Either HACCP or padlock on the door - Introduction of food safety system in catering facilities by end of 2011

Based HACCP systemson the Law on Food Safety, which was put in effect in late December 2009, the subjects serving and selling food are obliged to establish the food safety system in all phases of production, processing and sale (kebab shops, pancake shops, pizza stores, bakeries, catering companies, restaurants and pubs...) in each facility they control, in accordance with the principles of good manufacturing and hygiene practices and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP). According to Ljubica Curcic, graduate food technologist and HACCP adviser at Savath Hospitality Management, that means that these subjects will have to close their businesses if they fail to introduce HACCP system by the end of the next year (as currently stipulated by the Law). Although many people think that strict hygienic conditions and standards envisaged by this system and high price of its introduction will be a bite that most businesses can not chew, eKapija's interlocutor claims that the investment in HACCP implementation is not a "pure" expenditure, but a precondition for future profit. Implementation of HACCP system is only a formal confirmation of what most caterers already adhere to. Clean premises, equipment, dishes, separation of clean and dirty ways have always been preconditions for running a catering business, but introduction of HACCP system will make caterers document these procedures and record every step they take, that is, they will have to present their approach to each risky point in the food preparation process to visiting inspectors - says Ljubica Curcic, HACCP adviser at Savath. Since HACCP systemsfines for unhygienic products in catering facilities range between 300,000 dinars and 3 million dinars, a well-kept documentation and implemented HACCP standard can be a good argument for avoiding such costs. Ljubica Curcic, who has nearly 30 years of experience in the food industry, points out that HACCP is not "a piece of paper", but a living system. Our interlocutor was the catering coordinator during the University Games in Belgrade. The best proof that skillfulness, knowledge and good organization are sufficient for consistent application of HACCP system are the compliments that Ms. Curcic received from the Universiade officials from the country and abroad. Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic even presented Ljubica Curcic with the award for improving the reputation of Serbia in the world. When asked how the system implementation procedure looks like and how long it takes to finish it, Ms. Curcic said the following: Advisers first enter the facility, identify and assess all physical, chemical or biological risks in all phases of the food production process, including all sub-processes and distribution, and then they determine necessary measures for their prevention and control. Once they finish the report, they give suggestions on how to organize production, train people and get them ready to work in accordance with the system. We make plans for maintaining hygiene and equipment, as well as operating instructions. After some time, we control the processes and, in the end, the certification company gives the final word. Our interlocutor also says that all companies that prepare or sell food must have a permanent employee who is responsible for implementation and application of HACCP system. She also states that the implementation procedure takes minimum six months. What Restaurant Holiday Innis also extremely important in the process of HACCP system implementation is control of the entrance of raw materials to the facility. Raw materials can be procured only from registered and verified production units. Catering facilities will have to establish strict storage conditions, including temperature regimes, while the hygiene of employees and the whole facility must be kept on a high level. Introduction of standards is not only an expenditure, but it also represents an additional value for some company or restaurant. HACCP system points to good manufacturing practices and a safe and correct product. Holiday Inn hotel was made responsible for making breakfasts for sportsmen during the Universiade. We were preparing 10,000 meals a day. Groceries were daily controlled by the Military Medical Academy – the Institute of Nutrition, and we successfully passed all checks. All suppliers and collaborators had previously implemented HACCP system. That was simply one of the conditions - says Ms. Curcic whose company maintains HACCP system in that hotel. Savath is currently engaged in implementation and maintenance of HACCP system in Coca-Cola's restaurant in Zemun, as well as in the Rehabilitation Institute in Sokobanjska Street and Selters spa resort (stationary and hotel) in Mladenovac.