the allergic
    consumers, creating a collaborative approach
•   Develop a standard that is required – like the GI symbol, licence it, good for marketing
•   What happens if disbanded later on?
•   Create a manufacturing pack, consistent across the industry, for controlling allergens
•   Improve the website – logins were used to assess useage; non-members actually have
    similar access, but don’t know this
•   Still need to provide member benefits – is providing access to non-members of value to
    members, or not?
•   New stuff on front page all the time
•   More general information – to recommend it to people who don’t have much time. If there
    are things like guidelines that could be referenced through the website as well
•   Search function on allergen bureau website

February 2006                          Allergen Bureau
                Your to-do list
• Complete the SME survey now
    – All responses are confidential and only
      aggregated data will be provided to the Allergen
      Bureau
• Place your confidential responses in the
  collection box at the registration desk
• Complete the Allergen Bureau survey
  on the web
February 2006          Allergen Bureau

								
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