According to Mortimore and Wallace (2001), lack of knowledge may arise due to improperly trained or untrained personnel or when there are not enough people on the HACCP Team or where HACCP is done at the corporate level with little or no input from the processing facility. Many small business remain unaware of HACCP or lack sufficient in-house knowledge and training about the risks associated with their procedures to put in place or maintain effective HACCP-based controls (Arvanitoyannis, 2009). In Malaysia, the HACCP system is not widely practiced by institutional and military foodservice compared to conventional foodservice. A national survey of school foodservice directors on perceived barriers to HACCP was conducted by Youn and Sneed (2002). The results show that 22% strongly agreed and 43% agreed that employee training was rated as the greatest barrier followed by employees needed more training to improve food safety practices respectively.
Based on Yudi, Hooi and Yusliza’s (2013) findings, 78.6% of employees in food establishments responded that they need more trainings to keep them aware and updated. This shows that the employees recognize the importance of knowledge and understandings of the system but the food operators tend to ignore these needs. The high turnover rates have caused them to neglect these needs. Based on Compensation Force’s data survey, hospitality (include foodservice) contributed the highest percentage of 25.9% turnover rates in 2015. Logically, is there a benefit to train employees that might be quitting the next day? Can the food establishments stop them from looking better opportunities after they have been certified in the training? Whatever the reasons are, the food industry have to be aware of cultural deficiencies and be prepared to implement programs that will consider these needs (Stier, Morad, & Weinstein, 2002).
Perhaps the greatest barrier to the production of safe food in developing nations is lack of understanding of the relationship between proper hygiene and good health (Stier, Morad, & Weinstein, 2002).
the utilization of data obtained from monitoring and HACCP associated activities. HACCP application generates many important records which will be useful in providing the trend analysis, which contributes significantly to improving the HACCP system . However, to be able to carry out analysis and know how to evaluate and utilize the results obtained afterwards, which is often lacking in small-scale foodservice.
Safe and healthy food production can prevent foodborne illness. Thus, the governments in developing countries have done major efforts to educate their citizens towards safe and healthy food production. This includes Malaysia. HACCP system is one of the most effective approach and relevant for Malaysia’s food industry. However, the implementation of HACCP is not comprehensive to all food establishment. Foodservice areas such as institutional and military foodservice are showing gap in its implementation compared to commercial foodservice. So, how education systems become part of potential barriers in implementing HACCP? Generally, knowledge is essential in order to gather information. We need to have at least basic knowledge to understand how the HACCP system works. Every principles in the HACCP system require not only general information but other trusted sources. This can be achieved through various educational systems:
Nurturing practices of safe foodhandling should begin as early as childhood education. In Japan, a programme known as school lunch system is adopted by nearly all elementary and junior high schools due to E. coli O157 outbreak in 1996 (Maruyama, Kurihara, & Matsuda, n.d.). The government has set out hygiene management manuals based on HACCP school lunch facilities. From the facts, we understand that it is essential to educate people as early as possible so that the practices can become habits to them. Not only that, each level of education should be focused on the implementation of HACCP as a means of preventing foodborne illnesses. On the university level, educational partnerships can be established if there are any curricular related to food industry. Those practices can be done during class session or on the real field at the university facility. Faculty also must make the effort to teach their students to think and apply what they learn, rather than just test their memories (Stier, Morad & Weinstein, 2002).
One way to make it happens is through educational partnership. Cooperative structure between the university and the industry player can be formed to ensure mutual benefit. The involvement of non-government organization (NGO) or trade association might be useful in order to get the programme started. For instance, Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia (USIM) enhanced their strategic relationships in the industry through a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Mas Awana Services Sdn. Bhd., a subsidiary of Malaysia Airlines. The company has received halal standards from Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia (JAKIM) and HDC and comply with the standards of international food safety and health of HACCP. According to Utusan Online (2014), the collaboration further developed through the involvement of Institute of Halal Research and Management (Ihram), which is a center of research excellence established exclusively by the USIM.
According to Wikipedia, outreach is an activity of providing services to any populations who might not otherwise have access to those services and is often meant to fill in the gap in the services provided by a mainstream. Those who are providing the services are mobile such as experts in specific fields meet audience who in need of these services at the locations where these audience in need are. Having an outreach programme is one of solutions to improve awareness in HACCP by reaching the target audience. For instance, in 2014, Department of Standards Malaysia with initiative of National Standards Compliance Programme (NSCP) held a workshop on GMP, HACCP & FSMS and Business Clinic Session at Kedah (Appendices). NSCP has play essential role to develop the outreach programme to assist food industry in Malaysia especially Industri Kecil Sederhana (IKS) in increasing their productivity, product quality and services, and marketability of products and services in domestic and international levels through adherence to standards and best practices based on the standards.
3.2 Provision of Guidance and Explanatory Information
Most government HACCP strategies are characterized by the provision of guidance and information in the form of manuals, short booklets, leaflets, videos etc (FAO & WHO). Those information provide comprehensive advice and clarify the HACCP approach in details to food operators. Thus, the awareness among the institutional and military foodservice can be increased. In Malaysia, those information are provided by Food Safety & Quality Division, Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH).
MOH and other trade associations may also provide guidelines and information from the aspect of practical content. Currently, the resources that available are very limited and insufficient to raise the knowledge and understanding. Furthermore, short documents or leaflets can be distributed to introduce the concept of HACCP and the advantages that the system offers to food operators. Meanwhile, explanation on terminology surrounding HACCP and food safety can be prepared in the form of booklets as an attempt to address the technical barriers. Besides giving practical help, MOH may prepare guidance documents to assist the institutional and military foodservice to the right direction. As a result, it may increase consumer awareness of the importance of food safety and good hygienic practices, which can result in pressure towards food business operators to improve overall levels of food safety.
3.3 Emphasizing Good Hygienic Practice
Lack of understanding of proper hygiene and good health is one of the greatest barrier to the production of safe food in Malaysia. For instance, not all people would understand why hand washing is so important. Education must begin with a commitment from government as the regulators can influence curricula and what is printed, broadcast or televised by the media more easily. Educators must begin emphasizing good hygiene as early as at the kindergarten level. Radio, television and newspapers need to cover hygiene topics and make those lessons applicable. The best target audience is women, especially mothers. Again, the key to education of the public is making that experience applicable to the audience.
3.4 Improvement on Infrastructure and Facilities by Government
According to FAO and WHO, implementation of HACCP may require improvements in the infrastructure and facilities, both within the community and in the business itself. In this regard, governments have a role and, in some instances, even an obligation to ensure that the appropriate infrastructure (electricity, roads, safe water supply, sewage facilities, etc.) is in place and that environmental pollution is minimized. The major role of the government is to ensure sufficient infrastructure and the compliance of facilities with food hygiene requirements. FAO (1999) stated that businesses should ensure that premises, work surfaces and equipment are designed, constructed and maintained appropriately to facilitate cleaning and to minimize any possibility of cross-contamination; appropriate facilities to encourage personal hygiene are available to staff; adequate, calibrated monitoring equipment is available and used correctly; and visual assessment, where possible, rapid tests are used to provide real time results.
3.5 Provision of Technical Expertise by Consultants and other Advisors
Institutional and military foodservice are often encountered technical volume at their disposal; consequently, they often require external technical assistance from government, trade associations, commercial advisors, or education institutions. Although there are many consultants available for the food operators to seek advice, the quality of professional advice can vary considerably among consultants. Only a few of them are giving appropriate or applicable information and guides. This is where the government needs to play its role by ensuring that the provision of advice is regulated.
FAO and WHO have suggested a few measures. Firstly, the government may join with education institutes to deliver training and consultancy or they support trade association initiatives. Next, there should be specific guideline that help institutional and military foodservice select consultants. Also, the government may provide systems of consultant registration and certification which is useful for maintaining the quality of advice. Moreover, written advice can be provided to food operators to assist them in selecting an appropriate food consultant. Finally, a group of food operators can be created to access a single source of advice, share experiences and to some extent learn from each other, this can also lead to reduce costs for the operators in securing advice.
3.6 Provision of Financial Support
In order to encourage implementation of HACCP, the government should provide financial and human resources to the institutional and military foodservice. Support and assistance should be straightforward rather than directing towards the development of materials for the food operators or official control activities. Provision of financial support is essential to make the implementation of HACCP happens. Funds can be obtained from grant aid by established trade associations, innovative voluntary initiative that may attract funding from the public sector and industry in order to enable food businesses to obtain up to 50 percent of costs for the development of HACCP plans, training within food businesses by government-managed scheme or providing financial support to improve good hygienic practices and HACCP development. The procedures for accessing financial support must be simple, in order to facilitate uptake by institutional and military foodservice; there should be appropriate control measures in place to ensure that the support provided is used effectively.
Eventhough HACCP system offers best approach to prevent foodborne illness from happen, it is not denial that not all foodservice operators manage to implement the system in their daily operations due to the possible barriers that have been stated earlier. Nevertheless, there are possible solutions to overcome these barriers such as developing educational system, provision of guidance and explanatory information, emphasizing good hygienic practice, improvement on infrastructure and facilities by the government, provision of technical expertise by consultants and other advisors and provision of financial support. In conclusion, these solutions may ease the burden of institutional and military foodservice in implementing the HACCP system.
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