When you’re running a food business, you know that there are certain standards that you have to adhere, which can be pretty strict. Occasionally, you’ll be subjected to inspections and also to see if you’re in violation of any of these guidelines. You need to take these seriously, because your business is on the line. Not only that, your employees could be out of a job. It can be too much for one person to handle and you may need expert outside help. Here are the best recommendations for looking for a food safety consultant.
1. Look For Relevant Qualifications
Make sure that the consultant has a university degree in environmental health, food microbiology or food technology. Qualification in food auditing is also a must. Also, look for other related technical experience and qualifications.
2. Knowledge Of Certification Standards
The consultant you wish to hire must have a thorough working knowledge of the HACCP certification standard and must also be able to conduct HACCP training courses for employees. Make sure that the consultant has the necessary experience implementing and training others in such food safety systems.
3. Past Working Experiences
Look for previous working experience, particularly in a similar field to that which you are in. Look at how long they’ve worked in this field. Have they implemented and maintained HACCP systems in their previous work experience? If so, then this is a good thing for you. They must have a good knowledge of the various food hazards.
4. Are They Up-To-Date?
Make sure that the consultant is current in his or her working knowledge and have stayed up-to-date with issues and trends in the food industry. Many certifications are updated regularly, with some on an annual basis. Any candidate you’re interested in must be able to show such proof in their professional development and in staying current.
5. Contact References
Ask the candidate to provide references and make sure to contact them. Getting an honest, unbiased opinion of the candidate’s previous consultancy work, paying careful attention to their professionalism and performance will help you to make up your mind, one way or another.
6. Creating & Implementing A Plan Takes Time
The 7 principles of HACCP is quite an undertaking to create and implement and thus, will take some time. If a candidate tells you that they have the experience and can do this for you in a matter of two or three weeks, be wary. Something like this is likely to take two to three months!
Find out if the candidate is willing to spend a fair amount of time on-site. They must be committed to learning about your daily operations so as to design the right plan. Are they also willing to maintain the system and offer follow-up support and provide training when necessary? If they tick all the right boxes, then you can feel confident that when you hire the candidate, you’ve made the right choice.