Rabu, 27 Julai 2016


Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) is an internationally recognized process control system that involves identifying and prioritizing hazards and risks to the quality of food or drinking water, and controlling processes to reliably maintain the desired level of quality. However, the HACCP implementation in food industry particularly in the institutional (schools, residence halls, cafeterias and related) and military foodservice are not widely being implemented or practiced systematically in Malaysia. There are six possible barriers to the HACCP implementation such as lack of knowledge and understandings, awareness issues, lack of good hygiene practices, inadequate infrastructure and facilities, technical issues and financial issues will be discussed further.


2.1.             Lack of Knowledge and Understandings
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).

2.2.             Awareness Issues
Referring to a study conducted by Pang and Toh (2008), failure to implement certain standard practice also depends on the level of awareness, willingness and acceptance from the food operators. In their findings, 80% of food stall operators, street vendors, did not read any rules related to food safety, such as the Food Act 1983 and Food Regulations 1985 and Code of Practice for Food Hygiene as guidelines to provide food. They assumed that they did not need those guidelines. Meanwhile, some of them stated that they were not provided with the guidelines from the local authorities. However, only 50% of them had the initiative to read the rules and agreed that the regulations are suitable for their operations (Pang and Toh, 2008). From the study, we may agree that there is lack of awareness among the food operators.
Furthermore, there are also employees who neglect the importance of applying the HACCP practices in their daily routines. Managers in institutional and military foodservice will find it difficult to make their employees understand the importance of hazard analysis and why particular operations had to be monitored and controlled (Panisello & Quantick, 2001). Another study has demonstrated that an increase in the knowledge of a food handler does not necessarily change their food handling behaviours and is dependent upon their attitude (Clayton et al.2002). Attitude, nervousness about taking food safety certification examinations, and not feeling comfortable with change were noted as lack of awareness. Although the management has carried their obligation to follow the HACCP application, the commitment of the employees are also required to ensure flawless implementation of the system.

2.3.             Lack of Good Hygiene Practices
Universal support is indispensable for any food safety programme to move ahead. Such programmes can be driven by increasing awareness of safety issues and consumer demand for safe and nutritious products. The efforts led to awareness within the food industry itself. One of the issues arised is related to hygiene and health. 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). Pang and Toh (2008) stated that the level of knowledge in food safety and food safety handling practices are better among Malay hawkers compared to the Chinese. Malay hawkers show better knowledge in hygiene related to equipment, utensils and premise rather than the Chinese. This happened due to the religious impact in both knowledge and safe food handling practices where Muslim’s hawkers are better than Buddhist’s hawkers (Toh & Birchenough, 2000).
From the fact, we understand that food operators in institutional and military foodservice are lack in practicing good hygienic during their operations compared to other food services. According to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO), it is common for small less-developed food businesses (SLDBs) to face a variety of problems: inadequate location, layout or size of facility, non-cleanable structures, old non-cleanable equipment and poor staff training. Some countries face basic sanitation problems, such as easy access to potable water and safe disposal of waste; furthermore, it is often difficult for them to obtain raw materials from reliable and affordable sources. FAO and WHO also stated that prerequisite programmes therefore result ineffective, HACCP is difficult to implement, and there is little effect on hazard control. On the other hand, strict adherence to the dogma that HACCP cannot be implemented without full control over the prerequisites has also impeded the uptake of HACCP in small less-developed food businesses.

2.4.             Inadequate Infrastructure and Facilities
For institutional and military foodservice, implementing HACCP system means that they have to bear with additional costs in upgrading facilities before the system is even applied. According to FAO and WHO, hygiene management can be hindered by the local infrastructure (inadequate power, water, sewage disposal and transport facilities) and SLDBs usually lack the resources to provide on-site solutions (e.g. sewage treatment). Other concerns including extra space, sanitation, pest control, and upgrading equipment. This indicates that without sufficient infrastructure and facilities, the implementation of HACCP systems in institutional and military foodservice will not succeed. School canteen operators for an example would not afford to have all the infrastructure and facilities. This is where Malaysia government needs to play its role in assisting the food industry to overcome this matter.

2.5.             Technical Issues
Small less-developed food businesses often lack the technical expertise required to implement HACCP and may need external support (FAO & WHO). They need to be assisted in identifying the hazards related with their food processes. The assistance must be readily accessible and simple to understand. Frequently, some of institutional and military foodservice do not have the ability to differentiate between good and bad experts. Even though there are numbers of consultants available, there is no guarantee of the standard of advice. The services they provided must be different from one another. Another common problem in the technical issues is 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 (FAO & WHO). 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.

2.6.             Financial Issues
Financial constraints are a possible hurdle in executing HACCP, felt by governments and industry alike, and can be particularly severe in institutional and military foodservice. Therefore, the reinforcement that the governments and trade associations provided is not sufficient to affect change. Good hazard control benefits the governments from spending on public health costs and reduced workplace absenteeism; however, these are rarely appreciated or used to offset initial financial investment. While the costs related with HACCP can be intimidating, they may also be viewed to be higher than they actually are (e.g. cost of external consultants).
According to FAO and WHO, a real cost is staff time: the time necessary for training and subsequent implementation can hinder the day-to-day running of a SLDBS. It is necessary to consider the potential long-term savings that a good HACCP system can accrue, not least the protection against harm to the consumer and against potential litigation that can follow food poisoning incidents. This is due to the lack of data and studies relating to HACCP implementation and its impact on food safety.


3.1               Educational Systems Development
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:

Educational Partnerships
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). Nevertheless, the brochures of guides and information are often available through the website in the pdf format unless stated otherwise. This makes it difficult for the food operators to access the guides and information due to different communication channel. The Ministry of Health Malaysia should improve the services by providing the guides and information in all medium; from soft copy to printed version, make available through their official Facebook and not restricted to one communication channel.   
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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