At Meatco, quality assurance means ensuring and providing a quality product that is exceptional to clients.
Therefore, the Quality Assurance department must create a quality culture by way of educating and informing the different business units about quality and its significance to Meatco, while safeguarding that hygiene procedures relating to the raw material are monitored and supervised from the time it is offloaded at Meatco to when the final product leave’s for respective markets.
These duties are carried out by Quality Assurance Technicians and Quality Assurance Officers, who on a daily basis, earnestly adhere and remain guided by the Pre-Requisite Programme (PRP), Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP), Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) and work instructions, which are all derived from the different food safety and quality assurance regulatory standards and implemented throughout the production process. This is to continuously meet client specifications and standards.
“I am responsible for monitoring and supervising the Deboning and Packaging Sections operators. I ensure, with the valuable assistance of the Quality Assurance Officers that quality prevails by ensuring that the Meatco HACCP plan is fully adhered to within the deboning area.”
“My day-to-day activities include, but are not limited to, temperature checks, personnel hygiene and conduct. We further do the various cuts temperatures together with room temperature checks to prevent build-up of bacteria and Potential Hydrogen (PH) checks, which provide information on the quality of the meat. Cuts specifications are also carried out at this stage to ensure that each market’s standards are met accordingly.”
"We also do sampling of the meat with every batch that comes through the Deboning section. These samplings are done on the meat cuts and we test for bacteria such as Staph Aureus, E.Coli Stec and 0157 Total Coliforms. Other sampling done are on meat fluids for Salmonella and carcass swabs for Generic E.Coli. The packaging area has a metal detector that is a Critical Control Point (CCP) for meat products. Three types of metals are tested namely, Ferrous, Non-Ferrous and Stainless. Each of these detects physical metal hazards such as bush strings or wires in frozen and vacuum-packed meat pieces. We also carry out random checks, which verify whether or not what is specified on the packaging box is the same as what is contained inside the box. The quality of the box or carton standard, SASTEK carton and SASTEK product labelling according to specifications as well as checks for the traceability of the product are henceforth also tested,” Quality Assurance Technician, Michelle Kaeka.
“As a Quality Assurance Technician at the Slaughter Floor and for Animal Welfare, I maintain a quality culture by doing daily checks on various aspects such as the adherence to the two knife system used on the floor. Monitoring of the water quality (used to wash operators’ hands and knives) every two hours. Checking for Chlorine Dioxide, which helps reduce the bacterial levels on the meat product, is another important task I do. I also see to it that if an operator was working in the dirty area they do not go to work in a clean area on that same day to avoid cross-contamination on our products. There are also control points under the HACCP programme that we closely monitor together with the Quality Assurance Officers.
“The slaughter floor also has cameras and through this, the quality culture is monitored and maintained. During operations, spot checks are also done at random areas and times to do thorough cross-contamination verifications. Another important aspect of quality culture is carrying out daily electronic checks as well as housekeeping or safety checks, which is similarly referred to as quality health and safety during production. In the event that an animal welfare aspect, like a bruised carcass, is received in the Slaughter floor, I revert to the Animal Welfare Officer who also checks for quality assurance controls at animal receiving,” Quality Assurance Technician, Barnard Haukambe.
According to Quality Assurance Manager, Marchella Somaes, Quality Assurance Technicians are assigned to various production departments to ensure the HACCP plan is fully implemented and complied with at all times. They also have a duty to influence the production department to produce the best quality product by advising on the impact non-conformance to food safety and quality has on Meatco. Lastly, consistency remains key in making sure that each and every product leaving Meatco maintains the same quality standard that is expected by our esteemed clients.”
The Quality Assurance Technicians clear the plant every morning before slaughter commences in a bid to foster a culture of quality, which subsequently will raise confidence that will enhance Meatco’s ability to produce high-quality products to meet its clients' needs.