Top industry accolade for Reaseheath College’s Food Centre team

Reaseheath College’s 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 British Retail Consortium Global Standard (BRCGS) Version 8, the Cheshire college has been awarded the prestigious Grade AA standard for a second consecutive year.

In 2018 Reaseheath became the first educational institution in the world to achieve the Grade AA certification, the highest possible benchmark for best practice in food manufacture.

The updated BRC Version 8 includes new clauses on food safety culture, site security and threat of adulteration. The team achieved the highest level of compliance, with just three minor non-conformances noted throughout the two day audit.

Processing halls manger Mike Bennett said: “As always this was a tough challenge and we are delighted at the result. 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 an excellent 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.”

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 Food Centre is a food processing teaching and practical facility, with 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, leading to work experience and job opportunities for Reaseheath’s food technology students. The college also offers training sessions to the public which include cake decoration, HACCP and food safety.

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