Supermarkets And Supporting Plants All Pass
NEWS RELEASE 13 December 2001
Supermarkets And Supporting Plants All Pass Safety Assessments
All Woolworths, Big Fresh and Price Chopper supermarkets plus the company's meat plants and distribution centres have now gained Ministry of Health approval for their food safety programmes.
This means all 84 supermarkets, two meat plants (Tauranga and Sockburn) and three grocery distribution centres (Wiri, Palmerston North and Christchurch) are now permitted to take full responsibility for their own food safety programmes without regular inspections by health inspectors, subject only to periodic independent audit.
Health inspectors' visits can be dispensed with because Woolworths' food safety programme achieves higher standards than required by the Food Hygiene Regulations.
Each individual unit has worked for many months installing the advanced new food safety system and undergoing Ministry of Health assessment. Specially trained Health and Safety Coaches have been appointed in each location to co-ordinate the process and gather the necessary full commitment of all team members.
Des Flynn, Director of Strategic Business Development and Marketing, says “This is further independent evidence that our customers can buy their fresh foods from us with confidence, knowing that the safest practices are in place and upheld.”
The supermarket group is using a sophisticated and rigorous system that complies with the principles of Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP), the method approved by The New Zealand Ministry of Health and leading health authorities internationally. It will become the industry norm in the future.
Under HACCP, team members are trained to identify all the critical points at which hazards to food safety can arise and to control them so problems do not occur. Frequent monitoring and comprehensive documentation ensure everything remains as it should be.
The final phase in the programme will see the stores in the new Woolworths at Gull chain undergoing assessment during 2002.
Food manufacturers supplying the supermarkets are also expected to move to HACCP programmes to ensure that only products meeting the highest modern safety standards arrive at the stores.