Column Pieter Vos: Stay sharp
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Column Pieter Vos: Stay sharp

  • 21 November 2022
  • By: Pieter Vos , directeur Nutrilab

Cleaning and disinfection is about risk management: guaranteeing hygiene contributes to the safe marketing of your food products, so you don't have to worry about recalls. To ensure this, you have set up procedures and rules, work with a hygiene code and protocols: 'always go through the hygiene lock, wash your hands, use food-grade lubricants, train staff'. It works. Together, we have thus achieved a high food safety standard. 

But in daily practice, attention sometimes slips. You have finished your checklist, ticked all the boxes and may think 'these protocols take so much time, I could do a bit less for once. After all, the results have been negative for months.' You get a tad laid-back. And then suddenly... it's wrong. You have a virus, fungus or bacteria in your business. 

It reminds me of a text from the book of Ecclesiastes; a story about two lumberjacks. One works steadily, without breaks. The other takes a short break after each felled tree. At the end of the day, the first finds that the other, who apparently wasted so much time, has felled many more trees than he has. How could that be? It turns out: he used the breaks to sharpen his axe. Chopping then took less strength and went faster. The rest not only kept his axe sharp, but the woodcutter himself as well. The moral: those who work wisely work much more efficiently.

When it comes to safeguarding hygiene, there should be a status of constant alertness and wisdom in your company. So take the time to train your people and continuously critically assess your system. Evaluate your procedures annually. But beware: corporate blindness lurks, so make sure you let others look at your system too. Make sure it is not always the same 'others', because they too work according to a fixed pattern. 

That way, you keep your system alive. And you will stay sharp. 

Pieter Vos
Director Nutrilab

Source: Vakblad Voedingsindustrie 2022