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Local companies completed HACCP accreditation

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 10/12/2018

The Deputy High Commissioner of Australia to Tonga – Rhona Mcphee – on Friday presented certificates to local companies that have achieved internationally recognized HACCP – food safety – accreditation. HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point, is a system to identify and control food safety hazards.

David Harbourfield from HACEP Australia who facilitated the training said, HACEP is becoming increasingly important for those involved in supplying food products such as fruit and vegetables, fish and seafood, and virgin coconut oil and is a mandatory requirement for some export markets.

These programs take a little while to put in place because the companies have to do some work on improving facilities, and improving housekeeping and cleaning and then the other important part of the HACAP system, is to manage records, and make sure that everything they manufacture has a record associated with it. So that it can be traced right back at the farmers. And that’s important because if there’s a problem in the market we need to be able to link the finish product back to who made it and to the farmer.

The program was under Australia’s Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) program in mid-2017 after HACEP accreditation was identified as a key priority for Tonga.

Rhona Mcphee said the support was to provide technical expertise to the businesses to develop their systems and towards the costs of bringing external auditors to Tonga and she’s happy that Australia is supporting the program.

“I am really pleased to be here tonight to present the certificates for HACEP for Tonga. It’s a great step Tonga has taken to be able to participate in trade with Australia and New Zealand to meet bio-security requirements and I’m pleased we could support this under our PHAMA Program. It’s been a hard year for everyone so it’s great to have this good news at the end of the year.”

Following audits in June and September this year, five companies have successfully achieved HACCP accreditation for the first time, two have successfully maintained their accreditation and two others are working to make the required further improvements.

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