Top industry accolade for Food Centre team

Reaseheath’s outstanding Food Processing Halls team has once again achieved the highest standards of Food Safety and Hygiene within a food production facility.

Following a rigorous audit against the new BRCGS (British Retail Consortium Global Standard) Version 8, the team has been awarded the prestigious AA standard for a second consecutive year. In 2018 our college became the first educational institution in the world to achieve the Grade AA certification. This is the highest possible benchmark for best practice in food manufacture and proof that our Food Centre operates under highly controlled conditions and at the highest industry standards.

The updated BRC version 8 includes new clauses on Food Safety Culture, Site Security and Threat of Adulteration. Our team achieved the highest level of compliance, with just three minor non conformances noted throughout the two day audit.

Delighted Processing Halls Manger Mike Bennett said: “As always this was a tough two days. The auditor spent many hours talking to staff and students to gain an understanding of their level of food safety knowledge, as well as checking hygiene standards and scrutinising our policies and procedures. The auditor was extremely complimentary about student knowledge and their ability to work to industry standards.

“Huge credit goes to Quality Co-ordinator Laura Bateman for her tireless efforts to implement the new standard and ensure compliance. The performance of the whole Food Team has been outstanding, with everyone contributing to ensuring a satisfactory outcome.

“This result demonstrates that the team has an exceptional food safety management system in place and shows commitment and continual improvement around food safety. This is a fantastic achievement and we are pleased to have reduced the number of non conformances while working to a higher standard.”

The team consists of Laura Bateman, Senior Technician Jenny Tait, Food Technologists Jen Newall, Penny Masters, Kate Chantler, Zoe Hodge, Jane Gilman and Sue Moors and Maintenance Engineers Damien Murphy, Andy Garnett and Elliott Bateman. Also pictured are HE Course Manager Debbie Heritage-Brill and Food Centre Manager Nick Blakemore.

Grade AA certification is aimed at suppliers of major retailers. Although Reaseheath does not necessarily need this highest standard to operate, the college’s ethos is to ensure students are trained under industry conditions.

Reaseheath’s £7 million Food Centre was opened in 2011 and remains one of the best equipped food processing teaching and practical facilities in Europe. Built to exacting standards and staffed by a team of specialist food technologists recruited directly from the food industry, the centre has dairy processing halls and production areas for butchery, bakery, cake design and confectionery.

Many local, national and international food and drink manufacturers use the facilities for new product development, technical advice or staff training. These partnerships lead to work experience and job opportunities for our food technology students. We also offer training sessions to the public which include cake decoration, HACCP and food safety.

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