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NOTES AND MANAGEMENT AIDS

#3.

RECORD KEEPING FOR FOOD SAFETY PURPOSES

Records provide evidence of diligent operations and compliance with requirements and, in the event of something going wrong, may be vital to investigations and consequential actions such as product withdrawals.

The FBO (establishment) is responsible for implementing a suitable record keeping system.  

As illustrations of statement of requirements:

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The Food Hygiene and Food Safety Standard issued under the APS Act [Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990)] requires a primary production food business operator to:

Establish a record system for each field, orchard or greenhouse to provide a permanent record of activities undertaken at those locations;

Establish a visual identification or reference system for each field, orchard or greenhouse;

Keep records or documentation containing the following relevant information for at least 2 years:

Suppliers of agricultural inputs and lot numbers of agricultural inputs;

Irrigation practices;

The correct and applicable use of plant protection products and fertilizers;

The proper treatment of manure or biosolids or organic fertilizers;

Cleaning and waste disposal programmes; and

The results of analyses carried out on samples taken of products or of other analysis made with regard to:

Plant protection products;

Water quality;

Soil contamination.

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Quality Standards and Food Hygiene and Food Safety Standards issued under the APS Act [Agricultural Product Standards Act, 1990 (Act No. 119 of 1990)] specify that, for traceability purposes, food business operators should keep adequate records which allow them to identify the suppliers of ingredients and food products used in their operations, as well as food businesses supplied with products.

Requirements relating to records are specified in the food safety checklist questions and compliance criteria, and highlighted by a “R”.

Requirements relating to physical evidence are specified in the food safety checklist questions and compliance criteria, and highlighted by “P”

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Records may not always be available at the point of operations during the audit e.g. were record sheets to be processed in the administration or information services department.  Nevertheless, operational management and staff should know where all relevant records would be held, and the auditor should have access to the records requested during an audit.  

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Historic records would usually not be examined during a food safety audit.  

It would be good practice for the FBO (establishment) and operational management and staff to review the findings of a food safety audit with regard to the quality and availability of records in each aspect of operation assessed by answering under each section of this checklist whether the records requested during the audit were available, and where there any specific considerations to be noted or actions required.

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