Perfection with regards to quality is our first and foremost priority. Although eggs are one of the safest foods designed to naturally protect its contents from harmful bacteria by having a hard calcium shell, two membrane layers and natural antimicrobials in the egg yolk, we at TopLay go all out with regards to food safety. All packstations have undertaken to ensure that every egg packed into our packaging is not only of the best quality, but also of the safest.
We are also a certified and accredited supplier to some of the largest retailers in South Africa, whom have trusted us with the packing and distribution of their Own Brand packs.
What is food safety?
A great deal of attention is being paid to Food Safety; and at TopLay Eggs it is no different. But, for those not in the food production industry, what exactly is food safety?
A Food Safety certification is obtained by each packstation after undergoing an external audit. These audits are conducted on an annual basis by an approved Food Safety Auditing Organisation. This audit is based on a risk assessment technique which is applied to the food manufacturing process.
The requirement is that the pack station identified significant food safety hazards to which appropriate corrective action is applied, monitored and verified.
The standard to which the audit is conducted is a documented set of criteria based on regulations, legislation, standards and client specifications to which each packstation must comply.
Adhering to the set legislation and regulations requires various procedures to be followed, building structures to be erected or improved to meet the criteria, staff training to be conducted and validations of process by means of various quality control inspections and external microbiological and chemical analysis.
The building structures are to be fit for food production and must include pest proofing, foreign matter control, a canteen and ablution facilities for the staff. The building structure also needs a clean storage facility for packaging as well as a clean and appropriate processing and packing area.
Foreign matter contamination is reduced by controlling glass, pests and pallets. Incoming and outgoing goods are inspected and daily equipment checks occur. Planned cleaning and disinfection takes place as well as after any maintenance or repairs are performed on or in the packstation. This includes a deep clean which covers the entire operation and surrounding areas.
Daily inspections are done to ensure problems are effectively managed, corrected and eliminated from re-occurring.
Only cleaning chemicals that are SABS registered for use in the food manufacturing industry, as well industrial grade, non-porous, colour coded cleaning equipment are used to reduce the risk of any bacterial contamination.
Pest control and pest prevention measures are in place and monitored.
Resources for washing and sanitising hands, clean uniforms and footwear ensure that staff is always clean and hygienic. All staff is well trained in the Code of Conduct, pest related issues, basic hygiene, cleaning and sanitation as well as processes such as candling (crack detection), packing etc.
Our products are fully traceable which includes product traceability back to source. All units have a recall procedure in place should a recall ever be necessary. This procedure is tested for effectiveness at least once per annum.
Only approved suppliers are used for packaging material and other raw materials. Supplier specification is communicated and suppliers are audited and relevant certification is in place.
Process controls are in place for packaging storage and usage, labelling, identifying and handling of nonconforming products. Various controls are in place for returned stock including safe disposal to prevent unintended use of the condemned product.
Corrective and preventative measures are in place, and include root cause analysis, as well as the appropriate follow up reports.
The above are only some of the points that are covered and as you can see and understand, we take the process seriously and are committed to delivering only the safest eggs to the markets. Most of our members supplying the market are audited through Food Assess while some are in the process of being internally audited. Our internal audits are based on the same relevant legislation, standards and regulations as the externally audited member audits are conducted on an annual basis by an independent external consultant.
You as the consumer have the right to buy safe eggs and therefore insist on only buying eggs that have been produced at a Food Safety accredited packstation. Most retailers have embraced food safety compliance as a pre-requisite to becoming an authorised supplier of eggs to their business.
TopLay eggs and food safety accreditation
Most of our members are already food safety accredited and undergo annual audits to ensure that the packstation is upholding the required standards set out by the South African Food Safety Association (SAFSA).
List of Food Safety Accredited TopLay members.
TopLay is in the process of rolling out an in-house auditing system which will ensure that only the safest eggs are supplied to all of our valued customers.
Food Safety at home
Food safety does not stop with the suppliers, continuing with safe food preparation practices at home will ensure a healthier happier family. Food poisoning results from consuming foods that contain enough harmful microorganisms or toxins to cause illness. Follow these easy steps to eliminate harmful bacteria and keep your family free from food borne illnesses.
- CLEAN – Always wash hands, utensils, cutting boards and surfaces when switching tasks. i.e. handling raw meat and preparing vegetables. Wash all fruit and vegetables before you peel and/or cut. Proper hand wash can eliminate nearly half of all food borne illnesses.
CHILL – Cold temperatures prevent most bacteria from increasing. Use the 2 hour rule. Refrigerate or freeze all perishables within 2 hours of purchasing. Eggs should be chilled and never frozen. See below the recommended storage chart:
Fridge Freezer Ground meats/poultry, fresh seafood 1 day 2-3 months Variety meats (e.g. liver, kidneys) 1-2 days 3-4 months Stew meats, ribs, stir fry strips, kebabs 2 days 3-6 months Whole chicken/turkey or pieces 2-3 days 6-12 months Steaks, roasts, chops 3 days 8-12 months Cooked packed roast/steaks 3-4 days 2-3 months Vacuum packed roast/steaks See pkg date 10-12 months Fresh shell eggs See best before date
- SEPARATE – Make sure to keep raw meat/seafood/poultry separate from each other and other foods during storage and preparations. Store eggs in their original carton to ensure they do not absorb other flavours and odours from other foods. Keep foods covered.
- COOK – Cook your food to its proper food temperature. Serve cooked eggs or egg-rich foods immediately after they have been cooked or refrigerate immediately and serve within 2-3 days.