Goodness me. There are news reports of a dairy in Yorkshire being fined £1,950 plus £7,200 costs for not having appropriate documentation to support their HACCP plan, a lady not being a qualified food handler and inappropriate storage of packaging materials. It was also said that at no point was there ever a risk of contamination of their cheese and that their dairy was spotless.
My heart goes out to them as few people really understand how incredibly onerous it can be maintaining records for food safety plans, HACCPs etc. There is a massive amount of form filling and tick box checking and it takes time; if you are a small business, as indeed we are too, it can lead to you feeling sometimes that you spend too much time doing paperwork when there is cheese to be made and a dairy to be cleaned down and customers to speak to!
I’d like to think we have a good relationship with our Environmental Health Officer, he offers us advice from time to time and we take him seriously.
We have a massive set of HACCPS, a plan for each activity and process that we undertake, cleaning schedules, all manner of schedules that we maintain on a daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. But more than this, we are audited to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) standard which is extremely rigorous, and for the mostpart a good framework for food safety and quality. We still have our Grade A, but the audit, which is looming large is always a worrying time.